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The 101 Best Burgers in America 2016

The 101 Best Burgers in America 2016



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Is there any food more quintessentially American than the burger? The simple sandwich of ground beef on a bun allows for considerable creativity from the chef or home cook who's making it, and there are thousands of variations, from one end of the country to the other. And when done properly, there are few foods more delicious.

The 101 Best Burgers in America (Slideshow)

The burger, it is sometimes said, traces its roots all the way back to the Mongol Empire in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and the Mongol tradition of mincing horsemeat before cooking it was passed onto the Russians, who in turn brought it to the major Hanseatic port of Hamburg in the early nineteenth century. The most common destination for ships departing from Hamburg was New York, and by the late 1800s restaurants in New York began serving what they called Hamburg steaks, seasoned and cooked patties of ground beef, to German immigrants. According to the late Josh Ozersky’s The Hamburger: A History, the oldest mention of a Hamburg steak on a menu was at New York’s Delmonico’s, the recipe having been developed by one of America’s greatest chefs, Charles Ranhofer.

The exact originator of the modern-day hamburger unfortunately remains a mystery, but there are several contenders. Perhaps the most well-known is Louis Lassen, who introduced a hamburger steak sandwich at his restaurant Louis’ Lunch, in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1900. Others claim that "Hamburger Charlie" Nagreen actually invented the dish at Wisconsin’s Outagamie County Fair in 1885, and still others claim that the Menches brothers did it at an 1885 fair in Hamburg, New York. Regardless of whoever first applied ground meat to bread, today the burger is one of the most beloved, comforting foods in existence. You can even argue that we’re currently in the midst of a burger Golden Age, with more and more upscale restaurants adding burgers to their menus as old-time burger joints keep going strong, and entire festivals and competitions are devoted to burgers.

But what exactly defines the perfect burger? To answer this question we enlisted none other than Pat LaFrieda, butcher extraordinaire and the creator of some of the meat blends that have gone into making some of the most heralded burgers served in America today, including Shake Shack’s and the legendary Black Label burger at New York’s Minetta Tavern.

“The perfect burger, in my view, is one that satisfies what I am hungry for at that moment,” he told us.

Being more specific, he identified the three main burger styles: There are the inch or so-thick patties that drip juice down your arm and give you that “rare beef buzz,” according to LaFrieda, with “a beautiful sear on the exterior, and a bright red, yet warm center.” Next up are the “smash burgers,” sometimes called fast-food style burgers, thin patties cooked on a griddle that get an ample crust and are “stomach pleasers, fast and effective.” Finally, there’s what LaFrieda calls the “aged steak in a burger experience,” masterpieces that raise the humble burger to fine-dining status.We compiled a survey which was then taken by a panel of noted writers, journalists, bloggers, and culinary authorities from across the country, asking them to vote for their favorites, limited to the ones that they’ve tried.

We at The Daily Meal began ranking our country’s burgers back in 2013, when we detailed what we had found to be the 40 best, and two years ago, we took it up to a comprehensive 101. In order to compile this year’s ranking, we assembled a list of about 250 burgers from all across the country, from Hollywood, Florida, to Anchorage, Alaska. Building upon suggestions from various authorities on the subject, we dug through online reviews and combed existing best-of lists, both in print and online, that were published since our 2015 burger ranking. Even though each of the burgers we found was unique, certain qualities were universal must-haves: high-quality beef (you'll find no non-beef burgers in our ranking, save for the occasional lamb or buffalo [bison] burger), proper seasoning, well-proportioned components, and an overall attention to detail that many would call “making it with love.” As usual, we didn’t include large chains like Shake Shack and In-N-Out — we celebrate the best chain burgers annually as well — choosing instead to focus on smaller-time restaurant owners. We compiled a survey which was then taken by a panel of noted writers, journalists, bloggers, and culinary authorities from across the country, asking them to vote for their favorites, limited to the ones that they’ve tried.

In total, 27 states and the District of Columbia are represented in our ranking. New York has the most entrants, with 19, followed by California (14), Texas (12), and Florida, Georgia, and Oregon, with four each. Three establishments each from Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, South Carolina, and Washington, DC, are also represented. Clearly, no matter where you look, great burgers are to be found.

“Americans love burgers because we see them as something that our country has pioneered,” LaFrieda added. “They are inexpensive, they fill our bellies, and most importantly, they carry a link back to a memory of comfort and safety at some point in our lives. That all equals fun in eating, making it no longer a comfort food, but instead an American pastime.”

Additional reporting by Kate Kolenda, Arthur Bovino, and Colman Andrews.


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


Burgers 101

A burger might seem quite simple to prepare, but not all burger recipes are created equal. Whether it’s for a pan-seared burger made on a stovetop, or a classic backyard burger served at a Fourth of July barbecue, the perfect burger recipe starts with the right cooking techniques.

Keeping Burgers from Sticking to the Grill

SCRAPE CLEAN

Heat your grill up before cleaning it with a sturdy grill brush. Any residual debris will come off hot grates much easier than cool ones.

SLICK DOWN

Grab a wad of paper towels with a pair of long-handled tongs and dip them in a bowl of vegetable oil. When the towels have absorbed the oil, run them over the cleaned grill grate.

BUILD UP SEASONING

The oil will burn off at first. Continue to dip the towels into oil and slick down the grate it will become "nonstick." When the grate turns black and glossy, your grill is good to go.

Hamburger Keys to Success

Three common mistakes to avoid in the quest for the perfect burger.

DON'T UNDERSEASON

Just dusting salt on the exterior of shaped patties doesn’t cut it. Put the ground beef in a bowl. Lightly break up the meat with your hands and sprinkle evenly with salt. Use 1 teaspoon of table salt for 1½ pounds of ground beef, the amount you will need for four burgers.

DON'T OVERWORK

Ground beef is not Play-Doh. The more you handle it, the denser and more rubbery it will become when cooked. After you’ve seasoned the meat, divide it into individual portions and, with lightly cupped hands, shape into patties. As soon as the patties hold together, stop!

DON'T PRESS

Flip the burgers just once—after they’ve developed deep brown grill marks—and don’t be tempted to press on them. Pressing down on the burgers as they cook squeezes out the flavorful juices, which end up in your grill (causing flare-ups) instead of in your burgers.

Hamburger Temperature Guide

Many of us depend on thermometers when we’re grilling expensive steaks, but when we grill (cheap) burgers, we think we needn’t bother. Wrong. For consistently delicious burgers cooked to just the right degree of doneness, don’t guess. Take the temperature in the center of each burger with an instant-read thermometer.

MEDIUM-RARE BURGER: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side

MEDIUM BURGER: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side

MEDIUM-WELL BURGER: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side

WELL-DONE BURGER: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side

Burger Bulge

Making a shallow indentation in the center of the patty is the first step toward a great burger.

The collagen, or connective tissue, in ground meat shrinks when heated. This causes the bottom and sides of the meat to tighten like a belt, which forces the surface of the burger to expand. To prevent a bubble burger, press a 1/4-inch divot, or indentation, in the center of each patty. The collagen will still tighten, but the indented meat won't bulge.

FLAT PATTIES

If you start with a flat burger patty.

BULGING BURGERS

. you'll end up with a bulging burger like this one.

DIVOTED PATTIES

Pressing a small divot into the center of each patty.

FLAT BURGERS

. keeps the burgers from bulging. The result? Perfect burgers.

Start With the Right Beef

Most recipes simply call for "ground beef," but, as any supermarket shopper knows, the choices are much more varied. What are the differences between ground round, ground chuck, and ground sirloin? And what about fat content, which can range as low as 7 percent?

To find out, we prepared burgers using each type of ground beef and held a blind tasting, asking tasters to comment on the taste and texture of each burgers The results were clear differences between the cuts were obvious and noted across the board. Types of ground beef are listed below in order of preference.

Ground Chuck

Cut from the shoulder, ground chuck ranges from 15 to 20 percent fat and was favored by our tasters for its "rich" flavor and "tender," "moist" texture. The best choice for burgers.

Ground Sirloin

Tasters found ground sirloin a bit "dry" in burgers, though it did have "good beef flavor." Cut from the midsection of the animal near the hip, ground sirloin usually ranges in fat content from 7 to 10 percent.

Ground Round

Lean and tough, ground round comes from the rear upper leg and rump of the cow. Tasters rejected the round as "gristly" and "lacking beef flavor." The fat content ranges from 10 to 20 percent.

Ground Beef

Any cut or combination of cuts can be labeled "ground beef," so consistency is a problem. Because ground beef may have as much as 30 percent fat, greasiness can also be an issue. Our tasters dismissed the ground beef as "mushy," with an "old boiled beef taste."


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