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Making the perfect burger

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The works by Fstop Mathai, on Flickr

I've got more pictures and a video on my blog but this is the summary of how I came close to a perfect burger.

1. Keep the meat and mixing bowls chilled at all times. Warm meat may cause some of the fat to melt and stick to your hands and bowl resulting in less fat on the patty.

2. Be generous with the portions. I’m the type of person who orders a Quarter Pounder with a double patty, or a Double Stack or a 3 stack Vertigo so for my homemade burgers I took the middle road and went with a 150 gram patty (roughly 5.3 Ounces or .330 Pounds)

3. Do not over mix the meat. I didn’t spend any time mashing up the ground meat since it had already been run through the machine twice at the butcher’s. You want the patty to be crumbly when you bite into it and not compressed like a frozen burger patty.

4. No fillers or additives. Many of the internet burger recipes I’ve seen call for adding all sorts of ingredients like bread crumbs, eggs, onions, milk-soaked bread etc. My patties, however, were 100% pure beef.

5. Season liberally! The only seasoning I used was salt and pepper (freshly ground) and I was pretty generous in sprinkling both sides.

6. A seasoned pan or skillet is essential to ensure that heat distribution is optimal. High heat also gives you the beautiful caramelized crust on the surface, a big factor when it comes to the perfect burger.

7. Now this step is subjective to each person’s preference for meat ‘doneness’. I personally prefer meat between medium to medium rare. Cooking times for your burgers will vary based on the thickness and size. Mine took about 3.5 – 4 minutes per side (was cooked but pink in the middle) since they were really thick.

8. To flip or not to flip (frequently) is the question. There seems to be two groups on this issue when I checked online. The first group advocates flipping your burgers every 30 seconds while the second group prefers to leave the burger on one side till its halfway done and then flip it. I went with the latter group.

9. I’m not exactly sure about the chemistry involved in ‘resting’ meat after its cooked but I did it anyway. After taking it off the pan, I left it in a dish for about 5 minutes so that the juices developed inside the patty. (check out the money shot in the video)

10. Use the same pan to toast your buns when its time to serve and you’ll get some of that meat flavor on the bun as well. I used homemade burger buns which I posted about earlier. They did a great job of containing the juices from this meat monster.

I made two versions of my burger, one with the traditional pickles, cheese, lettuce and tomato and the other with just caramelized onions and cheese. I added my own little twist to the onions by caramelizing them in garlic butter and added Garam masala for a spicy kick.

Good luck with your burgers. ... ct-burger/

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