Sweat the technique and own the burger game
Our best burger recipes and grilling tips for your Memorial Day
Fire. It Up. The sun is out, Memorial Day is around the corner, and May is National Burger Month! Usher in grilling season (YAY) with a juicy, grass-fed beef burger. Get your technique in order with grilling know-how and the best burger recipes around.
First, a very simple starter recipe for burgers on the grill.
Classic Grass-Fed Burger Recipe
1 – 1.5 Verde Farms grass-fed ground beef, preferably 80% lean
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Divide meat into four even portions. Gently ball the meat and press *lightly* to flatten. Add a dimple in the middle of each patty with your thumb to prevent softball syndrome.
- Start a charcoal or wood fire or preheat a gas grill to very hot.
- Sprinkle each side of the burger generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Place burgers on hot grill and cook 3 minutes on each side for rare. Add another minute each side for each increasing stage of doneness. (See below for internal temps.)
- For cheeseburgers, add cheese before the final flip.
- Place burgers on lightly buttered and grilled buns, preferably soft but sturdy brioche or potato buns.
- Condiment as you will and serve at once.
Seems pretty simple, right? Time to up-level.
The Basics of the Best Burger Recipes
Start with good meat
It seems obvious, but this is a must. Most experts agree that ground chuck (cut from the shoulder of the animal) makes the best ground beef.
You can buy a whole chuck roast and grind it yourself with a meat grinder or food processor. If you’re buying pre-ground beef, buy the highest quality grass-fed beef available – it makes a real difference.
Fat is your friend
Fat keeps burgers flavorful and moist. We prefer 80% or 85% lean ground beef for our burgers. If you choose super lean beef, be extra careful not to overcook. Leaner burgers can end up like hockey pucks; aim for a lower target temperature.
It runs counter to our programming (especially for the Snackwell’s generation of the ‘80s), but not all fat is bad! Grass-fed beef has the “better for you” fats associated with lowered blood pressure and cardiovascular health, among other benefits. Read more about why grass-fed beef is healthier, or take our word for it: grass-fed beef is your hall pass to enjoying that juicy burger, sans guilt.
Handle with care
The less you handle the meat, the better. Futzing with your ground beef has a direct impact on the texture of your burger. That firm and neatly formed patty ultimately becomes a rubbery mass. Instead, treat your burger meat delicately to form rough patties. Too much thinking? Choose pre-formed beef patties.
Contrary to popular belief, you can flip your burgers as often as you’d like. Some chefs even recommend frequent flipping to grill the meat evenly and reduce the overall cook time.
(Side note: every time someone presses a burger down on the grill with a spatula, we weep a thousand silent tears. For our sake, resist the urge. Keep that delicious fat inside the burger to preserve flavor and texture.)
Season with zeal
Channel your inner #SaltBae. Be liberal, extravagant even, with the kosher salt and the freshly ground pepper. Most importantly, salt beef after forming the burgers and within minutes of putting them on the grill. While different from the pre-seasoning we recommend for steaks, this technique is essential to creating the best texture for burgers.
A clean grill, a hot grill, a happy grill
Grilling is as much grit as it is glamour. Scrape the grill clean with a grill brush before and after each use. Oil the grill grate to prevent future burgers from sticking.
Once you’re ready to rock, get that fire hot hot HOT – ideally, 500 degrees Fahrenheit or more. You should barely be able to hold your hand a few inches above the rack. High heat creates a beautiful crispy crust and browning on the exterior of the burger.
We love charcoal for its exceptional browning ability and ability to impart a smokey flavor. But the gas grill is also convenient, consistent, and dependable.
Put down the ego, pick up the meat thermometer…
…especially if you’re newer to the grill.
Burger grilling temperature guide:
- 120 and below: rare (red/raw in the center)
- 130: medium rare (pink/warm center)
- 140: medium (totally pink, starting to dry out)
- 150: medium well (grayish pink, significantly drier)
- 160+: well done (completely gray, little moisture)
The USDA suggests a higher internal temp; the burger aficionados around this office champion redness in the middle.
Simple is beautiful
You do not need a complex recipe to create killer burgers. High quality ground beef, fire, and some S&P is all it really takes. Some of our favorite gurus, including Anthony Bourdain, champion a simple burger that you can eat with one hand. It’s a classic dish for a reason.
But fancy can be delicious
Then again, there’s a reason behind the existence of gourmet and exotic burgers. Is it necessary to add foie gras and truffles? No, it’s not. However, we support anything that might involve bacon. Check out the box on the right from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything for simple ways to mix it up.
The Best of the Best: Memorial Day Burger Recipes
Search “best burger recipes” and you’ll see one common theme: a deep passion for the burger. The recipes below vary from simple to exotic, indulgent to uber-healthy. Try them all and take your love of the burger to the next level.
Can we call it elevated bar food? Let’s just call it delicious. Take a perfect burger, then add nachos. And salsa. And cheese.
An American classic, upgraded. It’s pure delight.
You deserve a burger with an egg on top, you really do. Meet the love child of a burger and a breakfast sandwich.
It’s no secret that a little butter goes a long way. And hey, Russian dressing makes everything better.
Spicy, tangy, sweet. Worth the prep to impress your guests.
The improbable combination of decadent AND healthy. This paleo recipe is as flavorful as it gets. (Did we mention that we’re Whole30 approved? More on that later.)
This dish screams summer; it’s as tasty as it is beautiful.
This brit just gets it. The great American burger, in all of its glory (and toppings).
Grill season is just starting. Try all of the burger recipes here, create your own, or perfect the art of the classic burger.
Remember: it all comes down to good beef. Follow the tips here and use Verde Farms grass-fed ground beef for the most flavorful burgers you’ve ever made. Find where you can buy Verde Farms grass-fed beef near you.
Got a favorite recipe you’d like featured on the blog? Contact us!