Considered one of America's leading chefs, beef expert Richard Chamberlain suggests that one of the simplest ways to give burgers a boost is by adding cheese. "Cheese adds a big burst of flavor while helping maintain the moisture of the meat," says Chamberlain. Follow Chamberlain's other simple techniques for creating the perfect burger, and your guests will never take another tasteless, burnt-out bite.
What's Your Beef?
For moist, rich flavor, Chamberlain uses 80-percent lean ground sirloin. If you're looking for a leaner burger, go to 95 percent and increase moisture by adding one egg white and ¼ cup of breadcrumbs for every pound of meat. To keep burgers from crumbling during grilling, Chamberlain recommends chilling the meat well in advance and using a ring mold to form a tight patty.
Spice It Up
Seasoning is a vital step in the grilling process. Chamberlain prefers the bolder flavors of kosher or sea salt over iodized salt, and fresh ground pepper over pre-ground pepper. Season both sides of the patty just before grilling for peak flavor.
Feel the Heat
Chamberlain recommends using a grill with solid, heavy grates for superior heat retention. Keep burgers from sticking by lightly brushing the grill with oil or applying a non-stick cooking spray. Don't forget to preheat to medium or medium-high heat.
Brown is Best
When you're finally ready to get down to business, Chamberlain indicates that the real key to flavor is browning, so resist the temptation to flip before the meat is properly browned! A professional meat thermometer takes out the guesswork. The internal temperature of a perfect burger should be 160 F.
Try your hand at Chamberlain's recipe for Tuscan Olive Burgers for a delicious Mediterranean twist on grilling.
Tuscan Olive Burger
1½ pounds ground sirloin
Kosher or sea salt
Fresh ground pepper
Olive bread slices
8 slices Swiss cheese
¾ cup green olive tapenade
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
½ cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon capers
1 6-ounce jar artichokes in olive oil
1 roasted red bell pepper (peeled,
seeded and diced)
1 medium tomato (diced)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1. For the olive tapenade mayonnaise: In a food processor, combine olives, lemon, mayonnaise and capers. Process until smooth. Chill.
2. In a mixing bowl, combine artichoke salad, olive oil, roasted peppers and mix well.
3. Pre-heat grill to medium high. Mold ground beef into four to 6-ounce patties and season with salt and pepper. Place burgers on grill and cook to an internal temperature of 160 F. Top each burger with two slices of Swiss cheese and melt. Lightly grill olive bread slices.
4. Spread 1 tablespoon tapenade mayonnaise over four slices of bread. Top with burgers. Top burgers with artichoke salad and serve. Serves four.