Read these burger/BBQ tips, get some of our seasonings and perfect your own "Signature" burger.
Simply add *1-2 tablespoons of seasoning per 500g of chosen ground meat, mix well, form into patties and get ready for awesome! Here we go...
- Not too lean. We've found that low fat meats don't like to be over-worked as they make hard burgers when cooked. With beef we go for 90% meat for a good, juicy burger without too much tongue-furring fat. This also allows us to work the meat enough that the fibers bind together.
Stick with it. Try adding a little carb to your burger meat to bind it: a couple of well crushed Jacobs crackers work well, as does a small handful of crushed shreddies, bread crumbs and even bran flakes. Crush up small, work in well.
- Season. Next add your Spicewell's meat rub, spice blend or seasoning. First time you make your seasoned burgers err toward less, remember how much you used then adjust your next batch.
- Finely chopped. Anything you add to the meat keep small; onion, jalapenos, garlic, bacon etc otherwise your burgers will break apart when turning
- No more old school. Try it without egg as a binder. Use the heal of your hand to firm burger patties into shape. Keep moving the burger around in a circular motion in your opposite hand so you get even firming. Provided you don't have large pieces in your burger meat your burgers will stay in one piece.
Save it swelling. Making a depression in the middle of your burger can help prevent it puffing out of shape. Press down in the middle of the burger making a depression about 1/3rd of the burger thickness, and the diameter of a 50p. If your burgers do swell, try slicing them in half across the width and placing your cheese/onions/pickles/sauce between the halves
- Size it right. Too thick and it can take too long to cook your burger through. Too thin and it'll fall apart or slide between the wires of your griddle when you flip them. Try making the patties at around half an inch thick - 4 burgers from 500g should result in a burger that doesn't fall apart and that fits most buns nicely
- Time to chill. Leave your burger patties in the fridge for at least 10 minutes before grilling to help with binding and flavour infusion. Then give them 10 minutes to return to room temperature before cooking.
- Clean, oil, pre-heat. While your burgers chill, clean your grill. Heat it for 10-15 minutes, give it a good scrub, wipe down with a damp cloth, then, using a basting brush, oil with sunflower oil (any oil with a high smoke point)
- Temperature test. Want to grill something slowly or sear your meat fast and then cook it slow and low? Place your hand about 10cm above the grill, then in seconds, count how long it takes before you need to move your hand away. This will indicate the heat of your grill as:
0-2 secs: high • 3-4 secs: medium-high • 5-6 secs: medium • 7-8 secs: medium-low • Indefinite: low
You can do this heat test over different areas of your grill, remember the temperature zones and cook in the right ones for the perfect results. If you cook with charcoal, keep testing as you cook.
When cooking, a gas grill cook will typically have their lid down, charcoal cooks need theirs up.
Caramelised crust. This is important for getting juicy, nicely shaped burgers. Sear the meat on the hottest part of the grill, get a nice caramelised crust on each side, then slow the cooking by moving to a medium heat zone. A sprinkling of salt will help a crust develop.
- Too flipin' much. Top BBQ chef's insist that you only turn the patties once (for us, if you follow all the tips, we don't think it makes a big difference). Use a good all metal spatula and push down on the grill as you get under the burger. For the first side resist the urge to flip too soon; your burger needs to sear so it doesn't stick
Don't squeeze it. Avoid squashing the patty on the grill so you keep the juices in the burger. This is especially important if you're a frequent flipper. If you want those griddle lines in your burger make sure you have a clean, pre-heated grill.
- Perfectly cooked. The only way to reliably know without cutting the burger open is to use a meat thermometer (not very BBQ warrior but safest for your guests). An internal temperature of 71°C will do it for beef, go to 75°C for poultry. Remove the burger from heat and quickly insert the gauge in from the side of the burger.
- Haute sauces. Recently we've been experimenting with regular ketchup and adding our seasonings with great results. Squirt some ketchup in a small bowl and gradually add your chosen spice blend or seasoning, taste testing as you go. Cajun Ketchup, Blackmoor Ketchup and Mesquite Ketchup are our current favourites - have fun experimenting.
*Quantity - of course this depends on how strong a flavour you want to enjoy. If you've just acquired a Kg of rare breed Longhorn beef you may not want to drown the flavour out with half a bag of seasonings. Also, bear in mind heat levels of our blends, check the ingredients list and see how close chilli/habanero/cayenne etc are to the top. If there's a lot, the more you add to the burger, the spicier it's going to be.
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We're always on the lookout for top tips, recipes and so on. Please send us your comments here or via our social platforms. We may even send you a freebie if it's good stuff you're sharing?!