Geoffrey Zakarian’s Top 10 Tips for Making a Better Burger

by in Food Network Chef, Recipes, March 21st, 2013

Geoffrey ZakarianWhen it comes to building the ultimate hamburger, Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian is doing things a little differently. Forget about everything you know to be true about barbecuing, seasoning and flipping the meat. Chef Zakarian is introducing an all-new method that will wow you with its simplicity and tried-and-true results, so much so that you won’t be tempted to return to the dry, flavorless patties of burgers past. Chatting with fans at a recent event at the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, he demonstrated his flawless technique and shared can’t-miss tips that are easy enough for the home cook to master — and you don’t even have to wait until grilling season to try them.

10. Cook hamburgers on a cast-iron skillet indoors, instead of on an outdoor grill.

9. Opt for corn-fed ground meat that features about 25 percent to 30 percent fat.

8. The ideal blend of freshly ground meat includes equal parts chuck, rib eye and either flank steak or brisket.

7. Let meat come to room temperature before you cook with it.

6. Preheat the skillet until it’s screaming hot — only then should the meat be added.

5. Barely form the meat into a patty — don’t overwork it.

4. Don’t press down on the patty with a spatula, as that’s what causes the meat to lose its moisture through juices.

3. Only flip the burger once.

2. Stay away from all hamburger mix-ins like onions, bacon and spices — those are for meatballs.

1. Season the burger with salt only once it’s on the pan and after it has finished cooking, as mixing it in beforehand will make the burger dry.

Browse Food Network’s favorite burger recipes for more hamburger inspiration.


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Comments (8)

  1. beachcomber25 says:

    great article those are some great tips.

  2. Rory says:

    Totally disagree with this nonsense first the ratio used in restaurants is 60/40 second a grill is great to use. I put fois gras in the middle of my rib eye burger and it is sublime….

  3. Skye says:

    Great tips, but totally disagree with not putting add-ins. Nothing better than a burger with minced onions, some Worcestershire, and a little tamari mixed into the meat to give it some extra flavor.

  4. Harley Quinn says:

    Zakarian is amazing, and so are these tips. I'm still going to be putting additions into my burgers, though. I love some minced onion and garlic in mine. :)

  5. nonparieldolls says:

    Glad he didn't recommend 90% lean. I buy ground chuck that's ground fresh every day, it stays nice and moist. I do use a spice rub on my burgers (sliders, actually), it enhances the meat without obscuring the flavor. Add-ins are fine, whatever you like. Just might want to precook things like green pepper or onion a little before additng them. Not too appealing to bite into your burger and have half-cooked veggies in there.

  6. Queenie says:

    Thanks for your great tips. I will use it the next time I make burgers.

  7. Steve says:

    Each to his own with additions. I personally like Worcestershire. I will try screaming hot iron skillets on the grill. Who wants that smoke in the house while they're charring.

  8. Joanne devaul says:

    Why do they allow people with long hair hanging in their face to cook. Now watching an episode with a man with hair hanging. Episode with gummy bear snake in the basket. If anybody worked that way in a restaurant, they would be fired on the spot.

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