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Out of the Frying Pan
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Deluxe Hamburgers

My new Cooks Illustrated arrived the day we were grilling. As we were making my yummy burgers, I eagerly studied their suggestions for grilling the perfect hamburger. The secret is making a dent in the center of the patty to prevent getting those puffy grilled burgers that are more like a meatball than a patty. Cooks Illustrated tips are generally a sure bet, and, true to form, this one worked like a charm. Makes 6.


2 pounds lean ground beef
1 envelope Lipton's Onion Soup Mix (aka Lipton's Recipe Secrets)
4 big spoonfuls of prepared horseradish
1 tsp. ground mustard
1 Tbsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
6 buns


1/2 sweet yellow onion, sliced thinly
sliced cheese (American, cheddar, Monterey jack, Havarti, etc.)
1 - 2 tomatoes, sliced
pickle slices
ketchup and mustard
shredded lettuce

Crumble hamburger. Sprinkle all ingredients over. Using your fingers, lightly combine seasonings with burger. Don't overwork the meat or it will get tough.

Divide seasoned hamburger into 6 equal balls. Flatten each ball into a thick patty.

Using your three middle fingers, press a large, shallow dent into the center of each patty (see picture for detail).

Grill burgers over medium-hot coals for about 3 minutes, or until meat looks nice and browned and shiny (instead of just sweaty), and there are nice black grill marks. Flip burgers, layer with cheese, and cook an additional 3 - 5 minutes, depending on how well you like your bovine charred.

Meanwhile, toast buns on the sides of the grill just until grill marks appear. Serve finished burgers open-faced on toasted buns & let guests dress their own.


The indentation in the center of the burger helps fight the battle of the burger bulge.

Slap some cheese on after you grill one side. The cheese will melt while the other half grills, preventing the overcooking that occurs if you wait until after the burger's done.
source: Nikol Lohr

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Use lean ground beef when grilling. The lack of excess fat prevents those scary grease fire flare-ups.

In addition to help diminish poofing, the Cooks Illustrated burger dent makes for an evenly cooked burger. No more giant charcoal briquette with a raw, bloody center!

If you're feeling sassy, chop up a few jalapeños and add them when you season the meat.

We prefer crisp sweet onions, but you might grill the other half of the onion (in thick slices to prevent them from falling through the rack) as a nice condiment alternative. Put them on the grill right when you start the burgers, or they won't finish in time.


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