5 tips for a burger that's best

5 tips for a burger that's best (Photo courtesy of Bick's Pickles)

5 tips for a burger that's best (Photo courtesy of Bick's Pickles)

Rita DeMontis, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:43 PM ET

Summer's almost here! Long weekend's coming up — what's the first food that comes to mind? Betcha it's a burger. A mouth-watering burger with all the condiments, its delicious aroma wafting into the warm breeze. What’s the latest burger buzz? In Canada, burgers are big! According the the 25th annual Weber Canadian GrillWatch Survey, Canada’s favourite food to grill is the burger! In fact, 85% of the population agrees on this delectable fact.

Juicy facts from this national survey reveals that:

— Almost all Canadians grill beef burgers (95%)

— Turkey burgers are on the upswing. 20% of Canadians grill turkey burgers, up from 17% last year

— Burger toppings tend to be the traditional. On average, Canadians gave themselves a 5.2 out of 10 on the adventurous scale for burger toppings

— Top 3 favourite toppings for Canadians: Onions (64%), Tomatoes (64%) and Ketchup (60%); incidentally (4%) top their burger with a fried egg

— 2% of Canadians prefer to go bunless

— The majority of Canadian grillers make their own burger patties (64%)

— Over half of Canadians like their burgers cooked at least well-done (54%)

Since Canada’s favourite food to grill is burgers, why not prepare your own this Victoria Day Weekend? Here are a few tips to help you on the road to burger brilliance from best-selling author Jamie Purviance's Weber’s Big Book of Burgers:

  1. Go ground or get your meat of choice ground for you. Doing so gives you a loose, tender texture.
  2. Thorough seasoning: Burgers taste significantly better with seasoning's dispersed throughout meat, not just on surface. Use salt and pepper at a minimum. Wet ingredients like minced onion, ketchup, mustard, and Worcestershire sauce improve not only taste but also juiciness. Mix in seasonings as gently as possible with your fingertips so you don’t compress texture too much.
  3. Portion Control: Inside bowl, divide meat into equal portions so that you don’t end up with mismatched sizes. Form each portion into a loose, round ball, then gently and evenly flatten.
  4. Dimpling: Most burgers tend to puff up in middle as they cook, making tops rounded and awkward for piling on toppings. To avoid this trouble, use your thumb or back of a spoon to press a shallow indentation in centre of each raw patty. As each patty cooks, that well or “dimple” you have created will fill in and flatten out, giving you a nice level surface instead of a big fat meatball.
  5. Handling the Heat: Grill has to be hot (400F/200C to 500F/260C) and clean. Close lid as soon as patties hit grate. Give them 8 to 10 minutes total to reach a medium doneness, turning only once—any more and you run risk of ripping the surface before it has turned into a tasty crust. DO NOT ever smash burgers with a spatula! The juices will run out quickly and cause a flare-up.

Crunch Burgers

Ten minutes to make, six minutes on the grill, these burgs are the bomb! Recipe courtesy of Weber's Big Book of Burgers.

  • 1- 1/2 lbs. (750g) ground chuck (80% lean)
  • 1 Tbsp. (15ml) ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp. (2ml) EACH Worcestershire sauce, onion powder, kosher salt,
  • 1/4 tsp. (1ml) black pepper
  • 2 slices Cheddar cheese, cut into quarters
  • 8 slider buns, split
  • Ketchup (optional)
  • 16 dill pickle chips
  • 8 handfuls thin potato chips

Mix patty ingredients, and then gently form eight patties of equal size, each about 1/2 in. (1.25cm) thick. Refrigerate patties until ready to grill.

Prepare grill for direct cooking over medium-high heat ((400F/200C to 500F/260C) Grill patties over direct medium-high heat, with lid closed, until cooked to medium doneness (160F/65C), about 6 minutes, turning once. During last 30 seconds to 1 minute of grilling time, place a quarter-slice of cheese on each patty to melt, and toast buns, cut side down, over direct heat. Place a patty on each bottom bun half and top with ketchup (if using), a patty, pickles, and a stack of chips. Put bun tops on and then press down. Serve immediately. Makes 8 sliders.


Videos

Photos