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Photo: Mark Shaw
Make the best patty that you can.

I’m going to throw a general sweeping request out there: Don’t buy pre-made burger patties. The state of ground beef is dire enough as it is; don’t give those meat abusers the privilege of shaping the future of your barbecue. Instead, head to your local butcher up to two days before your burger conquest and request two (or more) pounds of coarsely ground chuck with an 80/20 meat to fat ratio. It may seem like a lot of fat, but plenty will cook off. What would you rather have: a somewhat delicious/somewhat like a hockey puck burger with slightly less fat, or a really awesome burger you get full credit for?

Feel free to season the beef with salt, pepper, onion powder, a little cayenne or anything else that comes to mind, just be sure not to overmix or you’ll end up with tough patties.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 2 pounds of freshly ground beef for 6-8 burgers, depending on thickness
  • A shallow, round container the same diameter you want your patties
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clean, willing hands