For years and years I made and cooked burgers that were good. But they were just that…good. After becoming friends with a local chef, I realized the secret of all world renown steakhouse chefs who have burgers on their menu. You must begin with the absolute best meat mixture possible. Follow that up with proper cooking technique and nobody who comes to your barbecue will be able to understand how you made such a delicious and juicy burger. Meeting my chef friend set off a paradigm shift in the way I thought about making burgers. It did require me taking the plunge into grinding my own meat. This is not as big of a deal as it sounds, I promise. Meat grinders are cheap, and the meat you will be grinding is often not significantly more expensive than what you are used to buying. If it happens to be, it is well worth it! After some trial and testing, I refined what friends (including my chef friend), family, and myself consider to be the absolute best burger recipe you can find. Give it a try and let me know what you think, you are crazy not to!
- 8 ounces of chuck steak
- 8 ounces of sirloin steak
- 8 ounces of lamb shoulder
- 4 ounces cheese (your preference, swiss or sharp cheddar recommended)
- 1 Tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons of red wine
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 4 buns
- We want to get the 1.5 lbs of meat for this burger recipe trimmed of the unnecessary fat and cut into 1 in cubes. You can do this at home but most butchers have no problem helping you out free of charge in this area.
- Take the cubes and run them through a coarse plate on your grinder. I like to alternate the different cuts of meat as I grind to give me a head start on mixing.
- Once ground, in a large bowl add the Worcestershire sauce, red wine, onion powder, garlic powder, a couple pinches of salt (maybe 1 tsp, and some fresh cracked pepper to the meat. Mix gently with your hands. You will want to make sure the ingredients are thoroughly dispersed but that you don’t completely over mix the meat. Once mixed, let the meat sit and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes to two hours.
- Start a charcoal grill by using a charcoal or “chimney” starter. This will allow you to get all of the coals caught easily so you get a nice hot cooking surface. Once the coals are ashy, disperse them in the grill and allow entire grate to get hot.
- Form the hamburger meat into 4 patties, about 3/4 in thickness and lightly salt and pepper each side. Oil the grate of the grill. I found this grill oiling tool that makes this task a bit easier.
- Place the burgers on the hot grill. We want them to get a nice sear on each side so do not touch them for the first couple minutes. If there are flare ups you can begin to move them after the first minute if need be. We do not want an overcooked burger here, so after 4 minutes or so, flip and repeat the searing on the other side. The best way to tell if your burger is where you want it is to use a hamburger thermometer. Do not use a spatula to squash the juice out of the burgers. This is one of the worst things you can do. I like my burgers juicy and so does almost everyone I know.
- Once they are cooked to perfection, remove them and let them sit on a plate so that they reabsorb their own juices. This will give you time to grill the buns.
- Place the buns cut side down on the grill. This should only take about 45 seconds or so. Do not over toast the buns. Once they are done, place the cheese on the top half of the bun and place the still warm patty of meat on top. This will melt the cheese just right without it being a gooey mess.
- Let it sit this way for a minute or so to melt the cheese during which time you can slather some mayo, mustard, ketchup or what have you on the bottom part of the bun.
- Assemble and enjoy.
There is a little wiggle room for interpretation here. I often enjoy adding a little Italian seasoning to the meat mixture. I also enjoy experimenting with cheeses. Sharp cheddar’s, swiss, blue cheese, etc will all be delicious.