What happens when you ask a chef, a food historian, and a butcher to weigh in on the perfect burger? You nail it.
A lot has been said about how to achieve the perfect burger patty. We’ve explained how to cook the most delicious beef burger. And we’ve developed many a burger recipe, including these 10 gourmet burgers.
But recently we spoke to a number of experts who had some great tips to add to the conversation. Here’s what Charles Michel, University of Oxford chef and food scientist, George Motz, author of The Great American Burger Book, and Bryan Mayer, Fleishers director of butchery education had to say. To make the best barbecue fare this summer, take note.
- A hefty bun. For a firm foundation, choose a potato bun—it’s essential for supporting juicy beef and its accoutrements. (Or opt for a buttery brioche bun like the one shown here.)
- Only classic toppings. Optional but approved: a piece of lettuce, a slice of tomato, a bit of onion. Leave the fried egg or avocado dollop for breakfast—if you have a good patty, there’s no need to get too fancy with everything else.
- American cheese. It’s engineered to melt perfectly and quickly. If you use a fancy cheese, you run the risk of overcooking the burger while waiting for the slice to melt.
- 80 percent lean beef. You need that 20 percent fat to ensure the juiciest, most flavorful burger. Make patties of about a quarter pound, store in the fridge, and take out just before cooking. Salt them then—no sooner.
- Mustard, not ketchup. Mustard works with the flavor profile, not against it. (Ketchup is too sweet to complement beef.) Smear it on both top and bottom buns.
- Serving tip. Wrapping burgers in parchment keeps them piping hot and helps them retain their juices.