Warm weather weekends are all about grilling on the barbecue. Whether you’re having guests over at the cottage or simply cooking a delicious meal in your backyard, use these tips for the tastiest hamburger patties that rival those of any restaurant.
1. Safety first. You don’t want to risk food poisoning, and raw beef can be contaminated with bacteria, such as E. coli. So, keep your raw meat cold and don’t leave it sitting in the car after a shopping trip or on a counter when you get home. Refrigerate or freeze it as quickly as possible. Place the beef in a clean container or a plastic bag that will hold any leaking juices.
2. Use fresh beef. For the juiciest burgers, use freshly bought beef no more than one to two days after buying it. Freeze any meat you don’t intend to cook within this time. The safest way to thaw beef is in the fridge—never at room temperature.
3. Make a thumbprint. After forming a thin patty, use your thumb to make a deep groove in the centre – this will prevent it from puffing up in the middle and help it cook evenly. Season simply with salt and pepper.
4. Flip once. This step is crucial – flip too early and the burger will fall apart; flip too late and the outside will get charred; flip too many times and you’ll lose juices and flavour. Wait for a crust to form on the grill-side down before flipping.
5. Use a digital thermometer. You can’t tell if meat is done and safe to eat by looking at the colour alone. Insert a food thermometer through the side of the patty and keep cooking until the internal temperature is 71°C (160°F).
Find more information at canada.ca/foodsafety.