Burgerconquest) for his wisdom that I get to sponge up at a yearly Gentlemen's lunch I attend around Xmas in NYC every year.
I now grill or pan fry burgers 1-2x a week at home and love experimenting with the process to produce incredibly delicious burgers. The best part is that this is SIMPLE.
Allow me to explain:
1. Garbage in, Garbage out -- get good meat. Recommended is a solid 80/20 blend. I have played around with THIS BLEND from Schweid and Sons and it is excellent. If you can't find a funky blend, a solid 80/20 Chuck will do. Don't get something with a 95 or 93 lean content. Those lean cuts are going to be dry and not taste good. I also use the CostCo 85/15 Organic Grass Fed beef with good results.
2. Salt -- use plenty of it, more than you think you should...you know that place with the awesome burgers you love? yeah...they use a ton of salt...it tastes really good. A dose of pepper and/or onion powder doesn't hurt.
3. HOT HOT HOT -- You need a really hot grill surface. I bought a CharBroil grill for it's infrared heating technology and have been very pleased with the high even heat it delivers to the burger without any flame ups. I also use a classic cast iron pan on my stove top. They key is to get it as hot as you can. You want to sear the meat and seal in the juices. As the Onion pointed out -- Average Father Thinks About Sealing In Meat’s Juices 4 To 5 Hours A Day :)
4. Once you put the meat on, you should only touch it 2 more times. Once to flip it after 4-5 minutes, and once to take it off the grill. For god's sake, do not ever press on the burger with your spatula...you might as well just eat a hockey puck you cretin. How long you cook it depends on many things...how thick it is, how hot the surface is, and how you like your burgers...experiment until you find the right answers. I do my burgers about 4-5 minutes a side for a nice Med-Rare burger.
5. Cheese -- Personal choice/preferences here -- I like a sharp cheddar or classic yellow american. Put it on with about 90 seconds to go.
6. Bun -- Again a personal preference here is to toast the bun to help ward off soggy buns from your juicy burger. Great Jones in NYC toasts their buns with the cheese on it...I do that some times.
7. Let it sit for a minute or two after you take it off...it is still cooking and super juicy.
Please let me know if you have some other techniques or advice as I am always looking to improve this simple pleasure.