This recipe is excerpted from The Outdoor Cook by America’s Test Kitchen. Click here for more information and to purchase the book.
Why This Recipe Works: There’s one surefire way to get a burger with a craggy charred crust, a rich beefy taste, and an interior so juicy and tender that it practically falls apart at the slightest pressure: Grind your own meat. A food processor makes it easy; just trim excess fat, cut the meat into ½-inch pieces, freeze it for about 30 minutes to firm it up so that the blades cut it cleanly, and process it in small batches to ensure an even grind. Steak tips (sometimes called flap meat) are the way to go here: They’re beefy, decently tender, and require little trimming. The final trick to these burgers: After pressing a divot into the patties to prevent burger bulge, freeze the patties briefly before grilling. By the time they’ve thawed at their centers, enough crust has developed to hold together the tender interior. When tossing the salt and pepper with the ground meat and -shaping the patties, take care not to overwork the meat or the burgers will become dense. Serve with your favorite toppings. You will need a 13 by 9-inch disposable -aluminum roasting pan.
Serves 4, Total Time 5 minutes, plus 1 hour freezing
- 1½ pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch pieces
- 1¼ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
- 1⅛ teaspoons pepper, divided
- 4 hamburger buns, toasted on grill if desired
- Place beef chunks and butter on large plate in single layer. Freeze until meat is very firm and starting to harden around edges but is still pliable, about 30 minutes.
- Place one-quarter of meat and one-quarter of butter cubes in food -processor and pulse until finely ground into pieces the size of rice grains, 15 to 20 pulses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to baking sheet. Repeat grinding with remaining 3 batches of meat and butter. Spread mixture into even layer on baking sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat, fat, or butter.
- Sprinkle ¾ teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon pepper over meat and, using 2 forks, gently toss to combine. Divide beef mixture into 4 portions, then gently shape each portion into 3/4-inch-thick patty about 4½ inches in diameter. Using your fingertips, press center of each patty down until about ¼ inch thick, creating slight divot. Transfer patties to platter and freeze for 30 to 45 minutes.
- For a charcoal grill sing skewer, poke 12 holes in bottom of disposable pan. Open bottom vent completely and place disposable pan in center of grill. Light large chimney starter two-thirds filled with charcoal -briquettes (4 quarts). When top coals are partially -covered with ash, pour into disposable pan. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes. For a gas grill turn all burners to high; cover; and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
- Clean and oil cooking grate. Sprinkle patties with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Grill patties divot side up (directly over coals if using charcoal), without moving them, until browned and meat easily releases from grill, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip burgers and continue to grill until browned on -second side and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for -medium-rare) or 130 to 135 degrees (for medium), 4 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer burgers to buns and serve.