One of my favorite things about summer is being able to fire up the barbecue anytime it gets too hot to be cooking in the kitchen.
Burgers are my family's go-to because they're easy to prepare and cook, and taste delicious when paired with the right fixings.
It's really hard to get a burger wrong, but there are still some common mistakes many people make that affect the results. One of the biggest no-nos happens during the seasoning process, and many aren't aware that they're doing it wrong.
Salt is the one ingredient that you should never add into the hamburger mix.
You're probably wondering why such a key ingredient should be left out of the patties, but don't worry, there's a very good reason why.
According to Reader's Digest, salt is effective in dissolving protein so when it is added into the meat, it breaks down the patties and changes their texture.
“What you end up with is a very tightly compacted patty whose texture is similar to sausage," says James Schend, Reader's Digest Test Kitchen expert. "Think about when you bite into a sausage—that firm, almost rubbery texture is perfect for links, but is that the texture you want in your burger?"
So how can you get tender burgers that are tasty? It's all about timing.
You can still use salt to bring out the flavors in the patties, but wait until they're about to go on the grill before putting some on.
Schend recommends using Kosher salt because the large crystals make it easier to see how much you've sprinkled on.
In addition to the salt, there are a few more things to keep in mind in order to get the best results.
1. The meat cut
Buying ground beef made from an expensive cut of meat doesn't necessarily mean you'll get the best tasting burgers.
Bon Appetit's senior food editor Dawn Perry suggests using a "cut with a nice amount of fat." The meat should contain at least 15 to 20 percent of fat so your burgers won't turn out dry.
Perry adds that Sirloin is the one cut you should definitely stay away from.
2. Keep the seasoning basic
You're making burgers not meatloaf, so if you have a good-quality meat, then stay away from bread crumbs, eggs, onions, as well as certain herbs and spices.
You should definitely add enough salt and pepper, but as mentioned earlier, this should be done after the patties are formed and ready to be placed on the grill.
You can add raw or cooked onions, veggies and other toppings on your burger after.
3. Watch the patties
Once they're on the grill, you should be vigilant about how the burgers are cooking. However, this doesn't mean that you should be constatly probing and moving the patties.
Use a thermometer to check the temperature, and only move the patties three times. Once to rotate it 180 degrees, then flip it, and finally rotate it once more.
How do you usually cook your burgers?