Grilling Burgers are the Ďoí so typical summer cookout past time. They are one of the most basic of American fare around. I honestly cannot think of anything else more American and basic than the hamburger. Take for instance that Americanís on average eat 2-3 hamburgers a week. Come spring and summertime that number increases to 3-4 a week! Once warm weather hits, you quickly begin to see grills coming out, smoke in the sky, and the sweet aroma of sizzling meat. I know many people who take pride in their grilling. But grilling may not be so simple for those who are not familiar with them. Grilling a burger to perfection could be a very hard task for some people. For instance, not knowing the proper temperature to cook on your grill can turn your burger into a burnt mess or a under cooked disaster! Or not knowing the difference between gas and charcoal grills can turn grilling basics into grilling nightmares.
For the majority of the masters of the grill, there is no compromise. You are a gas grill kind of person or charcoal all the way! There are some major differences between the two. For example, gas fired grilling is much more convenient, and easy for grilling beginners. By the simple turn of a knob, you are good to go. Gas grills are fueled by liquid propane stored in refillable tanks. Many people prefer gas grilling because it is quick, clean and incredibly easy. Charcoal grilling on the other hand does not offer the same kind of convenience as gas grilling does. Charcoal grilling is liked by so many because of the distinct smoke flavor it adds to your food. The dry, white-hot heat of charcoal sears meat quickly and adds a crisp, caramelized exterior to your burger giving it a very distinctive smoky flavor unlike any other method of cooking can. Know that charcoal grilling requires much more time and attention than gas grilling does. From building and lighting briquettes, to waiting for the coals to get hot, to managing the flame, charcoal grilling can be a pretty tedious process. Many people respect the time and effort it takes when grilling with charcoal, they appreciate the outcome of all their hard work. So if you choose to charcoal grill then keep in mind to leave empty spaces on the lower grill grate. These cool spaces allow for better control, letting you sear food first over hot spots before transferring it to cooler parts to finish cooking. Note: If you are on a tight budget then you might want to consider going charcoal, because they are substantially cheaper than gas grills!
Hopefully you have decided, or already know, which type of griller you are. So now let us please take all the hassle out of summer cooking for you and take a look at some of the following tips on how to grill your summertime burger perfectly:
- Make sure your grill is at the appropriate temperature. Too hot, and your burgers will burn on the outside before getting done on the inside. Medium low to medium heat is the best for outdoor cooking.
- Remember to keep the lid closed while grilling, so your grill can retain heat. Retaining heat will shorten the cooking time and keep your burgers moist. You should only open the lid occasionally to check on the meat.
- If youíre using ground turkey or chicken you can add a little broth or olive oil to keep them moist while grilling. These meats have less fat, therefore they become dry and tough when cooking. (Note: If you have a healthy conscious, then know that you may use lean meat to grill. So when using a leaner beef, remember there are always spices to add a little flare to your bland burger!)
- Gentle touch! Overworking the mixture will produce a tough burger. Mix ingredients slowly and once they are combined, you are done!
- Donít form patties too thick or too thin. A ĺ inch thick patty is ideal for even cooking throughout the burger. To keep your burgers from swelling in the middle, make a small indention in the center.
- Always clean and oil the grill grate. This prevents burgers from sticking, extends the life of your grate and helps put those beautiful grill marks on your burgers!
- Donít flip your burgers more than once. Turning them over only once is all that is necessary. Remember not to press the patty down with the back of a spatula; doing so releases all of the flavorful juices!
- Cook your burgers properly. For safetyís sake my goodness and your own well being, cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 to 170 degrees F. To check the temperature, insert a thermometer into the patty horizontally for an accurate reading.
The hamburger has many possibilities. Kids love them and I rarely see an adult turn them down. Take some time to think about the potential a simple burger has. A couple cloves of garlic and a thick slice of feta cheese for instance can turn your simple burger into a delectable treat. Doing something as simple as that has turned your bland burger into a self-respecting piece of meatÖliterally! If you arenít into all the trimmings then go basic with a dash of salt and pepper if you please. You know what seasonings you like and which ones you donít. Test them out and try new things. Who knows, your taste buds just might love a new creation! Pick out whatever selections you like to add atop your delicious burger, whether it be pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup or mustard, make your burger enjoyable. Select a good bun or roll of your liking to slap on both sides of your burger.
Grilling can be a great way to eat healthy when prepared properly. Look for a leaner beef, or try a ground turkey or chicken. When grilling you add flavor to your burgers without having to add excess seasoning. You also cook without adding excessive amounts of unhealthy fats and oils. When you cook meat at too high of a temperature, you chare them, making them not just distasteful but polluted with chemicals. Charring causes the formation of chemicals that have been linked to higher risk of some cancers. Follow these basic rules to also make your grilling experience a healthy one:
- Keep your grill clean
- Wash the grate each time you use your grill
- Avoid charring meats
- Choose healthier foods
- Cook meats to proper temperature, use a thermometer to be sure
- Do not overcook your meats
- Trim excess fat before cooking
- Choose leaner cuts of beef, fish, poultry or game meats
Consider thinking of other ways you can maintain a well-balanced healthy meal like substituting mayonnaise with avocado. Try new things that you normally would not in replacement of the things you add to your burger or to your plate! Grilling should be enjoyable and so should the food that comes off of one.