You owe it to yourself to learn how to make a perfect burger at home. Fire-kissed patties, covered in cheese and piled high with all the right toppings. Please pass the ketchup.
Our panel of top chefs from around the world is spilling their secrets on how to make the perfect burger. Also covered: what meat to buy and how to season it, as well as a cheese melting trick we’ll never forget. Ready to grill? Enjoy these chef-approved burger secrets.
Want more from the world’s best chefs? You’ve found it. ASK THE CHEF is a weekly food series that taps into the world’s top chefs. We’ll talk to chefs about everything from podcasts and kitchen equipment to travel and trends.
Choose high-quality ingredients.
‘The key to making the perfect burger is to have the right ingredients. In addition, the cheese must be aged, and the burger patty must be a juicy blend of medium and lean meats. I like my burger patties pressed for a smash burger and flavor bombed. ‘ The founder and chef of Parliament Pub & Parlour, Chanthy Yen,
It’s all about the mix, baby
‘The most crucial component is the burger blend. What’s the point of a burger if you can’t taste the beef? Everything else is the second most essential thing. You may have a wagyu blend but under season it, overcook it, use mediocre toppings, and utilize poor bread and end up with something utterly unappealing. There isn’t a single secret. Everything requires a great deal of attention to detail. ‘ — Chefs and co-owners of Boia De in Miami, Luciana Giangrandi and Alex Meyer
Change to grass-fed beef
Really good grass-fed beef with lots of marbled fat for flavor and omega-3 oils is the key. I try very hard to avoid all feedlot beef these days because it is so harmful to the environment and inhumane. It’s all about grass-fed beef. Don’t eat it all the time, but know where it’s coming from and taste it in the meat. ‘—Thomasina Miers, founder of Wahaca in London.
Before creating the patties, combine the ground beef with garlic, onion, soy sauce, and beef fat. The beef fat enhances the steak flavor while protecting it from drying out. ‘ In Hong Kong, chef-founder Agustin Ferrando Balbi founded And
Increase the heat
Cook burgers on high heat — a slow-cooked burger does not exist… at least not a tasty one! High heat sears the burger and seals in the juices. ‘—Brian Jupiter, chef-owner of Chicago’s Ina Mae Tavern and Frontier.
Pour boiling water into a heat-safe saucepan and place it on the grill to obtain oozing, melty cheese. Steam will dissolve the edges without drying them. ‘ —Marwa Alkhalaf, Nutshell London chef
Sweeten me up
‘Butter without a doubt. Butter is my secret weapon, I know. You can use it to caramelize high-quality meat. Butter enhances the meaty flavor and makes a juicy and luscious burger. ‘ Former Top Chef candidate Yesha Arrington, Los Angeles
Refrain from pressing
‘The finest burger is made by not pressing the patty when cooking. That unleashes all its fluids! Instead, pinch the middle to keep it from puffing up while cooking. ‘ —Cesar Zapata, chef of Phuc Yea and Pho Mo in Miami
Don’t overthink things
The key to a great burger is a hot grill and fresh, basic toppings. Don’t try to cram everything you want into one burger; the flavors will clash. Oh, and if you want crunch, add chips to your burger — that changes everything! ‘ —Kathryn Ferries, sous chef at Ottawa’s Stofa Restaurant
Try something new
Chefs’ Secrets To The Perfect Burger is to try something new. ‘As a vegan, I substitute kidney beans, oat flour, and greens for meat. It took me years to develop the RHK burger, and it is fantastic.’ —Heather Costa, chef and proprietor of Revolution Health Kitchen in Boston.