Need a definitive burger guide

Discussion in 'Grilling Beef' started by onoku, Feb 16, 2016.

  1. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    I need some help. I don't think I've ever made a burger that was worth a damn and I'm looking for a dummy guide on how to get good simple burgers. Anyone have some a good resource or care to post their process (in detail)?

    I'd like to make some burgers this week probably using Jeff's rub. Cheers!
  2. As simple as it seems burgers are an art. 

    1. Meat selection. So much depends on the meat you start with. I generally use a ground chuck for burgers.

    2. Patty thickness and size determines cook time and juiciness. I like to make a thinner patty as it will shrink, but it will swell in the middle.If I am using a 5 inch roll my patty will be 6-7 inches in diameter and 3/8 in thick.

    3. Seasoning before or after. Well I salt and pepper lightly while grilling, but keep it very light. I make a seasoning equal parts Cavendish Greek seasoning and Herbox sodium free powdered beef bullion. Dusted right after i pull from the grill to allow to rest.

    4. Sear on direct coals on both sides then move to indirect heat to allow IT to come up. Then allow to rest long enough that the juices will redistribute. 15 to 20 min is my general rule.
  3. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    What kind of grill/smoker are you using?

    Do you have the capability to grind your own meat?

    Have you tried buffalo, a mixture of beef, pork, lamb?

    Ground turkey and chicken burger?

    Simple seasonings, SPOG (Salt Pepper Onion Garlic)

    Or you can get fancy and stuff the burger with all kinds of stuff.

    Cherry, Kiawe, pecan all good woods to use if you plan on adding smoke.
  4. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    Thanks for the reply, 

    I'm using a standard weber charcoal grill (i'll try my hand at smoking burgers later on the WSM)

    I can't grind my own meat

    I've only tried beef and ground turkey burgers

    Have you tried Jeff's rub on burgers? It's so good on my ribs, so I'm curious....
  5. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    Thanks Four20,

    I picked up some bison burgers from the commissary today. Wasn't looking for them specifically, but thought they'd be worth trying. 

    I think your advice on searing then using indirect heat is a big thing I was missing. I've always done direct heat until I thought it was good, then plated. 
  6. Beef bullion is a key ingredient in fast food burgers. Most all chains dust with some type of seasoning most of which i have found beef bullion.

    I generally run my coal grinder up to 550-600 f to sear my burgers with coals approx 6 inches from the meat rack. Then move to indirect heat to finish. I cannot state a time because with burgers the thickness and fat content really determine how they cook.

    Bison burgers are gonna cook fast and dry quick unless it has beef fats added. The package should state if they do. With low fat grinds like bison I have been known to partially freeze the patty before I throw it to fire. I do prefer a mix of beef and bison to get the burger to look done enough for the wife and kids. If they had their choice my meat would have Nike stamped on it to call it done.
    onoku likes this.
  7. muralboy

    muralboy Smoking Fanatic

    A lot of restaurants use 80/20 ground beef or chuck.  Too lean and burger will tend to dry out.  Buffalo burgers can be that way because of how lean they are - good meat though.  Turkey is the same - very lean and can go dry unless you add some sort of filler to bring in some fat or juice.  

    For seasonings, I have had good luck with just plain old salt and ground black pepper, or Lawry's seasoning salt and GBP.  Usually season both sides before putting the burgers on the grill.  

    Don't go over board on the sear.  And don't try to cook too quickly, especially thick burgers.  Have an area that is lower heat to cook the burgers on after searing.  

    Oh, dimple or slitght indentation in middle of a thicker burger to help with even cooking - don't succumb to the urge to smash the burgers one on the grill.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  8. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Like the boys said, 2 - 3 min. on each side to sear, then off to the side to finish. I use a little A-1 sauce on the burger then dust with Montreal steak seasoning, wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for a couple of hours, before putting on the grill. I think it gives the burger a real nice flavor.

    Good luck,

  9. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    I like the idea of seasoning then putting it in the fridge first. Maybe I'll prepare the patties at lunch to have for dinner. Still debating on if I want to try out Jeff's rub on it or go for the traditional salt and pepper.
  10. travisty

    travisty Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    The Searing Advise is spot on. So many people cook burgers like you had mentioned on direct heat at an even temp till they are done, but why wouldn't you cook a burger like a Steak? Sear it up, then let the inside get to temp.

    As far as my burgers, I do grind my own chuck, and often mix in a bit of ground pork, but if you cant I would recommend grabbing some fresh ground chuck from your local grocer/butcher, and mix it up yourself. I have only ever done burgers without anything but S&P like one time, and it was because I had ground ribeye and didn't want to do my usual, but otherwise I do the following and they are always tasty!

    I always add fresh minced garlic (a bunch), Salt, Pepper, Chicken bullion powder (I know not beef?.. I think it adds a better flavor), Chili Powder and an egg or two depending on how much meat you have. Mix it up good and press into patties. For me just the taste of ground chuck alone isn't amazing, so I like to season them, sometimes ill even do an excess amount of garlic for garlicburgers.

    I personally like my patties bun sized in diameter and thin like the thickness of the standard frozen boxed patty. I think this lends to the perfect Meat-to-Bread-to-Seasonings-to-toppings ratio, but I know people like real thick burgers too, so when I have a party ill throw some of those on too.
  11. Hey try this. 

    Roll a fatty stuffed with swiss, mushrooms, and smoke. Once done then rested slice to thickness desired. Plate on roll of choice. Prepare some brown gravy. Dip burger into gravy for each bite.

    The SMF Mushroom / Swiss smoked fatty burger
  12. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    So I seasoned up the bison burgers with jeff's rub while at lunch this afternoon. Will cook them when I get home for dinner. I left one burger for my kid which I will do with just SPOG. Gonna top the burgers with some pepperjack cheese along with grilled onions, jalapenos, and tomato. The Mrs. will get some avocado on hers as well.
  13. What about mine?
  14. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    If you can make it from S.C to CA in the next two hours, I'll hook you up.
  15. Personally I used to use the sear then indirect method.  It works good.  Now I use the reverse sear method and it works outstanding!!!!  I start with a 1/2 pound patty of 80/20 ground chuck, seasoned with salt only and throw it in the fridge for a few hours.  Then I season with pepper onion and garlic before throwing them into indirect heat with a little smoke, I use mesquite.  I flip them after about 10 minutes and then let the IT get to 120°.  Then I spread a little cooking on both sides just to transfer the heat faster and its onto the direct heat about 550-600° to get the sear.  I flip every minute, so one side doesnt get too much heat at one time, until I get that nice tasty crust, which only took about another 5 minutes total.  Rest it for about 10 minutes and that gives you time to toast those buns!! Amazing!!! Try it out at least once.  You'll Love it!!

  16. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Don't believe Onoku when he says he can't make good burgers.

    I saw pics of his bison burgers, and they were incredible!

    Good luck and good smoking.

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