Chefs’ Secrets to Better Burgers
by Erin Hartigan for Cooking Channel
Think the best burgers are all about the beef?
James Beard Foundation’s Blended Burger Project promotes healthy and more-sustainable cooking by blending beef with mushrooms to decrease the meat content of the patties. This summer, Miami’s The Pubbelly Restaurant Group is spreading the word by inviting local chefs to dream up their own spins on the concept.
While they were at it, we asked the pros to help improve the standard summer grill-out with their expert takes on better burgers:
Master the Moisture
Ingrid Hoffmann is a master of sneaking vegetables into her patties. “I like adding moisture to the patty by using shredded onions, zucchinis and mushrooms,” she says. “Creating a barrier on the bread with a good mayo or avocado-based sauce also helps the bread not get soggy.” Even her condiments are far from standard, as Hoffmann uses pulled pork, mushrooms and jicama slaw to spice up her combinations. And once burgers are on the brain, not even stormy weather can get in her way: “If bad weather prevents you from grilling outdoors, one of my tricks is to take a large-size Pyrex, line the bottom with a layer of bread bottoms, then do layers of meat, cheese and other desired ingredients, place the tops of bread buns last and bake in the oven; easy for a one-dish wonder.”
Jose Mendin, Founding Partner and Chef of The Pubbelly Restaurant Group recommends an 85-15 ratio of meat to fat. “I like to use fatty meats in my blend such as brisket, chuck and sirloin,” he says. “Flip once; that way, the juices stay in the middle of burger. If you flip the burger too many times, you will end up with a messy, dried-out burger.”