Recently, a friend and blog reader made a request. She asked for a how-to post on burgers, not unlike the one I did for steak or slicing an onion. And because I really appreciate requests, and Erin is awesome (she gave Dan and I internships with her institution and is practically the reason we’re married), here it is. i know that I’ve posted other burger recipes on this site that include a lot of pop and whiz but usually, when we eat hamburgers, we’re purists about the burger itself. That means ground beef, usually somewhere in the 80% lean range, with sea salt and pepper. This is enough for me, it lets the flavor of the beef and the grill speak. And that’s the flavor I want.
First, you want to season your meat. In a large bowl, combine ground beef with 1 tbsp of salt and 1/2 tbsp pepper. Next, it needs to be shaped. Shaping a burger is a two step process. Start by putting about a quarter cup to a third of a cup’s worth of meat in your palm. Use your hands to shape the meat into a firm ball, nicely round and totally together. Then, use both hands to flatten the patty. The burger should be 4 or 5 inches in diameter, and 1/2″ thick.
Now, get your grill nice and hot. Once your grill is ready, give your patties a final squish (particularly in the middle where they tend to puff), and throw them on the grill. For a burger cooked to a medium doneness, which is slightly pink in the middle, cook it for 5-7 minutes each side. Just like with steak, you only want to flip it once. Stick it on the grill, put the lid down and walk away. Resist the urge to press it down with your spatula or hover, it needs to cook. Flip, and cook an additional 5-7 minutes. For a burger cooked medium rare, bring the time down to 3-5 minutes per side, and for medium well, bump up to 7-9 minutes. Let rest a few minutes and enjoy!