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How to Craft a Perfect Burger

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Photo by Andre Baranowski

At Barb’s Butchery in Beacon, owner Barb Fisher knows her way around a meat grinder. And since she “eats cheeseburgers all the time, and they’re the best,” we asked Fisher to share her top tips for keeping your burgers juicy, flavorful, and creatively topped.

– 1 –
Don’t Be Afraid of Fat

“Making sure you have fat in your meat is important. I like an 80/20 [ratio of lean meat to fat in a] blend. You need some fat so that, when it melts, it stays in the burger. It’s the flavor. I like a fresh grind. I really think that makes a big difference. The only seasoning I use is salt. With grass-finished beef, you use more salt than you think.”

– 2 –
Never, Ever Squish a Patty

“Don’t compress the meat. Don’t make it like a meatball. If you squish the meat, you’re emulsifying it, and it won’t leave any room for the air pockets you want the fat to render into [to keep it juicy]. You don’t want to use one of those patty-makers. It’s better if you hand-form them.”

– 3 –
Everyone’s Got an Opinion on Grilling

“I’m sure everybody would argue the issue with me. I’ve cooked burgers on high-heat grills, on low [over] charcoal, and on all different grills. Personally, I’m a big fan of high heat. It cooks faster, and you have to pay more attention, but I’m an instant gratification person.”

– 4 –
But There’s Only One Best Bun

“I like Martin’s because I think potato buns are magic. They absorb stuff, but they don’t get soggy. They’re not flaky; they’re not dry. They keep well.”

– 5 –
Topping Snobs Have Less Fun

“I have not found anything savory that [I dislike] on a burger. My favorite is cheddar, pickles, and ketchup. I’ll add some bacon every now and again. Different kinds of cheese are amazing. I like avocado and a green sauce that we make that is like a jalapeño mayo. Our jalapeño-cheddar burgers fly out the door. I’ve never tried to put fruit on a burger. That might be my personal line, but I can’t say somebody else won’t like it.”

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