While any home cook can throw a patty in a skillet, it's only the studied burger enthusiast who unlocks the real secrets.
Enter Jamie Schweid, executive vice president/co-butcher of Schweid and Sons, a purveyor of ground beef that was founded in the late 1800s on New York's Lower East Side.
Here are some of the little-known burger tips he taught us:
1. Always lay the burger cheese-side down on the bun.This way your bottom bun won't get soggy, and your burger will taste better.
2. Don't just toss the patty on the grill.If cooking outdoors, use a grill mat or camp griddle to ensure a nice sear and keep your patty from sticking or losing its shape.
3. Forget that frying pans even exist.If cooking on a stovetop, a cast-iron skillet is the best way to get a restaurant-style crust on the patty's exterior.
Cheese on bottom, as God intended.
4. Fat is your friend.For a juicy, delicious burger, opt for meat that has a 75/25 lean-to-fat ratio.
5. Always preheat and pre-oil your cooking surface.Pro tip: Cook some bacon and use the fat as your oil!
6. Don't be afraid to leave the hood up.Closing the lid on your grill does not necessarily aid in cooking the burger, only in melting the cheese (that is, if you're putting the cheese on top, where it definitely should not be).
7. Your patty should weigh no more than 8 ounces.Any larger than that will jeopardize your ability to cook the burger to a perfect medium rare.
Don't go overboard on the size of your patty.
8. Cold hands form the best patties.Try rubbing a piece of ice on your palms just before shaping. Wash your hands with soap and water before you get started.
9. NEVER put a burger on a non-toasted bun.The juices will run out and ruin it. The only exception to this rule is sliders, which should be served on squishy or potato rolls, with cheese on the bottom, of course.