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Old 12-03-2013, 04:31 PM   #51
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
I use a Webber Charcoal Grill to cook my burgers. I've found that if I want that intense grilled burger flavor, I have to use 70/30 grind, so that the fat drips down onto the charcoal, and put the lid on to concentrate that smoke, as smoke particle deposition is what gives a burger that characteristic grilled flavor. I once added extra fat, saved from a pork butt, and had so much smoke flavor that it created a very bitter and nasty burger. The 70/30 grid gives me just what I need. Also, salt seems to wake up the taste buds to other flavors, but not so much that you taste the salt. Finally, to reduce shrinkage, add one large egg to the raw burger, and mix it in. make the patties by hand, first making the burger into a uniform, 1/3 lb. ball, the flattening by pressing a little both between the palms of your hands, and pressing you thumbs against the sides to prevent the edges from splitting, turn a bit and repeat until the pattie is about 1/4 inch thick. Finally, the middle needs to be thinner than the edges so that the burger is uniformly thick when finished. The meat pulls toward the center as it cooks.

That should take care of your burger woes.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
Thanks, Chief, but personally, in my opinion, 1/4 inch thick (and even thinner in the middle) is just too thin for me. I make my burgers a minimum of 1/2 lb and a 1/4" 1/2 lb. burger is almost the size of a dinner plate.
I've read everyone's response in this thread and I appreciate all the input, tips, ideas, and processes. For me, it boils down to a very simple question that still haunts me.

Why is it that I've had the most magnificent backyard burgers, bursting with bold grilled flavor, that have had absolutely nothing special done to them (basically just beef thrown on a grill) yet I have never been able to recreate it on my own grill? IOW, why isn't my grill giving me that flavor?
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:42 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by mborner View Post
Thanks, Chief, but personally, in my opinion, 1/4 inch thick (and even thinner in the middle) is just too thin for me. I make my burgers a minimum of 1/2 lb and a 1/4" 1/2 lb. burger is almost the size of a dinner plate.
I've read everyone's response in this thread and I appreciate all the input, tips, ideas, and processes. For me, it boils down to a very simple question that still haunts me.

Why is it that I've had the most magnificent backyard burgers, bursting with bold grilled flavor, that have had absolutely nothing special done to them (basically just beef thrown on a grill) yet I have never been able to recreate it on my own grill? IOW, why isn't my grill giving me that flavor?
Sometimes, just having someone else cook for you makes all the difference
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:07 PM   #53
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The flavor comes from smoke particles made from burning fat, sticking onto the meat surface. During the cooking time, enough fat has to drip onto the heat source, be it charcoal, lava rock, steel plates, or whatever, and that heat source has to be hot enough to immediately burn the fat. As the smoke rises, it sticks to the meat, and couples with the meat flavor, and any seasonings to give you that smoky flavor you crave. As stated before (an it doesn't really matter how thick your patty is), I cover my grill to insure there is sufficient smoke to flavor the meat.

I have seen people place aluminum foil over their cooking grate, poke holes in it, cook the burgers on the foil, and wonder why their burgers tasted like they were cooked in a pan on the stove-top. I've seen grills that ,when a breeze comes by, moves the smoky air away from the cooking food so that the smoke never touches it, again resulting in bland burgers.

You don't have to add egg, or any seasonings except a little salt. Any other seasonings are up to personal taste. But seasonings, additional ingredients, and flavorings won't give you the grilled flavor. Only smoke produced from burning fat can do that. Make sure you burgers get a healthy dose of smoke and you will get the flavor you're looking for.

Oh, and just so's ya knows, it's that same burnt fat smoke that gives grilled chicken, grilled pork, grilled ham, grilled steak, grilled venison, grilled fish, etc., that same flavor component. Even grilled veggies pick it up if there is butter, or some other fat dripping onto the heat source.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #54
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Maybe those magnificent backyard burgers were cooked on grills that weren't as clean as they might be - had the drippings from previous burgers and steaks, adding to the smokey flavour.
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:13 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by mborner View Post
Thanks, Chief, but personally, in my opinion, 1/4 inch thick (and even thinner in the middle) is just too thin for me. I make my burgers a minimum of 1/2 lb and a 1/4" 1/2 lb. burger is almost the size of a dinner plate.
I've read everyone's response in this thread and I appreciate all the input, tips, ideas, and processes. For me, it boils down to a very simple question that still haunts me.

Why is it that I've had the most magnificent backyard burgers, bursting with bold grilled flavor, that have had absolutely nothing special done to them (basically just beef thrown on a grill) yet I have never been able to recreate it on my own grill? IOW, why isn't my grill giving me that flavor?
Where are you buying your meat? This may be an issue.

I buy organic meat which does make a difference. I buy free range chickens, etc.

It's only an idea, yes?

With love,
~Cat
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Old 12-03-2013, 09:15 PM   #56
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Oh! You can also have good sirloin and other steaks ground up for hamburgers as well. I do this also.

With love,
~Cat
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Old 12-04-2013, 06:47 AM   #57
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Where are you buying your meat? This may be an issue.

I buy organic meat which does make a difference. I buy free range chickens, etc.

It's only an idea, yes?

With love,
~Cat
Hi Cat, and thanks.
For the most part I buy my ground chuck at Publix but I've experimented with fresh ground everything including sirloin, chuck, short rib, and even brisket.
When I grill rib eye steaks they turn out magnificent with all that flavor that I crave in a burger. So far, the best I can do is plain ground chuck with plenty of salt. I just throw it on the grill, close the lid for 2 to 3 minutes, flip once, close the lid again for 2 to 3 minutes and pull it off. They're good, just not great. This method is the closest I can get to what I'm looking for but it's nowhere near my goal of perfection.

They taste nothing like they smell when they're cooking, like my steaks do.
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Old 12-04-2013, 07:59 AM   #58
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Hi Cat, and thanks.
For the most part I buy my ground chuck at Publix but I've experimented with fresh ground everything including sirloin, chuck, short rib, and even brisket.
When I grill rib eye steaks they turn out magnificent with all that flavor that I crave in a burger. So far, the best I can do is plain ground chuck with plenty of salt. I just throw it on the grill, close the lid for 2 to 3 minutes, flip once, close the lid again for 2 to 3 minutes and pull it off. They're good, just not great. This method is the closest I can get to what I'm looking for but it's nowhere near my goal of perfection.

They taste nothing like they smell when they're cooking, like my steaks do.
If you live anywhere near Margate or Hollywood, you should try Penn Dutch Meats. I live in the Pines and go to the Margate location.
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:12 AM   #59
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Have you considered that you may be setting the bar too high? When you eat someone else's cooking, the atmosphere is different than in your own home. Also, as a rule, we tend to blend the food experience with enjoyment of good company, and good times. The smae meal cooked in a campground setting, even if cooked a little off (say the bacon is overcooked) still tastes better than when cooked perfectly in the home kitchen.

I sounds like you're doing everything right. It may be that you are simply your own worst critic. As an experiment, volunteer to cook half of the burgers at a get together, but on the equipment at the host's backyard. They cook the other half. Use the same methods you use at home. Watch what methods they use. See if you can discern a taste difference between their burgers, and your own. If so, try using their technique.

I know that I had a grilled burger in a restaurant, in Olympia Wa., that I have not been able to duplicate. It was a brilliant hamburger That tasted like grilled steak. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I understand your dillema and sympathize. I also hope you get it figured out, and are able to obtain the perfect technique for the perfect burger.

Seeeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:16 PM   #60
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If you live anywhere near Margate or Hollywood, you should try Penn Dutch Meats. I live in the Pines and go to the Margate location.
I work in Pines and live in Coral Springs. I've been to Penn Dutch several times. I've been to Westen Beef in Boca (highly rated), Doris' Italian Market, Whole Foods, and Fresh Market for good beef. I've stopped spending so much at boutique butchers and markets because it makes no difference in my burgers.
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