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5 Ways to Grill Better Burgers

31 December 2009 One Comment

Burgers are a staple at tailgate parties and don’t get nearly enough attention.  We take for granted that everyone knows how to do a burger.  Here are a few tips to help raise the bar for your burgers.

1. Buy the right meat. Don’t just hit the display case and grab the first set of patties pre-packaged in styrofoam.  Go hit the meats counter and spend some time looking at your options.  Too often, people grab the lean ground beef  (10% or less).  No good.  Fat is your friend here.  Go with 20% or even 30% fat to get more spectacular flavor in your burgers.

2. Keep it loose. When prepping your patties for grill action, don’t spend time compressing the meat and perfecting the shape.  Do it quick and you will find that the meat will cook a little bit better.  Plus, burgers look best when they aren’t perfectly shaped.  If I wanted a perfect circle, I’d go to McDonalds.

3. Don’t squish the patty. As tempting as in might be to look good and press down on your half-grilled patties (getting that sizzle sound), don’t do it!  That sound you hear is your flavorful juices exiting the burger and landing on hot coals.

4. Mix up your toppings – not just cheddar cheese, tomatoes, and onions, but consider more unusual choices like avocado, applewood-smoked bacon, grilled onions, red bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms (standard or portabello) pepper jack cheese, and crumbled bleu cheese.  Even consider varying the toppings based on opponent – maybe jalapeno peppers when the Cowboys visit or some cajun spices when you play New Orleans.  The key here is that toppings make burgers memorable.  Even consider picking up crab cakes when Baltimore is in town.  FOOTBALL AND CRAB CAKES!  THAT’S WHAT MARYLAND DOES!

5. Take it easy on seasonings – the right ground beef should bring enough flavor to the table that seasonings are a nice but not necessary option.  Don’t pre-season your meat prior to dropping it on the grill.  Instead, wait till those patties are finished and use just a dash of your favorite seasonings.  Two great choices here are Montreal Steak Seasoning (probably at your supermarket) or Bob Tallman’s Ranch Fixin’s Panhandle Pepper (my personal favorite).  As with toppings, you have plenty of options here but less is more.  Your guests can always add on more seasonings if they prefer.

Burgers on grill by Dan4th.  St. Louis burger by rick.

Do you have any tips that tailgaters should follow for burger excellence?

One Comment »

  • Tailgating Ideas » Weekend Wrap-Up #87: Beer Pong Song Edition said:

    […] Ten Best Recipes of 2009 • Shopping For Barbeque Grills For Tailgate Parties • 5 Ways to Grill Better Burgers • Some fans wish for better weather for their Outback Bowl tailgating • Tailgating before the […]

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