Why are burger restaurants better than the ones you grill at home?

Over the weekend, the weather in Chicago finally turned away from freezing. As temperatures continued to rise in the mid-80s, all the grills in the garden across my street were in constant use. Every time I go outside, I see a new batch of groups huddled around the grills, stumbling over coals and cracking groups of tongs. Most of them make burgers, and I can’t wait to go out with them.

Related: Can we learn to love the ancient (and more sustainable) beef?

However, because burgers are so popular, it’s sometimes difficult to make a home-made version that matches the variety of restaurants. That’s why Salon Food has prepared this list of 5 tips for making the best burgers at home.

Get ready to wow your family and friends when it’s your turn behind the grill this summer. No need for a commercial kitchen.

Make sure you buy good meat (and that you treat it right)

Sometimes, when you make burgers at home, you open your mouth in anticipation of a juicy bite, but end up feeling disappointed as you chew. The pie is tasteless and maybe a little rough. What gives? Probably the quality of the meat used.

It is no secret that for the sake of our personal health and the health of our planet, eating less meat is the best option. Part of that means buying better meat from reputable suppliers when you choose to put it on your grocery list. Do a little research to see if local farmers’ markets or butchers in your area carry beef from organic producers in your area. It might be a little more expensive than the supermarket variety, but it’s worth it.

Note that grass-fed beef tends to have a more “metallic” taste, which people tend to associate with the taste of beef, while grain-fed beef is sweeter and slightly more crystalline. Go with your personal preference. Make sure you buy a mix that contains at least 25% fat, especially if you’re cooking a rare or medium-rare burger. After all, fat is flavor.

One of the most common mistakes when cooking burgers (and I’m definitely guilty of that!) is overburdening the patty. Think of it like bread dough in a way. While it can be satisfying to get your hands really dirty and pound into the ground beef mixture, this can dry out the burgers.

To that end, try to avoid those preformed pancakes at the supermarket. Instead, make your own pancakes at home – and be sure to season them with salt, pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder if you’re feeling spicy. Then place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in the refrigerator until you’re ready to cook.

Placing the cooled meat directly on a hot grill or skillet and then pressing it quickly with a spatula allows the patties to burn well while also retaining moisture.

Invest in some simple tools

Instead of grilling burgers directly on grates, most restaurants use a flat tray because it’s great for cooking in batches and maintaining a constant temperature. You can mimic this at home by using a heavy, flat-bottomed cast iron skillet and heating it either over the grill or stove.

Plus, a good metal spoon really works wonders. Instead of the flat plastic or silicone items you might use to peel hot cookies off a baking sheet, get something with a sharp metal edge. This helps turn the pies without losing the good caramelized bits you got while slicing them.

Melt the cheese the right way

Another benefit of using a cast iron skillet for making burgers is that it can actually help you melt the cheese the right way. You might be wondering how many ways there are to melt cheese, but think about what happens when you put a cold cheese slice on an often grilled burger. It never achieves that delicious creamy consistency.

Alternatively, once the burger is almost fully cooked, put the cheese on top, add a little water to the pan and cover with a lid. Water vapor hitting the hot pan is captured under the lid and melts the cheese quickly.

Toast those cakes

It’s a simple tip, but it makes a big difference. Add a little butter, non-dairy butter, or a little oil to your burger buns, then toast them in the same skillet you made the burgers in. Once they are golden and slightly crunchy, they are ready to remove from the heat.

When it comes to add-ons, balance is key

You have a delicious pie, perfectly melted cheese, and a delicious cake. Now it’s time to add some extras. When I make burgers at home, I like to keep it very simple: tomato slices, shredded iceberg lettuce, two slices of pickle, white onions and homemade burger sauce. Whatever you do, keep in mind the idea of ​​balance.

You might want something cold and acidic to stand up to the creaminess of cheese and burgers, like sliced ​​avocado or a little giardinera. Or you may want to add caramel flavor to the beef by topping the burger with smoked barbecue sauce or brown sugar bacon. Jot down toppings from your favorite burger restaurant and use them as a template to experiment with at home.

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