Succulent, tender at the right point and incredibly tasty; the burger is a real symbol of street food. Not a « simple » medallion of beef cooked on a hot grill, not a banal sandwich; a real burger patty is an explosion of perfectly balanced aromas and flavors, a recipe that is impossible to resist, as long as it is cooked without mistakes. Whether it’s « classic » or gourmet, a burger worthy of the name must be carefully chosen, worked with care and cooked with love. To do so, just follow our tips and avoid these 6 mistakes.
1. Wrong meat
Butchers and supermarkets often use discarded meat to make burgers but a true lover of burger knows that the choice of meat cannot and should not be left to chance. For a perfect burger, the mix must be composed of 80% lean meat and a 20% fat component, essential for the meat to remain juicy and not dry; the best cuts, for a beef burger, are undoubtedly the shoulder, the belly and the brisket. After choosing the cut, this will be cleaned of nerves and skin and finally ground; in this case you can opt for the meat grinder or for a more elegant knife cut.
2. Overdo the thickness
To cook a hamburger to perfection, it is important to pay attention to the size and thickness. After choosing and mincing the meat, shape balls with slightly moistened hands and crush them with your palms to obtain a patty at least 2 centimeters high. Don’t overdo the pressure: a burger that is too compact will turn out to be dry, practically a disaster.
3. Cook it badly
The most important moment of all, the one in which you can’t really go wrong; cooking. Make sure that the grill or plate is hot then gently place your hamburger, forgetting the oil or butter; the meat must cook in direct contact, no seasoning. The cooking of the hamburger must be slow, uniform and over medium-low heat, to avoid an overcooked and burnt effect or worse a raw hamburger inside. Be careful not to turn it continuously; cook one side at a time, for at least 2 minutes, the time necessary to allow the Maillard reaction and thus obtain the inevitable external crust.
4. Press the hamburger
Off that scoop, leave your burger alone, unless you’re applying the smashed burger technique. During cooking, never ever press the meat, not only does it not speed up the cooking process (and haste is not a good advice in the kitchen anyway) but it is profoundly harmful; with pressure, in fact, the meat will release all the juices and it will become dry. Do you want to make a hamburger or a shoe sole? Know the answer, act accordingly.
5. Cook the burger patties with plastic wrap
It may seem strange, but a mistake that many make is to cook the hamburger with plastic wrap; nothing could be more wrong. The film, in fact, does not withstand the temperatures that develop during cooking; it is used to preserve and freeze, but certainly not to cook. The material it is made of melts around 150 degrees C (300 degrees F), resulting in the release of substances that can be dangerous. Furthermore, if the meat is not in contact with the plate, the crust given by the Maillard reaction will not form.
6. Don’t take bread and condiments seriously
The meat is cooked to perfection, now all that remains is to enhance your hamburger and prepare the best burger of your life. About bread; no, not all types of bread are suitable, for a hamburger worthy of the name you need the burger buns, a typical soft bun covered with crunchy sesame seeds; alternatively you can opt for a homemade milk bun, nothing else. And the dressing? The classic recipe includes salad, tomato, onion, crispy bacon and stringy cheese (melted on the meat still being cooked) but the more ingredients we use, the more enjoyable the result will be. Various types of cheese, dried tomatoes, rocket and so on and so forth; in the kitchen the imagination must never be lacking just like the sauces in the hamburger, mayonnaise, barbecue or ketchup, the choice is yours.