With it being bbq season all you grill masters out there are showing off some of your best grill techniques. However it’s happened to all of us at one point or another in our life. We shape the perfect burger patty, we slap that puppy on the grill and all of sudden it’s no longer burger shaped but rather it’s domed and kinda looks like a meatball in the middle. Sure the flavor is there but it’s hardly picture perfect. It’s puck-shaped and more than likely your solution is just to layer on a crap-ton of cheese and bacon praying no one will notice that their first bite all the way around is nothing more than bun, condiments and maybe cheese.
Where’s the beef?
The solution: Make the raw patties a bit larger in circumference than the hamburger buns and no thicker than 1″. Press the mixture together gently; overworking it increases contraction and makes the cooked meat dense and dry. Use your thumb to make a nickel-sized indentation, a little more than 1/4-1/2 inch deep, in the center of each patty. This prevents the burger from doming into a ball, keeping it flat and even as it cooks. Per Bobby Flay, making this serious indent in uniform-shaped does two things:
“One it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers – you know the ones I am talking about: all puffed up and bulging in the center. What’s the thing you want to do when you see one of those? Press it down with a spatula as it cooks. And what happens when you do that? All the juices run out and you end up with a compacted, dry hockey puck. So, two, making the indentation in the patties helps keep your reflexes in check and ensures juicy, moist burgers. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers.”