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Ok.....How do they do it?

Since many of you are "cooks" not just BBQers I have a question.[p]Over the last yr, since I became more inviolved with BBQing and now smoking I have tried to cook a great, beefy, BBQ tasting hamburger. I tried chili sauce, worthershire (sp?)sauce, just salt and pepper, teriyaki sauce, peanut oil, the list goes on and on as does the list of meats. [p]Yet, when I go to a stinkin' chain restaurant like TGI Friday's the other night my wife ordered a hamburger and it had a great, great taste!! What do restaurants do? Is it the quality of meat, the ovens, or do they all have a spice mixture that provides such a great beefy, grilled taste? The better question is how do we match it?[p]Howard


  • Howard,[p]Simple..Seasonings aside because they do vary.....High heat and a well seasoned grill/cooktop are the keys to replicating what you refer to as restaurant quality......Having said that I believe any burger or cut of meat I cook at home is twice as good as anything I've ever had at Fridays...

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,411
    Wow. You must make burgers at least 4 times as good as Howard's!
    What is your secret?
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Nature Boy,[p]I slap that cow upside the head before I take him to market...[p]Honestly, I use a little more fat in my ground chuck than I probably should...healthwise that is....

  • Hi Howard,
    I learned that the beef is a HUGE part of it.... I buy ground chuck from my local butcher --never a chain supermarket.
    Before I throw them on the BGE I use some seasoned pepper and salt, or sometimes Allessi grilling blend, or whatever I am in the mood for actually.
    Sear about 2 minutes the first side at 6-700*. Flip over and add onion, shrooms, cheese, etc. Then shut down the egg and let the burgers "dwell" for about 10-15 min. for a med. rare burger.
    They have THE BEST smoke flavor & the juice pours out :)
    Have fun,

  • Howard,[p]This is really wierd. I've had the opposite experience. I now longer eat hamburgers in restaurants because the burgers on the BGE have spoiled me. [p]Here's what I do. I get ground chuck from a butcher who does his own grinding (around here we have farmer's markets and those guys do stuff like). if you can't get reliably ground chuck - try doing it yourself. [p]I take the ground chuck home. Maybe I put a tbs of dried minced onion in there. Sometimes I put an egg in there. If I have leftover parsley or an interesting garden herb, I put some of that in there. But usually I don't put nothing in there. I just form the patties.[p]After I form the patties I shake some Dizzy Dust on there. Any of them will do, but I usually just shake on the one for beef and roasts (whatever he calls that one). I let the burgers sit out on the counter while I fire up the BGE.[p]I let the temp get to 500º or somewhere close.[p]I go get the burgers off the counter. I walk to the BGE and put the burgers on the grill. I close the lid and wait four minutes (did I say I make my patties at least an inch thick?). After four minutes (sometimes three), I lift the lid and flip the burgers. I close the lid. I cook the burgers for four more minutes. I lift the lid and take a look. If I don't see good grid marks on the burger I take a temp reading. If the temp is low 120º, I close the lid and close the lower vent. I close up the upper vent thingie. I let it sit like that for two minutes, maybe three. [p]I open the lower vent. I take off the upper vent thingie. I open the dome very carefully about a half-inch. I let the flashback thing happen - or not. I open up the lid completely. I flip the burgers. they should have a sheen to them. Hard to describe, but the burgers should be kinda shiny and 'bursting with flavor' or something. Anyway I take them off the grid and let them rest for maybe five minutes. While there are resting I toast their buns (yeah, I know that sounds funny). I take everything inside and feed folks. [p]Most times, most folks say they can't burgers like that anywhere else. They say that the burgers are moist, flavorful with a great crust. [p]I dunno, maybe I haven't been to good restaurants lately. I'll have to try a McDonalds tomorrow - not...[p]
  • PakakPakak Posts: 523
    I don't see that anyone has mentioned this yet ...[p]IMO, many people make the mistake of using too lean a mix of hamburger. Restaurants do NOT use lean hamburger, in my experience. Try using about 80-85% lean. I usually use 80% but had some that SAID it was 85% last night and they were perfect. I suspect there was more fat than what the claim was, however.[p]Remember, juicy = fat, pure and simple.

  • aka Mr. Earl ,
    i second your commotion. . . i do pretty much the same as you. . .sometimes, i mix a tablespoon full of bbq sauce into the meat as well. ..we really like dizzy pig "cowlick" rub (i think this is the same one you were trying to remember). ..the burgers are so good, we don't even put cheese or buns on them anymore.. . i've started calling them nakedhonkinburgers cause they are big honkin burgers and we eat them naked. .. .

  • Pakak,[p]EGGaxctly....just as I said before.........
  • mad max beyond eggdome,[p]So that's not because the burgers get you honkin'?
  • aka Mr. Earl ,
    nahh man, its the chili that makes me honk!! heeeee

  • fishlessmanfishlessman Posts: 20,908
    thick steaks are better than thin ones and i think the same goes for burgers. i buy 3 pounds of the fattiest burger i can find and make 2 huge burgers out of it. shape about 1.5 inches thick to fit a hard crusted french roll. i hollow out the rolls to make it easier to eat. when forming these huge patties i will insert up to a half stick of butter insid , and form a channel down the middle of the burger to hold greese while cooking. salt, pepper, cowlick and then chill the patties inthe freezer for a good 20 minutes. grill at 450 on the castiron grill with the flat side up to get wide sear marks. cover with cabots seriosly sharp chedder. can say ive never had one like it in a restaurant. light eaters can split one. also, i only flip once and monitor temp with the maveric

  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,411
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,411
    Is your name, by chance, Joel Ferman?
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
    Facebook: Dizzy Pig Seasonings
  • Howard,
    I slice open some Johnson's maple breakfast sausage, peel off the casing and mix with the meat, (I use fairly lean ground meat) add a small amount of BBQ sauce and either a rub or a tiny bit of onion and chopped bell pepper. (or whatever else looks good at the time) Keep working on it. [p]Cheers,

  • Howard,
    along with what everyone else mentioned. .. try throwing some jack daniels chips in the fire when you cook the burgers. .. and to reiterate what some other said, flip em only once, and never, NEVER press them with a spatula. ..even a well done burger on the egg will spit juice when you bite it if you don't press the juice out of it. . ..

  • Nature Boy,[p]'s David...does Joel make good burgers??...LOL
  • Howard,[p]I do understand and appreciate your question..fact is i asked myself this the other night at outback with respect to the blooming onion...I've tried these several times at home but can't come close to replicating the end product as the blooming onion...sometimes in fact it does APPEAR to taste better and different in a restaurant...I know from having been in the business at one point in life it also simply tasted and felt better to have it served to me rather than having to cook it...and again that grille or griddle sees a lot more burgers in a day than your egg so all that flavor accumulates....[p]Back to the burgers just make 'em big, make sure there is adequate fat content and cook them over a well seasoned hot grate...
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    i dunno what anyone else wrote, but buy the fattiest, cr^ppiest meat you can.[p]this "95% lean" stuff is a total waste of money.[p]if i could make a hamburger that was 95% beef fat and 5% meat, you'd think you died and went to heaven.[p]fat is flavor.

    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • bigarmsbigarms Posts: 136
    Ferman burger recipe:[p]Recepie.....
    I start with the leanest possible ground beef, and try to make burgers that are approx 4-5 inches in diameter and 1.5-2inches thick. I buy the beef in bulk, so it comes in 4 managable rectangular bricks per package. I take one brick out and cut it into 4 equal sized pieces which make up the correct sized patties. I then take the 4 pieces and do the following to each one, individually.[p]I first sprinkle a pinch of garlic powder on each patty. (I have added small hunks of fresh garlic in the past will excellent results)
    I then give 1 twist of white peppercorn shavings (from a small pepper mill) to each patty. (This is optional.... I suggest for the first attempt, don't as the rub of your choice probably includes pepper)
    I then take about 1-1.5 teaspoons of minced white onion and put on each patty.
    Next I add a small pinch of dried rosemary to each patty.
    Then comes 1/2 tablespoon or so of finely chopped apple (preferrably fuji or gala)
    I like to apply a nice coating of rub on top of the concoction. (I can't really give you an exact amount here, as I do it differently depending on the type of rub and the people I am cooking for. I have found that Dizzy Pig's Cow Lick rub.... my favorite combo is chicago steak rub mixed with Durkee grill creations "kansas city style" steak seasoning)
    I then add around 1.5 slices of minced bacon (thick cut hickory smoked)
    This last step is optional, and I recommend only doing it on one of the burgers to try.... I add a dime sized amount of molasses, or honey, just to keep everything together really well, and to sweeten it up a bit.[p]After you have added all of the ingredients work them into the meat (sometime's i'll add a small splash of sake, red wine or soy/terayaki sauce, depending on mood) and make the ground beef into a ball. then place it on a cutting board and form into a smooth cone. Then pick up the cone and turn it over (nose of the cone side down) and press down..... I find this method creates the firmest "hold" of the beef and allows you to flip the burgers, and pull them off the grill easier.[p]I have experimented a lot with this recepie, and it always comes out well. I have a poleynesian style garlic version, a terayaki version, an itallian version, and even a japanese version (with rice). [p]Enjoy!
    -Joel Ferman

  • Howard, i'm no expert but you may want to try adding a couple tablespoons of soya protein powder and one teaspoon of beef broth powder mixed into a little water or milk then add it to your meat mix. you can then add the balance of your spices but don't add salt the beef broth powder has enough in it.[p]we use soya protein when making sausages and it works wonders in retaining moisture. if you don't have soya protein use dried skim milk in its place[p]reg

  • Crab legCrab leg Posts: 291
    mad max beyond eggdome,
    ifin you are gonna eat them neked, watch out for grease droppins. It can leave a mark, trust me. lol

  • Crab legCrab leg Posts: 291
    Nature Boy,
    Freakin hilarious. I am rolling here.

  • Crab leg,[p]MEEEE too. LOL. I miss that guy.[p]- Mike

  • Howard,[p]I have tried chuck, round, and sirloin at varying percentages of fat. My favorite is 2 parts 80% chuck, 1 part 90% sirloin (both Certified Angus Beef) tossed lighly in a bowl, and then rolled in wax paper until about 3" in diameter. Slice and press down for desired thickness and size. Dust with Cowlick and Adobo to taste. Cook at 500 - 600. Even on a weber these burgers are better than any commercial burger I've ever eaten.
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