Tender is not an adjective I would have ever use to describe a hamburger. Flavorful, yes, but tender and delicate? However, mastering the perfect technique for grilling our grass-fed, dry aged burgers suggests the idea that burgers can be tender, luscious and filled with flavor.
There is nothing more disappointing than a “hockey puck” burger. This can happen if you dry out the burger by cooking it too long, but the biggest culprit may be how you formed the beef patty to begin with. The secret to creating a lusciously tender burger is to loosely pack it lightly with your hands, making sure it has a large surface area. You want the burger to be bound together, but just barely and not packed down. Think of a fish fillet: it holds together but needs to be treated very gently on the grill.
One pound of ground grass-fed beef can create 3 generous burgers or 4 smaller burgers. Using your hand to create the burger, place on a plate or tray and press down using two fingers to create a slight depression in the middle of the patty. This helps to prevent the burger from becoming round, and helps with cooking it evenly. I like to season the uncooked burgers with lots of freshly cracked pepper. (I serve them with Celtic sea salt so that guests can find their preferred seasoning level).
You will want to oil your grill and preheat it before you form the patties so that it gets really, really hot. We use a gas grill, which might be a foodie no-no, but on our working farm we make burgers several times a week and don’t have time to bother with charcoal. Not to mention the fact that we never know when my father is coming in when he is haying.
Keeping the grill at a high temperature, I grill the burgers for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and grill them for another 2 minutes, which creates a perfect medium-rare burger. This timing works well on our grill, but you will need to calibrate it for your own and your burger preference. Even a well-done burger using this method will be delicious!
Makes 6-8 burgers
Serves 4 hungry people
- 2 pounds of Spring Lake Farms grass-fed dry aged ground beef
- Celtic sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Preheat your grill to a high temperature and oil the grates to prevent sticking.
- Divide the meat into 6 or 8 portions depending on the amount of burgers your family or guests prefer.
- Take special care not to over handle the meat. Take a clump of divided meat, place on your outstretched hand and press down to create a loosely formed patty. I prefer a burger with as much surface area as possible, so I lightly form the patty to cover my whole palm (granted I have small hands). Place the patties on a tray, plate or cutting board. Using your two fingers, make a slight depression in your burgers.
- Season with freshly cracked black pepper.
- Gently place the burgers on the hot grill.
- Grill for 3 minutes, flip and grill for another 2.
- Place on a serving platter and let rest for at least 2 minutes. (Don’t let them get cool, though)
- This will result in a medium-rare burger but remember, cooking times will vary!