How to Grill Burgers Like a Celeb Chef
Burgers are the culinary heart and soul of summer. Even though we eat them year-round, there's just something about biting into a juicy patty smothered in sauce on a hot day that never gets old. When it comes to grilling great ones, these kitchen connoisseurs know best. Whether you're a burger purist or a person who loves crazy toppings, heed the advice of these chefs when aiming to impress your BBQ guests, then get ready to turn up the heat.
"Make sure the grill is really hot before you start, because you want a really good sear on the outside of the burger. When you put it on the grill, let it get golden brown and slightly charred before attempting to turn it. If a crust hasn't formed and you try to flip the burger, it's going to stick to the grill and fall apart." — Chef Bobby Flay of Gato, Mesa Grill, and Bobby's Burger Palace (Photo via Bobby Flay)
"Condiment sauce is not only crucial but a rite of passage these days. Ours provides a deep punch of umami thanks to a combo of mayo, ketchup, mustard, cream cheese, fish sauce, and burnt onion." — Chef Luke Venner of Elm (Photo via Elm Restaurant)
“Smoke a burger or other meat to get an incredible depth of flavor, and then reverse-sear it to get that beautiful caramelization. Pair that with grilled cauliflower.” – Chef Timothy Hollingsworth of Otium for Traeger Grills (Photo via Getty Images)
"I recommend a ketchup and Japanese mayonnaise to dress the bun. As for beef, when cooking for friends, I prefer straight chuck 80/20. Keep the patties thin so they cook quickly, and pair the chuck with a nice cheddar, yellow mustard, and a potato bun. Lettuce, tomato, and raw onion are always welcome here." — Chef John Fraser of The Loyal and Nix (Photo via Dillon Burke)
"It’s all about the seasoning. We have a lamb burger on the menu at NoMo Kitchen that we season with Za’atar, a traditional eastern Mediterranean spice blend that contains marjoram, thyme, sesame seeds, and sumac — sometimes mint and oregano too." — Chef Jesse Olson of NoMo Kitchen (Photo via NoMo Kitchen)
"The home cook should be spending more money on their meat, ensuring that it’s from a high-quality butcher. You should also purchase a digital thermometer [so] that your protein is cooked properly. Through monitoring the temperature, you’ll be more confident when grilling." — Chef Geoffrey Zakarian of Point Royal at the Diplomat Beach Resort, The Lambs Club and The Water Club at Borgata (Photo via Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort)
"A spray bottle [allows you to] glaze your meat with sauce. It goes on so evenly using this technique. If you’re grilling vegetables to go with your burgers, utilize the same marinade to meld the flavors." — Chef Michael Schulson of Harp & Crown, Sampan and Independence Beer Garden (Photo via Independence Beer Garden)
"Don’t be afraid to throw on things other than burgers on your grill such as vegetables, fruit, bread, [or] haloumi cheese. Use yogurt instead of mayo for a healthy substitute for toppings on our burgers or a dip for chicken. To kick up flavor without a lot of calories, try international sauces and toppings such as chimichurri, Mexican salsas, kimchi, or English mustard." — Chef Judy Joo of Jinjuu (Photo via Korean Food Made Simple)
"A pro tip that not everyone knows but makes all the difference: Toppings don't always go on top. Tomatoes always go on top of the burger and the lettuce always goes underneath the burger so it can catch some of the juices and stop them from seeping through the bun." — Chef Michael Symon of Mabel's BBQ, Angeline, and B-Spot Burgers (Photo via Getty Images)
"When cooking the burgers, paint one side with a smear of Dijon mustard. It gives the meat a very unique and delicious flavor." — Chef Josh Capon of Lure Fishbar, El Toro Blanco, and Burger & Barrel (Photo via Burger & Barrel)
"English muffins were great subs for buns in my house growing up. You could always just cook a burger, then make grilled cheese with that cooked burger inside. Adding additional fat to burgers is another smart move. An easy ratio for adding butter to burger buns is 10 percent of the burger's overall weight, so an eight-ounce patty equals one tablespoon butter." — Chef Brian Loiacono of Bistrot Leo (Photo via Getty Images)
"Take a break from the traditional beef burger and supplement your summer BBQ with a salmon burger. Fold in capers, shallots, dill, and Dijon mustard to freshly minced salmon to create a flavorful and fresh alternative to the all-beef patty. Salmon, being a healthy fatty fish, cooks much like a regular burger and has the same juicy qualities that regular hamburgers do, while adding tremendous health qualities." — Chef Mark Jeffers of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe (Photo via Brit + Co)
"Elevate a good quality mayo with freshly chopped garlic, parsley, and black pepper. I like to use brioche, because it's buttery but sturdy enough for the weight of a burger. Grilled burger buns slathered with a garlic and herb aioli really [take] a basic to the next level." — Chef Ashley Eddie of Santina (Photo via Brit + Co)
"Skip the meat, and go for the beans! At Purple Carrot, we do a better bean burger out of kidney beans, walnuts, and rolled oats." — Chef Andrea Nordby of Purple Carrot (Photo via Purple Carrot)
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Kelli Acciardo is a travel, fashion, and beauty writer who spends most of her time in NYC, when she's not traveling around the world. Obsessions include: viral dog videos, spicy margaritas, the perfect metallic bronze eye shadow, and a great bathrobe. Her work has been published in Brit + Co, Bustle, Marie Claire, Refinery29, xoJane, InStyle, Seventeen, POPSUGAR, Women's Health, Teen Vogue, Martha Stewart, and Redbook.