One of the best things in life is a big, classic juicy burger and today– that is just what we are talking about.
Making a great burger is one of those things that people are all trying to accomplish. But the real key to a good, juicy burger is really more simple than you’d think. Some people try adding all sorts of fancy ingredients to their burger patties– but after years of making burgers and studying the art of a good burger I think this is exactly where people go wrong.
One of my *very favorite* cookbooks that I own is The Food Lab by J. Kenji Lopez-Alt. In the book, the author studies the science behind cooking. Through this book, I learned a lot about the science of cooking burgers and highly recommend you read about it (the burger discussion starts on pg. 545). But here are the top 3 rules I’ve gathered from Kenji:
- Choose your beef wisely, and grind it yourself. okay, I am not one to grind my own beef (just being honest) but buying the beef from the butcher counter rather than from the pre-packaged section is going to ensure you get the freshest meat possible from your grocer.
- Don’t futz around with the meat. From the moment you lay your hands on ground meat it starts to change, “reacting to every knead, every sprinkle of salt, and every change in temperature” [pg. 545, The Food Lab]. The trick is to form your patties as tenderly as possible and don’t over work them.
- Season liberally, but do not salt the beef until the patties are formed. This is my favorite tip that I learned from Kenji. According to the author, “Salt will dissolve muscle proteins…turning your burgers from moist and tender to sausage like and springy.” So after you gently form your patties, and immediately before you throw them in the skillet is when you should very liberally season the outside of the burgers with salt and pepper. Without enough salt and pepper, ground beef will just taste flat.
Taking these tips from Lopez-Alt has dramatically changed my burger game and they come out juicy every time. To really top off my burgers, I love serving them with this homemade burger sauce (which tastes somewhat similar to in-and-out burger). But hey, everyone has their own touch to their burgers so you can serve it however you like with whatever condiments you like!!!
Juicy Indoor Burgers with Burger Sauce
For the Burger Sauce:
- 1/2 cup homemade mayo or good quality mayo
- 1/4 cup very finely diced yellow onion
- 2 tbsp ketchup I use primal kitchens unsweetened
- 2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp dill relish
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 1 tsp white wine vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt, or more to taste
For the Burgers:
- 1.25 lb grass fed ground beef, 85 - 90% lean
- kosher salt
- black pepper
- 2 tbsp avocado oil
- 4 brioche buns
- 4 tbsp grass fed butter
- sliced tomato
- sliced red onion
- lettuce leaves
Make the Burger Sauce:
- In a small bowl, combine all of the burger sauce ingredients and stir until well combined. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Make the Burgers:
- evenly divide the ground beef into 4 equal portions. Without overworking the meat, form into patties (no you do not add anything to the meat yet!!!!) Your patties should be approximately 5 inches long and only 1/4 inch thick. Set aside.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium to medium-high heat (somewhere in between the two) for 5-8 minutes so that the skillet is very hot. Add the avocado oil to the hot skillet.
- Immediately before cooking your burgers in the skillet, generously season both sides of the patties with plenty of kosher salt and coarse black pepper. Gently place the patties into the hot skillet and cook until the burgers have a nice, browned crust on both sides and are cooked to your liking. They cook quickly, about 2-3 minutes per side.
- Transfer cooked patties to a plate and let rest while you toast your buns (if you are using cheese, place the slice of cheese on top of the burgers while they rest to allow it to melt a bit). Heat a skillet over medium heat. Smear about 1/2 tbsp of butter on each side of the buns and toast until golden brown on each side, about 2-3 minutes a side.
- To serve, smear burger sauce on each side of the buns. Add the burger patty and load the burger up with the toppings you desire-- I added lettuce, tomato and onion on top of mine for a classic, but by all means get as fancy as you want!! 😉
- Serve and enjoy!!