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9 Simple Ways To Beef Up Your Basic Burger

Making burgers at home shouldn’t be a stress-filled time where you’re constantly over-thinking about that goddamn miracle of a burger you had that one time that you could never, ever make in your own kitchen. And you’re probably right. Let’s face it: professional burgers have several x-factors going for them that are often difficult to replicate at home, such a seasoned grill, secret sauce, and meat source. But there are some tried and true ways of, at the very least, kicking your burgers up a notch. Or maybe even a few. Here are 9 easy ways to create a burger that is anything but basic.

1. Cold Hands 

The heat of your hands “melts” the hamburger, creating a sticky mess that makes it super challenging to make a killer patty. Dip ’em in ice water first and watch your patties shine!

2. Grate Your Onions

Don’t bother slicing those suckers. Grate them directly into the hamburger. The onion juices will incorporate nicely into the raw meat.

3. Put a Thumb on It

Place a thumb print in the center of the patty to allow it to fill up with flavorful juices while it’s cooking. It will stay moist by evaporating its own delicious meat nectar.

4. Put an Egg in It

So basic, but such a winning tip. Before cooking, cut out the middle of a patty (a cookie cutter, mason jar lid or cup works great) and crack an egg into the center, like a Toad In the Hole but with meat instead of bread.

4. Chill Out

Unlike a steak that cooks best at room temperature, you want your burger patties to be chilled before cooking to retain the firmness of the fat, like a stick of butter, so it won’t melt off when cooking.

5. Don’t Cook Frozen Meat

Thaw a patty in minutes, just like you would a steak, by placing the sealed bag it’s in between a pot of water and a sheet pan. After it’s thawed, stick it in the fridge to chill (see #4). It really is that easy.

6. Make a Cheese Dog

Who says your hamburger has to be in patty form? Press the meat into a rectangle, lay down some cheese strips, then roll that thing into a hot dog and serve it in a bun.

7. Get Fat

Skip the lean meats for fattier ones (looks for a ratio of about 80/20 —  lean vs fat) to make sure your burgers have flavor. If you’re that worried about calories (for one, you should’t be eating hamburgers), just make smaller patties. You’ll ultimately feel more satisfied anyway.

8. Don’t Flip Out

Patience, young Grasshopper. The burgers will lose their juices if you keep flipping them. Try to limit yourself to just a single flip. Otherwise, you risk having a dry burger.

9. Spice Is Nice

Add some jalapeños, red peppers, hot peppers or any kind of pepper to your raw burger mixture to add a little extra heat to your hot grill.

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