4th of July Grilling Recipes and Tips

July 2, 2009 How can I make sure my burgers will turn out tasty and perfectly grilled, and turn it up a notch with a twist on the standard burger?

-To me, a Fourth of July barbecue is all about cooking hamburgers on the grill.

-In my new cookbook, Weber's Way to Grill, I outline five things you need to know about how to grill burgers:

-First, ground chuck is better for burgers than ground round because fat makes burgers juicy. I recommend an 80/20 mix.

-Second, to avoid a pretty dull-tasting hamburger, make sure that the meat is mixed throughout with at least salt and pepper. Other ingredients, like Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or grated onions, will improve the taste and juiciness of your hamburgers.

-The ideal thickness for a raw patty is ¾ inch. If it's any thinner, it's likely to overcook and dry out before it develops a nice crust. If it's much thicker, the crust might turn black and unappetizing before the center is fully cooked.

-Burgers tend to puff up in the middle as they cook, making it awkward to add toppings. A good trick for avoiding this problem is pressing a little indentation into the top of each raw patty with your thumb or the back of a spoon.

-Lastly, you should only flip each burger once, and only when it's ready to flip. To test, slip the edge of a spatula underneath the edge of the burger and lift it very gently. If the meat sticks to the cooking grate, try again in a minute. When you can lift the edge without sticking, it's ready to flip.

What's a unique burger recipe for the Fourth of July barbecue?

- One of my favorite burger recipes is a California Burgers with Guacamole Mayonnaise recipe from Weber's Way to Grill.

- To prepare the guacamole mayonnaise, mix the avocado, cilantro, lime juice, garlic and onion together and season with salt. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside (mayonnaise can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead).

-Grill the chiles over direct high heat until the skin is blackened on all sides, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove from the grill and let cool completely.

-Peel off and discard the blackened skin, and then remove and discard the stem, seeds, and ribs. Chop them into a ½-inch dice.

-In a large bowl, gently mix the ground chuck, chiles, salt, and pepper, and shape into 4 patties of equal size and thickness, about ¾ inch thick. This will help the patties cook evenly and prevent them from puffing on the grill.

-Using your thumb or the back of a spoon, make a shallow indent about 1 inch wide in the center of each patty so the centers are about ½ thick.

-Grill the patties over direct high heat until cooked to medium, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once when the patties release easily from the grate without sticking.

-During the last minute of cooking time, toast the buns, cut sides down, over direct heat.

-Top the burgers with the mayonnaise and serve warm.

During final 6:57 end of show hit:

Here are two other burgers from my cookbook, the Maple-Planked Turkey Burgers and the Brie and Shallot Parisian Burgers


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