With a focus on fine meats and seafood, and how to cook them, our series “A Cut Above” will guide you to become the ultimate grill master. Learn how to grill the perfect hamburger with these five simple steps from Nick Evans of Macheesmo.
One of the things I’m most looking forward to this summer is relaxing with family and friends in our backyard and grilling some really good burgers. I recently tried some of the Wagyu Beef Burgers available from Harry & David, and let me tell you: They’re deliciously juicy and flavorful. Plus, they’re individually wrapped, so you can store them in the freezer until you need them. Here are my quick tips for improving your burger game this summer.
Prep the patties
When making burgers, I like to keep the seasoning simple by using only salt and pepper. This is usually enough to enhance the robust natural flavor of the Wagyu beef burgers without overpowering them.
One pro tip: make a small divot in the center of each patty with your thumb. As meat heats, it tends to contract. If you start with a perfectly flat patty, it will pull in toward the center as it cooks, and you’ll end up with a football-shaped burger. The divot gives the patty some room to shrink, and you’ll be left with an evenly sized burger.
Regardless of whether you are using charcoal or gas, you should grill your burgers over direct heat to give them a nice char. For a medium burger, cook a one-third-pound patty for 3-4 minutes per side. If you prefer medium-rare (pink in the middle), then shoot for closer to three minutes each side.
If you’re not sure how well your burger is cooked, use an instant-read meat thermometer. A rare burger will register around 120° F in the direct center of the patty, while 140 F will get you a medium burger, and 160° F will be for one that’s well-done.
In the last few minutes while the burgers finish up, place your buns on the grill until they’re toasted, about 1-2 minutes, to give them a bit of texture.
I’m an American cheese fan through and through, but you can use other cheeses as well. I like to add a dollop of Harry & David Pepper and Onion Relish on top of my cheese. This gives a subtle sweetness and umami to the burger.
I also love to make a quick burger sauce with mayo, mustard, and chopped pickles. The sauce gives the burgers some extra fat and moisture, and the pickles add a bit of sharpness to each bite.
Wagyu Beef Burgers
- 4 Harry & David Wagyu Beef Burgers (thawed)
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- Neutral oil for oiling grill grates (corn, peanut, canola, or safflower oil)
- American cheese
- Harry & David Pepper and Onion Relish
- Beefsteak tomatoes (sliced)
- Red onions (sliced)
- Brioche burger buns (toasted)
Quick Burger Sauce
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons minced dill pickle
- 1 teaspoon pickle juice
- Preheat grill. If you are using charcoal, prepare grill for direct heat grilling. If using gas, preheat to medium-high heat.
- While the grill heats up, season burgers with salt and pepper on both sides. Use your thumb to press a small divot into the center of each patty.
- Make the quick burger sauce by mixing the mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, minced dill pickle, and pickle juice in a bowl. Set aside.
- Clean and lightly oil your grill grates using a rag with some neutral oil. Use tongs to run the rag over the grill grates to make sure you don’t get burned.
- Add burgers to the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes. One minute before the burgers are done, add cheese and Pepper and Onion Relish.
- Grill buns for 1-2 minutes.
- Assemble burgers with quick burger sauce, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. Serve immediately.