How to grill a restaurant quality hamburger at home

Have you ever been disappointed by a hamburger made at home?  You know, you’re expecting it to taste like something fresh of the flat top of the local dive bar, but it taste like… nothing.  There are some things you can do to make restaurant quality burgers at home.

Restaurant Quality Hamburger

If you’ve been around a while, you know I prefer a burger off a flat cast iron griddle versus off the regular grill.  I also do enjoy a stuffed burger once in a while too.  This post is all about grilling burgers.

Better meat?

Most people would say in order to have the best burger, you have to start with the best meat.  I’m pretty sure that dive bar isn’t using the best of the best.  Given that, better meat does taste better.  I just don’t think it’s as important as one might think.

Seasoning counts:

When seasoning a burger, use plenty of black pepper.  Burgers need a little bite.  As far as salt is concerned, stay away from table salt.  It’s too, um… salty?  You really want to use finely ground Kosher salt or sea salt.

One patty or two?

This one is somewhat debatable but I prefer 2 thin patties versus 1 thick one.  They cook faster and there’s more surface area for searing.  Thick patties also tend to look more like meatballs than burgers after they come off the grill.

Hot zone!

When grilling your burgers, set your grill up for a 2 zone fire.  This gives you a hot zone and a safety zone.  Cook your burgers over the hot zone for 3-5 minutes per side.  If you notice they are cooking a little too fast, move them over to the safety zone to finish cooking at a lower temperature.

Butter your buns:

Take the extra time to slather some melted butter on the inside of your bun.  Put them on the grill face down for 10 to 20 seconds until they are lightly toasted.  Watch them closely because they go from golden brown to scorched in seconds.

It’s all in the details:

Use a good melting cheese on your cheeseburgers like Colby jack, or Swiss, or Havarti. Grill some onions of any variety to put on top.  A little hit of mayo on the toasted bun adds a nice background flavor.  Lettuce and tomato are always nice.  I like to finish off with a couple of bread and butter pickles.

What’s missing from your burgers at home?  Chances are this list covered it.  What are your secrets to grilling the best burger at home?  Did I leave anything out?

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What to cook for your 4th of July Celebration

FireworksThe Fourth of July is the pinnacle of the outdoor cooking season.  It’s a national holiday, a day off work for many, and a good excuse to fire up the grill (or smoker, or fire pit, or campfire…). There are always some questions about what to cook for a 4th of July celebration.  Here are a few of my favorites recipes from the past couple of years to get those gears turning:


Lunch or dinner

Side dishes


Take some time to relax, hang out with family and friends, and celebrate our country!  Just please to it safely and responsibly.

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Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dutch Oven Red Potatoes

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Sometimes the right side dish can make the meal.  These cheesy bacon ranch dutch oven red potatoes are one of those side dishes.  There are only 4 ingredients and it goes together quickly.  Besides, what could be bad about potatoes, … Continue reading

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What to do with leftover pulled pork

When I fire up the smoker, I want to get my money’s worth so I fill it up.  Last time, I needed about 1 and a half pork butts for the cook I did for the Relay for Life team.  I smoked 3 pork butts and 2 beef chuck roasts.  The question arises:  what do you do with leftover pulled pork?  I came up with a short list.  If there’s anything you’d like to add, please leave a comment below!

Chinese Five Spice Pulled Pork

Things to do with leftover pulled pork

  1. I’ve never witnessed leftover pulled pork so I wouldn’t know.  :)
  2. BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for a week
  3. Pulled pork tacos
  4. Enchiladas
  5. Empanadas
  6. Pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches
  7. BBQ pulled pork nachos
  8. BBQ pulled pork pizza
  9. Cuban sandwiches
  10. Homemade baked beans

There are plenty of other things to do, just take a look at Pinterest!

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Pulled pork using the BBQ Snake Method

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I had the privilege of cooking some pulled pork for a Relay for Life team last week.  I had more meat too cook than I had room in my vertical smoker, so I thought it would be a good opportunity … Continue reading

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