Today is national cheeseburger day!

Sep 18, 2018

Just because you may not be a professional griller, doesn’t mean you can’t make award-winning burgers on your backyard grill.

Credit Justin Fox Burks

Following these simple tips will help you up your burger game.

First and foremost, the key to a juicy, tasty burger is to use high-quality beef with at least 20% fat.  The fat provides flavor and tenderness. Also, always use freshly ground beef; never use the pre-made frozen patties.

When making the patties, don’t overwork the meat. Overworking the meat will make it tough when cooked. To ensure your burger holds the perfect shape, add an indention to your meat.  Simply press your thumb in the center of the meat and that will keep it from swelling up and shrinking as it cooks.

As for seasoning, salt and pepper are your best friends when it comes to seasoning ground beef. Forget the complicated binders and ingredients and keep it simple.

When grilling your burger, resist the urge to press down the meat with a spatula. Pressing down on the meat will let out all those wonderful juices that make a burger so juicy and flavorful.

A burger dressed simply with lettuce, tomato, and mustard is a classic.  But consider giving your burger a gourmet spin by dressing it up with garlicky mayonnaise, roasted tomatoes, and crisp apple-wood smoked bacon. These ingredients may sound complicated but I assure you they are all easy garnishes to whip up in a home kitchen.

And don’t forget the cheese! I love a sharp white cheddar or a pungent blue cheese … but use what you like. Mild cheeses like American are always a classic choice.

This is Jennifer Chandler with The Weekly Dish. Bon Appetit!

The Ultimate Burger

For the roasted tomatoes:

  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the roasted garlic mayonnaise:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 6 cloves roasted garlic

For the burger:

  • Vegetable oil, for the grates
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck or sirloin
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 slices of white cheddar
  • 1 dill pickle, thinly sliced
  • 4 pieces tender leaf lettuce
  • 8 slices applewood-smoked bacon, cooked and drained on paper towels
  • 4 kaiser buns, split

To make the roasted tomatoes: Preheat an oven to 375°F.

In a medium mixing bowl toss the tomatoes with the thyme, garlic, and oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in a single layer, cut-side up, on a baking sheet and cook until the tomatoes are softened, about 15 to 20 minutes.

To make the roasted garlic mayonnaise: Place the mayonnaise and roasted garlic in a small bowl. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

To make the burgers: Preheat a clean grill to medium-high with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Place the ground beef in a large bowl. Generously season with salt and pepper. Divide the meat into 4 equal portions. Being careful not to overwork or compact the meat too much, pat each portion into a 3/4-inch thick patty.

Place the burgers on the grill. Close the lid and cook until desired temperature, about 4 to 6 minutes per side for medium. About 1 minute before the burgers are done, place a slice of cheese on each burger to melt. Also place the buns, cut-side down, on the grill and cook until lightly toasted.

To serve, spread the garlic mayonnaise on the top and bottom of each bun. Place the burgers on the buns and garnish with the roasted tomatoes, pickles, lettuce, and bacon.

Serves 4.

Reprinted with permission from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.