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How to Cook the Perfect Burger

Eataly Magazine (June 28, 2019)
Although burgers are decidedly an American tradition, we Italians can't help but embrace this iconic grilling staple – especially when it's prepared to perfection. Read on to discover our chefs' top tips for cooking the perfect burger at home!

1. PICK YOUR PATTY

It goes without saying that meat is the most important part of any burger, so choose the best quality you can find! Ground beef is always a classic American favorite that not even we Italians can argue with. For an extra juicy bite, select grass-fed Prime Black Angus ground beef that's seasoned simply with a little salt and pepper.

Feeling adventurous? Kick things up a notch our high-quality, specialty burgers like our pancetta patty ortruffle beef burgers blended with fresh black truffles from Urbani. Ask our butchers about what's in stock, or make your own at home!

2. COOK TO PERFECTION

The amount of time you should cook a burger all depends on three things: size, cooking technique, and how well you want it done. Follow our cooking technique guide below!

To cook an 8-ounce patty to medium-rare:

GRILL for 10 minutes, about 5 minutes per side.
PAN FRY for 4 minutes, about 2 minutes per side.
BROIL for 8 minutes, about 4 minutes per side.

3. LET IT REST

The best things in life are worth waiting for and burgers are no exception. When ground meat is cooked, structures called myofibrils that contain most of the juices in raw meat contract and expel some of their juice. Let your burgers rest for about five minutes after cooking before transferring them to buns. This will allow the myofibrils to reabsorb some of the juice, resulting in a more succulent, flavorful burger! Plus, this gives you time to get all our toppings ready.

4. TOP IT OFF

Now that the hard work is over, all you need to do is choose your toppings. While there's no wrong way to top a burger, here are a few elements that we think make a burger top notch.

PANE

Choose a bun that's soft, but also compact and thick enough to support the meat. If the bun is too thin or soft, the juices from the meat will just make it soggy. On the other hand, if it's too thick and crusty, it will be hard to bite into. Our favorite is a toasted brioche bun, both for texture and flavor. When toasted, it becomes strong enough to support a juicy burger and releases a delicate yeasty, sweet aroma.

You also want to make sure that the bun is the same size as the patty so that each bite has both a taste of the bun and the burger.

FORMAGGIO

Cheese on a burger is optional, although we highly recommend it! If adding a formaggio, choose one that will melt easily, such as fontina, asiago, or cheddar. Soft and crumbly cheeses, like blue cheese and taleggio, also work well here. Slice or crumble the cheese beforehand and add it to the burger right as you are pulling it off the grill so that it softens and melts onto the patty.

CONDIMENTO

Burger condiments are designed to complement the umami flavors of the meat, either by brightening them or matching them. For a classic yet elevated, use high-quality fancy ketchup (we love the yellow datterino kind), whole grain mustard, or homemade mayonnaise. For an Italian twist, try drizzling on a balsamic glaze or adding a dollop of pesto or truffle sauce. The sky is the limit!

IL CRUNCH

Last but not least don't forget to add a little crunch! When it comes to burgers, the texture is just as important as flavor. Top it off with a slice of crispy bacon or pancetta, a crunchy pickle, or a fresh piece of iceberg lettuce. It will give each bite an interesting mouthfeel and consistency.

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