Burgers

73 Comments

My husband cooks one thing – burgers. And I happily let him because they’re that good. In fact, people come from miles away to eat his burgers.

I didn’t grow up eating burgers and I’ve never cooked them myself. Even though I was born and raised in the U.S., I don’t crave hamburgers and fries like most. But when it comes to my husband’s burgers, I’m first in line.

We planned to have them on Memorial Day recently. Then I got the brilliant idea to document what he does in order to share his recipe. He said he didn’t mind if I followed him around with my camera, but that “there’s really no recipe.” But there is.

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Here’s what he does.

Before the burger-making process begins, he adds hot water to a 32-ounce cup filled with hickory chips.

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The ground beef he uses is grass fed, 80% lean, 20% fat.

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He makes the burgers all 8 ounces each, and 1″ thick.

The patties are formed by gently pressing the meat into shape. He presses a “well” on the tops of the patties.

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A generous amount of Worcestershire sauce and coarsely ground pepper are added. Let them sit at room temperature until it’s time to begin grilling.

Then he starts the fire. He will only use charcoal for grilling, and he’s patient with the fire. Neither of us like “charred” or “flame-kissed” burgers.

Only after all of the charcoal is grey, after about 45 minutes, he spreads out the coals and sprinkles on the soaked hickory.

The patties are placed on the grill carefully and cooked for 7 1/2 minutes on that side.

The lid is propped open so that the fire doesn’t get too hot, yet the hickory smoke stays inside the grill.

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After the burgers are turned over, more Worcestershire sauce and pepper are added.

After another 7 1/2 minutes, the burgers are ready to eat.

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I like mine with lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, ketchup and yellow mustard, but they would be fantastic any which way!

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So, I don’t really know what makes these burgers so delicious. I think the hickory smoke is part of it, the Worcestershire sauce and pepper are part of it, using real charcoal, plus cooking only to medium-rare is also part of what makes these so good.

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73 thoughts on “Burgers

  1. Oh my – I can almost smell the hickory, and now I’m craving a burger or two! And how perfectly shaped they are, I have to try to make mine look like that…

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  2. If you are first in line I’m 2nd. Wow, those burgers look awesome. Your husband knows his burgers. Love how carefully they are made and the tutorial is terrific. 4th of July this is how I will make them. I rarely eat hamburgers but I do love a good burger from time to time.

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  3. such a great idea to use hickory chips when cooking burgers, we have only done that with fish. this burger looks perfectly cooked, I can see why it is such a treat for him to bbq.

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  4. These burgers look great, Mimi! I am not a burger person either, but looks like I would love these. I think that besides the hickory smoke/charcoal and medium rare that you already mention, it is also important that the burgers themselves contain nothing but beef, and not too lean. No breadcrumbs, eggs, or onions to mess up the beef flavor.
    P.S. Looks like briquettes instead of charcoal in the photo. Briquettes burn longer but not as hot as charcoal, and seem preferable for this recipe as you’re cooking them 7.5 minutes per side. With real charcoal, they would burn when cooked for that long. Both briquettes and charcoal are better than gas!

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      • I’ve looked into it and apparently it is called “lump charcoal” in the US. Unlike briquettes, lump charcoal has irregular shapes (instead of all briquettes having the same shape and size) and is made of pure wood without additives. It is easy to recognize if you look in the bag. If you can’t find it in the store where you’d normally shop for the briquettes, you could order it online.
        This photo shows lump charcoal on the left-hand side and briquettes on the right-hand side.

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  5. Wow, now there’s a burger if ever you saw one. Your husband is surely a great hamburger maker. I like the idea of the hickory chips too. The medium-rare is one I would probably go for too, otherwise it tastes too well done in my opinion. I’m not much of a hamburger person myself, but do enjoy the occasional treat from time to time. Thanks for sharing :)

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    • I don’t know if it’s just that my mother never made them or what. I was born and raised in the US, but I am just not enamored with burgers like most Americans.

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  6. “A 32-oz. cup”….that wouldn’t be a Joe’s cup, would it? We were going to do all brats and sausages for the Fourth. You have me rethinking that…

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  7. Simply gorgeous! When I read step one, soak hickory chips, I was sold. How generous to share this recipe. I agree with real charcoal all the way and being patient while the fire reaches perfection. Really impressed by the simplicity of the recipe, yet it’s unique and has beautiful flavours…goes to prove that sometimes less is more!

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  8. Those burgers look fantastic. How wonderful that your husband is able to do such a good job of making burgers! I love the thickness of the pattie. In Oz we add beetroot and often pineapple and sometimes fried eggs to our burgers! xx

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  9. We like ours cooked medium rare too, and yes on the Worcesershire! Along with Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb. Sometimes we use mesquite or hickory charcoal lumps that Stefan showed you, but it’s usually just propane (at home) and regular charcoal (at our coastal RV property). Thanks for sharing Mimi!!!

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  10. Now that’s how you make a great burger. I think you’re right – combination of the hickory smoke, real charcoal, and the Worcestershire sauce. I think the only thing I would add is a slice of bread and butter pickle on top.

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  11. That does look like one amazing burger! We don’t use charcoal any longer, so I hope this can translate, in some way, to a gas grill.

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    • I’m sure it does, but I would have no idea. I’m not allowed to own and use one. But we both dislike “burnt” burgers, and I know he really lets the heat die down before even putting on the burgers.

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  12. I don’t guess I’m enamored with burgers but I love a good burger. I don’t eat burgers out alot because they don’t taste the same. My dad was a butcher so he didn’t feel a good cut of beef needed much seasoning except salt and pepper. If he used anything else it would be worcestershire sauce.

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