Fire Up the Grill
Ready to grill your best backyard burgers ever? We’ve got you covered with chef secrets, grilling tips, and amazing recipes from Big Green Egg – including Pimento Cheese Burgers with Bacon Jam, Chipotle Barbecued Turkey Burgers, Cajun Shrimp Burgers, and Goat Cheese Portobello Mushroom Burgers.
Peak grilling season has arrived!
From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the American diet shifts to consumption of anything that can be cooked over a fire outdoors. For most families, that’s hot dogs and hamburgers.
According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Americans consume an average of 2.4 burgers per day, for a total of 50 billion burgers consumed per year.
USA Today reports that Kentuckians spend over $300 per person at burger restaurants per year and rank 22nd in the United States for burger consumption, eating 221 burgers per person per year. Keep in mind that there are only 365 days in a year, so Kentuckians eat burgers on two out of every three days.
Make the Most of Your Meat
Raise your grilling game to new heights – and set the bar a bit higher for all your your guests as well as for bragging rights among your friends and family – with these 5 chef-worthy tips.
Use Quality Meat
The quality of your meat matters. Purchase the highest quality protein you can afford. For a juicy burger, the fat content in the meat is also critical. Chefs recommend choosing an 80/20 blend of ground chuck. Ground chuck comes from the front shoulder of the cow and typically has a 15-20% fat ratio. The high fat content is the secret to ground chuck’s winning texture and flavor.
If grilling poultry or seafood burgers, you’ll need to add additional ingredients to raise the fat content and help the patties hold together.
When possible, don’t buy pre-packaged ground beef. Look for a grocery store or market that grinds their own and ask for a coarse grind.
Thin Patties Rule
You are not making hockey pucks. Aim for thin patties, less than 1” high, using about 5 ounces of meat. A thin patty will cook more evenly and allow for a better sear.
According to restauranteur, cookbook author, and Food Network star Bobby Flay, if you insist on making burgers that are 1” or thicker, use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each burger before putting it on the grill.
“This does two things,” Flay says. “One, it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers—you know the ones I am talking about: all puffed up and bulging in the center. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers.” The thumb-press also prevents the burger from shrinking up.
Flip Every 20-30 Seconds
It may seem counterintuitive but flipping a burger consistently and frequently speeds the cooking time. Flipping the patty every 20-30 seconds can reduce overall cook time by 30% and ensures even temperature and degree of doneness.
Don’t Flatten with a Spatula
The lesson here is “flip, don’t flatten.” Every time you press down on your patty, you’re removing juices, fat, and flavor from your burger. Flip it – and trust it will cook without being squashed. Your guests will thank you!
Let the Patty Rest
This is a stealth move that makes a major difference. While your patties are grilling, split your buns and butter the undersides. When your patties are done cooking, pull them off the grill and move to a plate to rest for five minutes while you toast your buns.
Allowing the meat to rest works just as well for a grilled burger patty as it does for a holiday roast or turkey! Even off the grill, the burger patty will continue to cook on the inside. Resting off the heat also allows the juices on the exterior to redistribute inside the meat. You’ll notice maximum juiciness when you take your first bite.
Choose Your Signature Burger Recipe
Now that you know how to make the most of your meat, select a recipe that will become “the Backyard Burger” of 2022, the recipe you’re known for, and your friends show up for all summer long! We’ve selected the following recipes to give you a starting point for beef, poultry, fish, and vegetarian options.
Best Backyard Burger with Beef
Nothing says “Southern” like a burger hot off the grill dripping with ooey-gooey creamy Pimento Cheese and slathered with crispy, crunchy Bacon Jam! Make your own toppings using this recipe or simply pick up pre-made Pimento Cheese and Bacon Jam at your favorite market.
Best Backyard Burger with Turkey
This recipe is the antidote to those dry, tasteless turkey burgers. The secret is a simple homemade spicy chipotle barbecue sauce and a dollop of cool guacamole.
Best Backyard Burger with Seafood
Grinding shrimp to compress into a “burger” patty may be a new idea for you – but give it a try. This recipe uses an egg as a binder to hold the patty together on the grill and adds moisture via olive oil or coconut oil. Top it off with homemade Cajun Mayo!
Best Backyard Vegetarian Burger
Do you have more friends and family who are eating less meat? If so, make sure to include a vegetarian option when you cook-out. This burger alternative includes a stuffing made of goat cheese, diced tomatoes, green chilies, and bell pepper.
Grill the Perfect Burger on a Big Green Egg
First things first! If you’re new to the Big Green Egg community, you may want to take a quick look at this overview of what makes cooking on a Big Green Egg so special. The patented technology of the Big Green Egg means it is simple to start, offers precise temperature control, is safer than using a metal grill, and operates like a self-cleaning oven with minimal ash or grease build-up.
Let’s walk through the simple steps to cook a juicy, delicious burger on a Big Green Egg.
This step-by-step walk-through is taken from cookbook author and television personality Stephen Raichlen’s article on enhancing the performance of your Big Green Egg.
Start the Fire
Set the Egg for direct cooking. Use a cast iron grid if sear marks are critical to your presentation.
Start with a full load of natural lump charcoal. That means 5 pounds lit with a paraffin fire starter cube or an electric lighter. No chimney is needed due to the Egg’s unique design. Never use lighter fluid.
When lighting the charcoal, have all the vents wide open and keep the lid open the first 7 to 10 minutes.
Set the Temperature
Choose a temperature based on the thickness of your burger patty. As mentioned earlier in this post, we recommend thinner patties. For patties less than an inch tall, you want 400 degrees. If using thicker patties, go for 600 degrees. Close the lid and expect to wait 15 to 20 minutes to reach your desired temperature.
Once the Egg is hot, “burp” it before opening it completely. Raise the lid a few inches to release some of the heat, then lower it. Do this a couple times. Regulating the temperature in this way keeps you from getting blasted by a back flash of heat.
Grill Your Burgers
Place burger patties on the cooking grid. Close the lid and cook 3 minutes per side (medium rare) or 5 minutes per side (medium). Pull your cooked patties to a holding plate or cooling rack. Brush undersides of buns with butter and toast on the grill while the burgers rest.
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