Five Tips for a Great Restaurant Beef Burger – at Home!

Have you ever wondered why hamburgers at a restaurant sometimes taste better than the ones you make at home? Well, if so – then here are a few tips that can make your homemade burgers rival the ones you shell out big bucks for at your favorite watering hole! So, what’s the secret? Keeping things simple!

First: Try not to go crazy!
Keep things simple. Believe me, restaurants don’t have time for crazy ingredients and lots of prep when it comes to money items such as burgers. That is unless they’re making a signature burger which they’ll charge you more for.

Second: The Right Beef
Sure, you can try exotic ground meats, ground turkey, and more. But, when it comes to good old fashioned burgers you can’t beat ground beef, ground chuck, or ground Black Angus at an 80/20 fat ratio. That ratio provides a nice texture and amount of juiciness when served.

Third: Don’t over work it!
One thing that tightens a burger up and makes the texture tougher is working the beef too much when forming a patty. Try not to overwork things. Grab a hand full of 80/20 ground beef – about 6 ounces. Gently form a ball, then gently flatten the ball out to be wider than the bun you are using.

Then add an indention using your thumb or the back of the spoon into the center of the burger. The burger, meat in general, contracts when cooked. This indention limits the amount shrinking.

Fourth: Easy Spices!
Salt and pepper are the original spice for burgers. In fact, salt and pepper is a basic meat rub. You can add the seasoning into the meat before you make the burgers but that often means overworking the meat. So, form your patties and hit them on both sides with salt and pepper! Or, use some of your favorite Tex-Mex, Creole, Cajun, or steak seasoning.

Five: Don’t Cook Too Fast!
Cook your burgers on a pre-heated grill, in a pre-heated skillet, oven, or where-ever you plan on cooking them. Don’t cook them too fast, don’t burn them, and don’t mash them down with a spatula.

Bonus Tip: Topping things off!
Have you ever been impressed with a burger on a cheap bun unless it came down to price off a value menu? Try some nice artesian buns or rolls, different types of cheese, topping such as salsa, fried green tomatoes, pimento cheese, and more. That being said, a nice burger on a soft bun with bacon, American cheese, onion, pickle, and tomato is nothing to shy away from!

Speaking of Topping things off – Try this awesome Bacon Cheese Burger Topping idea!

Brown Sugar Glazed Spicy Bacon for Burgers!

  • Hot sauce
  • Bacon
  • Brown sugar
  • Black pepper

Preheat oven or grill to 350 degrees. Place the bacon in an even layer on a deep cooking tray – preferably with a rack – or a broiling pan. You’ll need this for the grease. Next, in a bowl, combine a bunch of Texas Pete® Hot Sauce and brown sugar together. Sprinkle the bacon lightly with black pepper. Brush the mixture of sauce and brown sugar over the top of the bacon and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, flip the pieces and baste again. Or, combine everything in a zip close back, seal it and toss it in the fridge overnight. Then bake or grill the bacon. Before you remove from the oven, sprinkle lightly with more brown sugar. Drain via the rack, the broiling pan, or on paper towels and top your cheeseburger! One note: DON’T BURN THE BACON! The brown sugar will become bitter. And bitter bacon is not happy bacon! Cook your burgers as you normally would then top with the Brown Sugar Glazed Spicy Bacon and your choice of cheese!

About Kent Whitaker

Kent "The Deck Chef" Whitaker is a culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s the former winner of the Food Network / Emeril Live Barbecue Contest and recipient of the American Authors Association’s Gold Medal for a culinary title. Check him out on twitter - @thekentwhitaker

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