Published July 1, 2000.
Burgers often come off the grill tough, dry, and bulging in the middle. To our surprise, making a shallow depression in the center of the patty was the first step toward a great burger.
The typical backyard burger is tough, chewy, and dry, with at least half of the crust torn off and left stuck to the grill.
We wanted a moist and juicy burger, with a texture that is tender and cohesive, not dense and heavy. Just as important, we wanted a flavorful, deeply caramelized reddish brown crust that would stick to the meat, and we wanted a nice flat surface capable of holding as many condiments as we could pile on. Given the vagaries of a live fire, we knew it would be a challenge to hit all of these marks.
Start with chuck ground to order, with a ratio of fat to lean of 20 percent fat/80 percent lean. Form 6-ounce portions of meat into patties that are 3/4-inch thick, with a depression in the middle (to 1/2-inch) to keep the burgers from puffing up when they cook. Cook the burgers over a medium-hot fire for just 2 to 2 1/2 minutes per side, taking care to lightly oil the grill grate to prevent sticking.list of recipes