I thought I knew how to make the perfect burger. Now I know better.
I still stand by most of my principles — making your own blend of ground meat, a combination of ground sirloin and ground chuck; working and mixing the meat as little as possible — but I recently discovered a far better way to cook the burgers. I discovered it while attempting to grill tiny samples of a variety of ground beefs (I was searching for just the right blend and didn’t want to make lots of full-size patties).
As I pondered how I was going to grill tiny patties without them falling through the grates, I considered a cast-iron grill platter, a thick, flat sheet of cast iron. Bingo! We could grill the bite-sized burgers on the sizzle platter!
I placed the platter on the grill grate and started grilling the bites. They were all delicious. But the most exciting part was the rich, brown crust they all developed. The platter turned the gas grill into a flat grill, while the heat of the cast-iron surface deeply caramelized everything it touched. Because the lid was down and there were other foods on the grill, the burgers still got that smoky outdoor grilled flavor, but with a griddle-style crust.
It was the perfect cooking mashup of grill and griddle for my all-American cheeseburger topped with melted American cheese. Since that evening, it is the only way that I grill burgers — of any size!
The recipe below is my favorite burger these days. I traded in my aged cheddar cheese for old-fashioned American, which melts better and adds a layer of soft gooeyness on top of the crunchy caramelized crust of the burger. To me, this is the best condiment and I don’t need anything else except maybe pickles, which I layer on the bottom bun so that the cheese and the top bun stick together and become one.
Of course, you can add any of your favorite condiments and toppings, but try this minimalist burger at least once.