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Old 12-04-2013, 01:25 PM   #61
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Originally Posted by Chief Longwind Of The North View Post
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
Yea, I see where you are going with this. To eliminate the psychological aspect of it I had my wife grill the burgers once but it made no difference. I only did this because I thought my taste would be affected by breathing and reveling in all the grilling smoke. I found this to not be the case because it doesn't affect the flavor of my steaks one bit.

However, I seem to have exhausted every other posibility so I'm thinking I'm just nuts.
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Old 12-04-2013, 02:24 PM   #62
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In general, I find that using the cheapest ground whatever produces the best tasting burgers. :)
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Old 12-04-2013, 04:25 PM   #63
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I have a little different theory for tasty backyard burgers. Use lower heat and slow down the cooking process.

I use hickory lump charcoal and a couple hickory chunks for smoke. Ceramic heat diffuser between the hot coals and the grill. I try for a grill level temp of around 350. This is plenty of heat to get that brown crispy outside without burning or charing. Cooking time is a bit longer to medium...about 20 minutes.


Forty's Seasoned Burgers
INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 pounds ground chuck
1/3 cup old fashioned oats
1 egg
2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper
1 teaspoon Adolph's meat tenderizer
1 package French Onion Soup Mix

INSTRUCTIONS

Mix all ingredients together with Kitchen Aid until well combined.
Form into patties and hold in refrigerator for at least one hour
Grill to internal temperature of 170

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Old 12-04-2013, 05:42 PM   #64
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After watching minions of men stand over their grill, they love to put their raw burgers directly over the burning coals. The fat drips down, a flare up of flames, press that burger and let more juices escape. A recipe for disaster. Like the man said, Low and Slow! Just like you do your ribs.

And if ATK has taught any of you a lesson in Weber grilling, it is to have the vents in the proper place and open to the proper amount for that smokey flavor. Why is it you can make killer ribs, but have so much trouble with a simple burger?
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Old 12-05-2013, 07:19 AM   #65
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Low and slow. Now there's an idea! I'm willing to give this a try to see what I can come up with. Would I do this with the lid up or down? Would I put the burgers on a searing hot grill then turn the heat down and close the lid? Everything I've read says that burgers should go on and off the grill quickly and that the grill should be blazing hot, searing the burger on both sides then removing.
I had a thought and realized that I get my best burgers at a burger joint. Well, I've never seen a restaurant with a grill lid, much less, a closed grill lid!!! Man, those pro grills get hot, even with no lid. My grill, an S310, has almost no heat with the lid open, even with all three burners on hi.
When I tried cooking a burger on the grill with an open lid I got the grill piping hot. When the meat hit the grill the sizzle and smoke lasted a few seconds then the loss of heat came. 10 minutes later the juices finally appeared on top of the burger letting me know to flip. After the flip, basically, nothing happened, it's like the burger just stopped cooking. No smoke, no sizzle, barely any heat. It took another 20 minutes to cook the other side of the burger.
If you're thinking something is wrong with my grill, it is essentially brand new. I've checked all three burners and there are no clogs anywhere. All three light up fine and full. The grill just doesn't have anything to retain heat, like lava rocks. Once the lid is open, it's all over.
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:35 AM   #66
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Low and slow. Now there's an idea! I'm willing to give this a try to see what I can come up with. Would I do this with the lid up or down? Would I put the burgers on a searing hot grill then turn the heat down and close the lid? .
Lid down to collect the smoke. No searing heat necessary. Just low and slow will do the trick.

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Old 12-05-2013, 11:06 AM   #67
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Beef is not my meat of choice and I rarely eat a hamburger. At home, I will only eat them cooked on a Geo Foreman grill and they have to be at least 85/15 beef. And I blot it with a paper towel after it's cooked. The thought of fast food burgers gives me the chills. There is one restaurant we go to that has a delicious angus burger. I order that about once a year, when nothing else sounds appealing to me.
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Old 12-09-2013, 01:44 PM   #68
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I realize trying to describe the char grilled flavor is difficult. everybody seem to have their own ideas of what it is. I've found a great way to decribe to all of you my "missing" flavor.

Okay, take 100% ground chuck, that's all, add nothing to it, not even salt. Form it into a patty and throw it onto a blazing hot grill (I got mine to 700 degrees one time) and close the lid. When it's ready to flip, go ahead and flip it.

Here goes!!

Using your finger, swipe some of the melted beef fat off of the spatula that you just used to flip your burger and give it a taste.
That, friends, is the exact flavor I'm after. See, on my grill, that flavor is pretty weak. It's on my burgers, but barely. I can enhance it greatly with salt, but overall, it's a fail on my part.
When I grill rib eye steaks, the wonderful smell of charred beef fat carries through to the meat and it's fantastic. I get no such love with my burgers. My favorite burger joints have that flavor and I've seen so many people do nothing special to their grill or their beef and the results are truly stunning. Since it is a flavor I covet in my burgers it just blows me away that some people get it right with amazing results without even trying. My parents have a weber gas grill and their burgers are worse than mine. They taste like they were baked in an oven with no grilled flavor whatsoever. What is causing this?
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Old 12-09-2013, 02:02 PM   #69
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Based on your description, I believe you are cooking the burgers over too hot a grill. I'd guess it's hotter than when you cook a ribeye and those taste great.

When I cook burgers on a gas grill, I set the dials to between half and three quarters after heating the grill at full blast. The burgers take a little longer to cook but the flavor builds on the outside. Fat melts off and flares up, flavoring the burgers further. You have to salt the meat on both sides before cooking.
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:41 PM   #70
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Based on your description, I believe you are cooking the burgers over too hot a grill. I'd guess it's hotter than when you cook a ribeye and those taste great.

When I cook burgers on a gas grill, I set the dials to between half and three quarters after heating the grill at full blast. The burgers take a little longer to cook but the flavor builds on the outside. Fat melts off and flares up, flavoring the burgers further. You have to salt the meat on both sides before cooking.
Andy, thanks for the tip, I will give that a try.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:31 PM   #71
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I use a Webber Kettle Charcoal grill and have had so much smoke flavor that the burgers were inedible, as the concentrated smoke flavor is bitter. But at that time, I cooked them as I normally did, except that I added extra fat to the grill. I cook with the vents half-closed, which cools the fire and allows me to cook the burgers through, without scorching the meat surface. Smoke is trapped inside, and the particulate flavors the burgers. The same thing happens with my chicken, and other meats as well.

Andy and the others have, I believe given you the solution to your burger problems.

Now, go out there and conquer your grill.

Seeeeeya; Chief longwind of the North
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:31 AM   #72
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Thanks for the encouragement, Chief!
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:18 PM   #73
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In general, when I grill anything over direct heat I do not use a cover over the grill, regardless of what type of grill I'm using. I do get a hint of that grilled flavor which I think I'm getting from the combination of drippings hitting the coals and from all the gunk build up on the grate. :)
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Old 12-20-2013, 07:44 AM   #74
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Okay, so I put together some pictures of my process so that hopefully I can get some good feedback. I'm doing this because this is important to me. It's been bugging me for years and I'm determined to get to the bottom of this.

We'll start with the meat. 1 lb. 80/20 ground chuck from Publix.
this is the beef that I usually use but I've tried everything under the sun.

You can tell I don't overwork the meat as you can still see the grinding pattern in the patties.



This is my grill. Its a Weber Genesis S310. It's not quite a year old but it has had plenty of use and I wouldn't hesitate to call it fully seasoned.




Just before throwing the burgers on the grill, I liberally salted both sides with kosher salt.



Onto the grill they go at about 500 degrees. Immediately after tossing the meat on the grill I turned the heat down to low/med and closed the lid. Every time the temperature approached 500 I lifted the lid to cool it down some.


After about 5 1/2 minutes, they looked like this. There were no flare up issues. These babies are ready to flip.



Nice crust!



This is the final seconds on the grill. Total cooking time was 5 1/2 minutes on one side and about 5 on the other.



Fresh off the grill. By the way, these things smelled awesome!!





So. Simple, right? How was the end result? They were "as expected". They were good, tasty, even, but they were not great. Salt is key. I can tell that without salt they would be very bland. Now, I've had plain old ground chuck on a grill that just exploded with char-grilled flavor, even without salt, so I'm still at a loss. I'm going to refrain from using the word "smokey" as I think that it's too vague. "Char grilled" or the flavor of charred beef fat is what I'm after.
I'm currently experiencing two extremes.

1. My Mom and Dad can't make a tasty burger on the grill at all. They taste like ground beef baked in an oven. I cannot tell they were cooked on a grill at all. They have a 10 year old Weber gas grill.

2. My friend (actually, a friend of a friend) that can take can take ground chuck and a gas grill and put the the two together and somehow, this truly amazing burger emerges off the grill, bursting with flavor. He does nothing special to the grill or the meat and he adds nothing.

Why the two disparities? I'm beginning to think it's the grill, itself. Maybe there's some element that's missing in my grill that my friend has, I don't know. Maybe he uses lava rock, maybe he has a cast iron grate and mine's stainless. My Dad's grate is porcelain coated. ??


On with my never ending quest.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:00 AM   #75
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I mix my meat with finely chopped videla onion, A-1 steak sauce, and "Tony Sacheries cajun spice blend" and 1 egg.

On my father's last birthday before he passed, mom said he could have anything...he requested my burgers. It made a son very proud.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:03 AM   #76
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The pictures tell the tale. That burger has to be hit with smoke. Those "flavorizer" bars in your grill have to be hot enough to create smoke when drippings fall onto them. That smoke is what flavors the burger with that char-grilled flavor you're looking for. When you raise the lid, enough smoke should rise out that if you don't back away a bit, just for an instance, it would choke you. I don't see any smoke at all. No smoke, no char-grilled flavor.

I know people who make wonderful food on gas grills. I'm not one of them. Though I've never had an issue creating smoke, I tend to burn just about everything on a gas grill. That's why I use charcoal. I know it's hot enough to make smoke, and if I don't want so much smoke, I use indirect grilling techniques. I control the temperature with the air vents. I just plain works.

My friend, I wish I could tell you what you need to know. But I'm just not familiar enough with your type of grill to be of assistance. Andy, and many others on DC use gas grills regularly. Hopefully, they can diagnose the problem.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North.
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:25 AM   #77
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It has to be hardwood charcoal, direct heat, fatty beef that is handled just to form the patty, salt and pepper only!
The only exception is when I make Ollie Burgers!
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Old 12-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #78
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The pictures tell the tale. That burger has to be hit with smoke. Those "flavorizer" bars in your grill have to be hot enough to create smoke when drippings fall onto them. That smoke is what flavors the burger with that char-grilled flavor you're looking for. When you raise the lid, enough smoke should rise out that if you don't back away a bit, just for an instance, it would choke you. I don't see any smoke at all. No smoke, no char-grilled flavor.

I know people who make wonderful food on gas grills. I'm not one of them. Though I've never had an issue creating smoke, I tend to burn just about everything on a gas grill. That's why I use charcoal. I know it's hot enough to make smoke, and if I don't want so much smoke, I use indirect grilling techniques. I control the temperature with the air vents. I just plain works.

My friend, I wish I could tell you what you need to know. But I'm just not familiar enough with your type of grill to be of assistance. Andy, and many others on DC use gas grills regularly. Hopefully, they can diagnose the problem.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North.
Thanks, chief. Maybe I should have taken some better pictures. After I opened the lid to get the shot I kind of waited for the smoke to clear for a clearer image. I usually grill with all three burners on high and the smoke just barrels out of the grill. This time I slowed it down a bit and although there was smoke, it wasn't in abundance, as usual. I was hoping the longer cooking method would impart more of the grilled flavor but that didn't happen.
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Old 12-20-2013, 09:43 AM   #79
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I think you could be cooking them too slowly. Four or five ounce burgers shouldn't take 10.5 minutes to cook unless you want them VERY well done.

I use a gas grill too. I heat it up full blast to clean off any residue from the last use. I make burgers from a pound of ground beef. A 10 ounce burger for me and a 6 ounce burger fro SO. I like mine medium to med. rare and SO likes it medium well. I season the burgers and spray one side with oil to make movement on the grill easy.

When I'm ready to cook, I turn the heat down to almost half way. Call it medium high. I put the burgers on and close the lid. Two minutes later, I turn them 90º. Two minutes later, I flip them. Three minutes later I take mine off the grill. A minute later I take SO's off the grill.

I think you need the higher heat to aggressively melt off the fat so it vaporizes and adds flavor to the meat. A little flame is good too.
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Old 12-20-2013, 10:18 AM   #80
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I think you could be cooking them too slowly. Four or five ounce burgers shouldn't take 10.5 minutes to cook unless you want them VERY well done.

I use a gas grill too. I heat it up full blast to clean off any residue from the last use. I make burgers from a pound of ground beef. A 10 ounce burger for me and a 6 ounce burger fro SO. I like mine medium to med. rare and SO likes it medium well. I season the burgers and spray one side with oil to make movement on the grill easy.

When I'm ready to cook, I turn the heat down to almost half way. Call it medium high. I put the burgers on and close the lid. Two minutes later, I turn them 90º. Two minutes later, I flip them. Three minutes later I take mine off the grill. A minute later I take SO's off the grill.

I think you need the higher heat to aggressively melt off the fat so it vaporizes and adds flavor to the meat. A little flame is good too.
Thanks, Andy, you've been a great help. The burgers you see in the pictures is a total of 16 oz. I tried to get them both exactly 8 oz. but one may be slightly smaller than the other. These were cooked to my liking which is med/well. They were pretty juicy. I've reached a point where I've tried everything including med/rare all the way to burnt to a crisp. I've tried grilling them with the lid up on low for 45 minutes all the way to on and off a blazing hot grill in 4 minutes. As far as cooking methods and processes go, I've tried everything. I've tried nearly every grind of beef to no avail.
I'm almost certain it's my grill. My last grill was the same way. I wish I had my friend's "secret" grill. If he does a cookout again I'm going to watch like a hawk and ask lots of questions, although, I'd feel silly because he really doesn't do anything "secret" or out of the ordinary.
I can just imagine him thinking "Dude, don't you know how to grill a burger?"
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