The Core Dump

A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures

[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 02 May 2010]

I have reached hamburger nerdvana

Nic grills the perfect hamburger and shows you how to do the same.
Tasty, tasty burger.
Click for larger version.

Today I grilled the perfect burger. Seriously. The best damn burger I ever ate.

In the process I proved two things: 1) Practice makes perfect; and 2) I’m a slow learner.

So how do you make a perfect burger? It’s actually really simple, but executing right takes some practice. If you’d like your next BBQ session to end up in something delicious instead of charcoal pucks, read on.

First, you need to buy good ground meat. 15% fat works well for grilling. If you can get ground sirloin, do it.

Right before you fire up the grill, make your patties. I recommend at least half a pound of ground meat per patty. Roll the meat into a ball, then squish it into a patty shape. The key here is to touch the meat as little as possible. You’re not at the prom with the meat—just make the shape, then leave it alone. Make the patties concave, that is, put a big indent in the middle. This is crucial. The indent means you won’t need to squash the burgers when you grill them, which would drain the juices. You want the juices. The juices are good.

Preheat the grill to hot, and then keep the burners on high when you grill. This will give the patties a nice crust.

Keep a close eye on the grill. You will get grease fires. Once that happens, move the meat away from the fire.

Put the patties on the grill and leave them for 10 minutes, then turn.

Check the patties again after about 5 minutes. If you like your meat pink it might be done by now. If not, turn it.

Wait another five and check again. If you want your burger well done, it should be done by now.

Where people go wrong is that they think they have to micromanage the grill. You don’t. You want the lid to be closed.

If there’s a lot of smoke, you probably have a grease fire. In that case, move the meat, then close the lid. Remember, a closed lid is a good lid.

So, police your grease fires, but apart from that, leave the patties alone and let the grill do its thing.

You do this, and you will have some seriously fantastic burgers.


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