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3 Tips for Better Burgers, from The Food Lab’s J. Kenji López-Alt

3 Tips for Better Burgers, from The Food Lab’s J. Kenji López-Alt

Hawaiian Teriyaki Burgers from PlateJoy

J. Kenji López-Alt’s Serious Eats column, The Food Lab, has given us dozens of handy tricks to improve mealtime staples. He’s searched for the best way to grill shrimp, the quickest path to an enchilada, and the most flavorful carne asada.

To celebrate his new book, we’re sharing our favorite 3 Food Lab tips for better burgers, to boost your next backyard BBQ:

  1. Keep it cold. Storing your meat in the fridge just before you plan to cook keeps the fat in the burger, not on your hands.
  2. Shape first, salt later. Adding salt directly to your patty mixture before you shape it, López-Alt says, dissolves the proteins in the meat and draws out moisture, creating a denser, tougher burger. Generously seasoning the patties just before cooking will leave you with a tastier result.
  3. Thermometer? I barely even know her. López-Alt recommends a meat grinder for hard-core burger enthusiasts, but the real equipment you want to have on hand a simple meat thermometer. This will help you get your burgers to your desired doneness every time (without breaking up a precious patty).

Use these guidelines as cooking times for your burgers:
120°F – rare
130°F – medium-rare
140°F – medium
150°F – medium-well
160°F – well-done

Ready for burger night? Check out some of our favorite recipes on PlateJoy:

  • Apple and rosemary pork burgers with sweet potato wedges
  • Bacon burger salad with dijon dressing
  • Hawaiian teriyaki burger with pineapple and vegetable chips
  • Kimchi burger with sriracha mayo