NEW YORK, N.Y. – May 28th is National Hamburger Day, so why not treat family and friends to the ultimate hamburger. Burger expert, George Motz (www.hamburgeramerica.com) and Chef Harry Hawk, agreed to some surprising pointers for making great hamburgers.
They both agree the fun in making burgers at home is they’re easy and you should feel free to let loose in the process by creating your own family “secret sauce” and special size burger, cooked to your liking (rare, medium, etc.)
The Motz burger is made from fresh ground chuck, but you can also use trim from steaks; adding some well aged meat also enhances flavor. Most important is the fat to meat ratio; 20/80 the ideal.
George and Harry highly recommend grinding your own, twice, on a coarse setting. If that’s not possible, have your butcher or local supermarket grind for you and make sure to ask for the 20/80 ratio. The grinding process evenly distributes the fat throughout, which is why you don’t need to use expensive prime meat (the marbling is what you pay for).
Do’s and Don’ts
Do preheat your skillet on high. We typically like a skillet that’s about 450 degrees.
Do Toast Your Buns: Add butter (1 teaspoon per bun) to pre-heated pan and place buns cut-side down; toast until lightly brown. If you’re cooking lots of burgers, make buns in a separate pan. Soft, squishy buns are best and will easily soak in the butter.
Don’t make patties or otherwise compress the meat. Instead, use food scoop or an ice cream scoop to make a 4 oz ball (our ideal). Any size from 1.6 to 5 oz is okay, but the following instructions are based on a 4 oz ball.
Don’t season the meat or add anything to it, otherwise you’re just making meat loaf not hamburgers.
Cooking Your Burgers:
Depending on pan size, place one or more balls into pre-heated (now buttery) pan. No extra butter is needed. Season top of the ball with salt and pepper, to taste. Leave ball alone for 15 seconds, then flip and smash it.
After it’s smashed, season with salt, pepper and NEVER press on it again, as that will push out the juices.
Cook burger about 1 minute, flip and NEVER flip again. At this point add some cheese, since the meat will be very hot and helps to melt it. Let cook for another 1 minute and remove. Before cooking the next round, allow pan to return to its pre-heated temperature.
This should create the perfect medium-rare 4 oz hamburger. Cook longer (or less), depending on size of your hamburger, adjusting pan heat to preferred style (rare, medium, etc.).
Chef Hawk enjoys a touch of salt, pepper and a good cheese like Jarlsberg, Goat Brie, or even tangy Snofrisk, with pickle on the side. Sometimes he’ll smear a chipotle mayo sauce on the bun. Set up a toppings bar with raw and toasted onions, bacon, pimentos, mustard, ketchup or relish, lettuce and tomato.
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