Here are my tips for making delicious gourmet hamburgers at home!
1. The beef! Preferably you should grind it yourself, the key is freshness. A good cut to use is the shoulder/chuck region. You can really use anything, but for good flavor and texture you want something with about 15-20 % fat as a general rule. If you don’t have a grinder at home, most grocery store butchers will grind fresh whatever cuts you want. Honestly, ask them what they would recommend based on what you like: lean burgers, fatty and juicy, extra flavorful…and so on. They are the experts! J
2. Seasoning! This is kind of a personal preference situation but I only put salt and pepper on the outside of the patties. I’m kind of a purest and believe the flavor of the meat should shine through. Hamburgers are not meatloaf so I don’t use onions or any binders inside the meat like bread crumbs or eggs. My philosophy is that hamburgers should be treated like steaks! A good salt and pepper curst, and a hot pan are all you need.
3. Forming the patties! I worked in a restaurant in San Diego and our fancy burger patty forming machine was a pickle jar lid! It kind of blew my mind how simple it was yet how great they looked. If you decide to use this method, remember that your burgers will shrink with cooking so go with a slightly bigger lid than the size of your buns. Cover the lid in plastic wrap and simply fill evenly with meat, use the plastic wrap the lift it out and repeat till all your patties are formed. Two pounds of hamburger made about 7 patties for me it will vary based on what size of lid you go with
4. Cooking! Just like steaks, I prefer to cook hamburgers in a cast iron pan as opposed to a grill. The biggest reason is because with cast iron you have maximum contact with the pan for browning/caramelization. The technical term for this is called the Maillard reaction. Browning (caramelization of sugars) equals flavor! With a grill you get less browning and more char…char can be good but I find its les flavorful than the browning. Make sure your cast iron pan is very hot before you add your hamburgers, look for the pan to just begin to smoke, carefully place your hamburgers and don’t touch them for at about 6 to 8 min. if you want them fully cooked. If you like a little pink flip them at about 5 min. cook them on the other side for about 5 min. (for done through about 3-4 min.) Cooking times are going to vary based on the size of your burgers. Once you flip them, add cheese. If cheese is not melting, cover with a lid for a few min.
The two burgers I made were: a classic hamburger with all the fixings plus my sriracha aioli, and the second one was bacon, swiss cheese, and caramelized onion burger with garlic aioli. I have included recipes for both aiolis, as well as my recipe for caramelized onions.
- Formed Hamburger Patties
- Cooked Bacon
- Swiss Cheese
- Cheddar Cheese
- Caramelized Onions
- Brioche Hamburger buns
- Sriracha Aioli
- Garlic Aioli
- Fresh Onions (sliced)
- 2 onions, Sliced
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Balsamic Vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy bottomed sauté pan on medium to high heat, melt butter. Add onions and salt and pepper. Turn down the heat to medium and let onions cook down stirring every now and then. It will take about 20 to 25 min. to fully caramelize onions. Once onions reach an amber color drizzle in your balsamic vinegar and stir to reduce and combine. Remove from heat and let cool a little bit.
- 1 Cup Mayo
- 1 -2 cloves garlic (if they are small cloves use 2)
- Splash of Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar, mix thoroughly. Let sit a few min to allow the garlic to permeate the sauce.
- 1 Cup mayo
- 1 Clove Garlic
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Sriracha Sauce
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a mason jar and mix thoroughly.
Arrange your burger how you like it and enjoy!