Classic Beef Burgers

Classic Beef Burgers

Classic Beef Burgers, The Complete Summer Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen.

A hot day and hanging over your stove were never meant to be. When fresh produce beckons but you haven’t much energy to respond, these recipes help you settle into a more relaxed kind of cooking designed to keep you and your kitchen cool.

Untether yourself from the oven with make-ahead meals best served cold (or at room temp), like Poached Salmon with Cucumber and Tomato Salad and Tzatziki. Fix-and-forget recipes like North Carolina-Style Pulled Pork made in the electric pressure cooker won’t steam up the kitchen.

Equally easy are dinner salads; we’ve got enough to keep them interesting and varied, from Shrimp and White Bean Salad with Garlic Toasts to Grilled Caesar Salad. Barely more effort is fresh summer recipes requiring the briefest stint in a pan, such as Beet and Carrot Noodle Salad with Chicken or Braised Striped Bass with Zucchini and Tomatoes.

Ready to take the party outside? You’ll find all you need for casual patio meals prepared entirely on the grill (from meat to veggies, even pizza). Throw a fantastic cookout with easy starters, frosty drinks, and picnic must-haves like Classic Beef Burgers, Picnic Fried Chicken, Potato Salad, and Buttermilk Coleslaw.

Visited the farmers’ market? Find ideas for main dishes as well as sides inspired by the seasonal bounty, plus the best fruit desserts worth turning on the oven for. To end your meal on a cooler note, turn to a chapter of icebox desserts and no-bake sweets.

ABOUT AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
America’s Test Kitchen is located in Boston’s Seaport District. It is the home of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines and is the workday destination for more than 60 test cooks, editors, and cookware specialists. The test kitchen tests recipes over and over again until we understand how and why they work and until we arrive at the best version. We also test kitchen equipment and supermarket ingredients in search of brands that offer the best value and performance.

The Complete Summer Cookbook: Beat the Heat with 500 Recipes that Make the Most of Summer’s Bounty is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.


Classic Beef Burgers

Why This Recipe Works

Sometimes simple is best, and for quick weeknight burgers or a backyard barbecue for a crowd, store-bought ground beef is certainly convenient. But with so many options available in supermarkets, we knew we would need to find the right cut of beef with the ideal amount of fat to produce tender, juicy burgers. Generically labelled “ground beef” can be a combination of different cuts with little beefy flavour that yields fatty, greasy, or mushy burgers. Hoping for better luck with singular cuts of meat, we tested ground sirloin, round, and chuck. Ground sirloin left us with dry burgers and ground round was flavourless and gristly, but 85 percent lean ground chuck gave us burgers with rich flavour and a tender, moist texture. Our first few batches of burgers puffed up like tennis balls, but we quickly figured out that slightly indenting, or dimpling, the center of each burger helped the burgers cook to a perfectly even thickness. You can serve these burgers simply with classic condiments, lettuce, and sliced ripe tomatoes.

Serves 4

1½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
½ teaspoon table salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon vegetable oil, if using a skillet
4 slices cheese (4 ounces) (optional)
4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired

  1. Divide ground beef into 4 equal portions, then gently shape each portion into a ¾-inch-thick patty. Using your fingertips, press center of each patty down until about ½ inch thick, creating slight divot.
  2. For a Skillet Season patties with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Transfer patties to the skillet, divot side up, and cook until well browned on the first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, top with cheese, if using, and continue to cook until browned on the second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve burgers on buns.
  3. For a Charcoal Grill Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal briquettes (6 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. Clean and oil cooking grate. Season patties with salt and pepper. Place patties on the grill, divot side up, and cook until well browned on the first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, top with cheese, if using, and continue to cook until browned on the second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve burgers on buns.
  4. For a Gas Grill Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high. Clean and oil cooking grate. Season patties with salt and pepper. Place patties on the grill, divot side up, and cook until well browned on the first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip patties, top with cheese, if using, and continue to cook until browned on the second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to a platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve burgers on buns.

Recipe reprinted with permission from America’s Test Kitchen.

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