Our Hillsborough Vineyard Market Cheese Lead, Stephen, explains to us that it’s possible to make the perfect burger at home!
Making the perfect burger is something very easily obtainable at home. Why shell out $8-$20 at a restaurant when you can not only make something far tastier at home, as well as having a much higher quality level to boot. Before beginning preheat the grill on the highest setting–really crank it up all the way up to eleven. Starting with the obvious, the meat, for the optimal flavor I recommend using chuck, and lets face it, this isn’t something you want to do on a diet; 80% lean/20% fat will give you the best flavor and ensure juiciness. You want to season it generously with salt and pepper and add roughly 1 tps of a white vinegar per 1 lb of meat (white balsamic is my favorite for this application, imparting a slight sweetness as well as a subtle tang to your burger) this helps denature or tenderize the meat just a little bit extra (if Worcestershire sauce is your thing, I’d use 1.5 tsp per pound to achieve the same effect). After that mix everything together thoroughly and form into patties. Once you have patties formed, take your thumb and make a well in the middle of the patty, this keeps them from bloating and promotes even cooking the whole way through. Your grill should be hot, and I mean as hot as it gets, before even considering putting anything on there. Be sure you have clean grates, then lightly brush the grates with canola oil or safflower oil (something that can stand high heat, olive oil will instantly burn and create an unpleasant bitterness). Now toss on your burgers, and drop the heat to medium, leaving the top of the grill open. Now this next part is crucial, you have to fight the urge to press the burgers down, and do not, by any circumstances flip the burgers more than once, if you are worried about cooking them thoroughly, use thermometer* In about 8 minutes (4 min per side) you will have perfectly medium-rare burgers (5 for medium, 6 for med-well, etc) with those picture perfect grill lines. Now you have the perfect base for the real star of the show, cheese!!!
*Be sure you are buying your meat from a reputable market, should smell like nothing other than beef, and have a vibrant red color…
Medium-rare – 130 degrees F
Medium – 135 degrees F
Medium Well – 145 degrees F
Well- 150 degrees F