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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Build Your Own Burger

Who doesn’t love a juicy burger loaded with their favorite toppings and wedged in a warm bun? But there is more than “meats” the eye, so Jeff Raymond, chef at Bassemier’s Grilling Supply Co., teaches us how to craft the perfect patty at home.

Step 1: Choose Your Meat

Burgers can be made from just about anything: elk, bison, salmon, black beans, and even portobello mushrooms. Poultry versions have less grease and fat but require more bonding ingredients to hold the patty together. Veggie burgers are also intricate, but many pre-made options are appetizing.

Fat percentage is a key factor in beef, which is sold in several fat varieties, the most common being 80 percent lean beef and 20 percent fat, 92/8, and 73/27. 80/20 beef is recommended for its optimal moisture retention.

Beef quality also is important. Raymond says Wagyu beef is a type of prime beef often considered a premium choice for burgers because it has a more even fat distribution than Angus.

Step 2: Assemble an Assortment of Ingredients

Create your burger mix with seasonings of your choice. Although not traditionally used for patties, panko breadcrumbs give burgers a lighter texture. Adding grated butter can create a juicier burger but isn’t necessary with higher-fat beef.

Place beefsteak tomato, lettuce, onion, and then condiments like mayo — in that order — in between the patty and top bun to keep the tomato slices from sliding out and lettuce from wilting. Set cheese below the patty to shield the bottom bun from getting soggy.

Step 3: Shape the Patty

This is important: Keep the beef cool. Try chilling the beef before you start shaping and be sure not to overwork it. Keep your hands damp to limit sticking and heat transfer.

Smashing a burger is the best way to shape it. Crush it thinly on the grill for a classic smashburger or press it between a shape, like deli container lids, for a consistent, hands-free thickness.

Another insider trick: Raymond presses a half-inch thumbprint into thicker patties’ centers to help them hold their shape and cook evenly.

Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen
Jodi Keen is the managing editor of Evansville Living and Evansville Business magazines.

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