The weather is getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean grilling season has to burn out. In fact, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 60 percent of grillers are now cooking outdoors year-round, so fall grilling season is just heating up.
With the new season come new opportunities to fire up the grill, from tailgating at football games to harvest parties around bonfires. Burgers remain one of the most popular foods to grill, so there’s no better time to perfect your burger grilling skills with these tips from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet grill master Russ Faulk:
* The first step to the perfect burger is selecting the right beef. To get the right balance of texture, flavor and juiciness, go with an 85 percent lean mixture. Ground beef from the butcher’s case is recommended over pre-packaged options.
* For the freshest flavor, avoid ground beef with any signs of gray or brown color. Always check the underside of the meat before purchasing.
* Form 1/3-pound to 1/2-pound patties, making them about three-fourths of an inch thick and roughly three-fourths of an inch larger in diameter than the buns.
* Dimple the middle of each patty so it’s thinner in the center than at the edges. The indent will rise up and flatten out when grilled.
* Finally, brush the patties with olive oil and season with salt – both will help in creating a browned exterior crust.
Prepping the grill
* Heat up two temperature zones: one hot fire at 600 degrees for the burgers and another 400-degree area for toasting the buns.
* The dry heat of a charcoal fire delivers the best crust on the outside of the burger. Gas fire also works, if it’s hot enough. Certain grills, such as the Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Hybrid Fire Grill, allow for cooking with any combination of gas, charcoal or wood.
* Place the burgers over the hottest part of the grill for about four minutes. Add slices of red onions to the grill to caramelize them at this time.
* Flip the burgers and cook for another four minutes. Add cheese to the top of the patties and place the onions on top of the burger.
* When the burgers are almost done, lightly toast the buns directly on the cooler zone of the grill grate or on the warming rack for about 20-30 seconds.
* Remove everything from the grill, and assemble your burgers.
For more burger recipes and grilling tips, visit kalamazoogourmet.com.