Food

Rachael’s Secrets to the Perfect Burger

Ready to become a burger master? RachaelRay.com and About.com are teaming up to bring you their favorite burgers, tips and tricks to kick off your summer grilling season!

Ah, the perfect burger. It is the ultimate!

What could be better than a hot, toasty bun, chock full of rich, indulgent, exciting flavors? Is there anything that can top the satisfaction of biting into a juicy burger – especially when you make it yourself?

You’ll never order another bistro burger again once you’ve mastered this iconic dish. And there’s no one better to show you the ropes than Rachael – burgers are one of her favorite foods!

From judging more than 17 Burger Bash competitions to writing her own cookbook dedicated to burgers, Rach knows a thing or two about creating the perfect bite. 

Check out these 6 tips for the perfect burger, and then get cooking with this mega list of 37 incredible, mouthwatering burgers!

Make it “Grate”

Rachael uses a trick that her mother, Elsa, taught her, every time she makes a burger with onions in it. Place a grater horizontally over the mixing bowl with the meat in it. Then, finely grate the onion directly into the meat, rather than chopping it on the side and adding later.

Why? This method allows all of the onion’s flavorful juices to drip right into the burger, giving you even more punch. This trick works excellently for garlic, too!

Don’t Trim the Fat

The best burgers have enough fat in them to make them juicy and flavorful. Rachael prefers ground chuck for beef burgers, which is a nicely balanced cut of meat. If you want to buy leaner meats (like turkey or bison), excellent! But be sure to keep an eye on them as they’ll cook up a bit quicker.

Kosher = Crust

Kosher salt is Rachael’s recommended salt to season the outside of your burgers. It ends up giving them an extra crispy crust for an even better bite!

Rachael’s Cubano Burger, featured in the Book of Burger

Portion Perfectly

Ever try to grab a handful of meat to form into patties, only to find that by the time you reach the last burger, your proportions were all off? That last burger looks puny, or it’s too big (if there is such a thing).

The fix? Divide your meat in the mixing bowl by scoring it into fourths or sixths (depending on your recipe’s yield) using the side of your hand to gently mark out the portions. That way, you always grab an even amount.

Plump it Up!

Burgers, especially beef burgers, get plump when they cook. If your burgers have the habit of not coming out flat or even, take this fact into account the next time you form your patties. Make them a bit thinner in the middle and thicker at the edges. Then as they cook, they will even out, giving you smooth, stackable burgers.

Cast Iron is Cool

Grilling outside is absolutely wonderful. But, if you don’t have a grill or the weather isn’t great, Rachael actually loves cooking her burgers in cast iron skillets. In her opinion, flavors can sometimes get masked by the smoky tones of the grill, so they’ll stand out more via this method. 

[Top image is Rachael’s Blue-Rugula burger, featured in the Book of Burger!]

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