Posted by Sven on 05/28/2010 (2173 Reads)

It's National Hamburger Day!You'll find many a reference to different dates, but the most published date for National Hamburger Day is today, May 28. So get grillin'. Below you'll find my formula for the perfect burger, and it doesn't involve onion soup mix!

1. Go to a grocery store or meat market. Not McDonald's®. There's a time and a place for that and it's not National Hamburger Day.

2. Select a quality meat. You can make your own patties or buy them pre-made. Just make sure if you get a pre-made burger it's not too lean. An 80/20 ratio of beef to fat is a good rule of thumb. Frozen patties are great if you're an experienced burger-jockey, but if not I'd advise you to stay away (yes, there are in fact some quality frozen patties). It's very easy to undercook — or worse — overcook frozen meat.

3. Keep it simple. You want to use a simple piece of meat. No spices. No powders. Nothing. If you're making your patties, make them a little larger than you want the finished product and put a slight spoon-like indention in the middle of the pattie. Fresh meat expands in the middle because it cooks last and the juices gather there.

4. Us whatever grilling medium you like (wood, charcoal or gas), but just make sure you use a grill. Griddles and frying pans are for the winter, buddy.

5. Cook your burgers over a medium flame for a few minutes. When the edges of the burger start to look cooked it's time to flip. Now do the same thing on the second side. The key to a really juicy burger is to only flip it once. Over-flipping equals dry and not so tasty.

That's it. The best burgers have natural flavors from fat and smoke. I personally prefer to cook over apple or cherry wood when making burgers, but that's my poison. Now add some of your favorite garnishes like fresh tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, pickles, cheese, onions (grilled or fresh), mushrooms, ketchup, mayonnaisse, Miracle Whip®, mustard — whatever floats your boat.

Just remember — keep it simple so you can taste the smokey goodness.

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