The gregarious host of The Burger Show serves up his fool-proof method for making a perfect patty this summer. Fire up that grill!
Prime grilling season
It’s that time of year. When charcoal grills get dusted off and hauled out to the beach or the park and, let’s be honest, a bunch of patties get scorched. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Alvin Cailan – host of The Burger Show, the sizzling hot series you need to binge right now – has some easy-peasy suggestions for taking your grilling game to the Next Level.
Let’s talk meat: Cailan prefers a coarse grind and suggests going for a minimum 20 percent fat content. “Ask a butcher to grind a chuck roast, or a combination of chuck and brisket,” he said. “Definitely go for a USDA choice or above grade. The cheaper beef just doesn’t hit the spot.”
Brilliant seasoning: “A lot of people think salt and pepper is just fine, but for a burger that you remember, one that has a great crust, the secret is the spice rub. Burger enthusiasts who want the edge have said they can’t believe how much they love the combination of herbs and spices and garlic we use.” Cailan collaborated with Spiceology to create a new line of burger spices, but more about that in a minute.
Final prep steps: Once you form those patties – at least five ounces, he advises, for the charcoal grill – give those puppies a generous sprinkle of seasoning. “Season ‘em like you mean it,” he said. And then, let them sit for 30-45 minutes. “That’ll give you a little dry brine action without making the meat tough,” he said.
Are we cool?
Once those briquets are glowing hot and ready, it’s time to move them to one side of the grill. You remembered to bring the tongs, right? Leave half the grill without coals. That’s the cool side. Cailan said he gets the best results cooking on the cool side first, placing the lid on top. “Cook those patties two to three minutes on each side, until the temp hits between 60 and 80.” You brought that digital thermometer, right?
Then, flip those patties over to the red-hot side for a sear. “You’ll sear those 30 to 45 seconds on each side… until a crust forms. Then, move them back over to the cool side for another couple minutes. You’ll get a patty that’s super juicy with a great crust.”
Warm those buns
When asked about toasting buns, Cailan laughed and said he’s been to many cookouts where burned buns have been a major bummer. He’s come up with an easy fix. “I just sit my package of sealed buns on top of the cooler and let the sun warm them up. No suntan lotion needed!”
When it comes to cookouts, Cailan’s a fan of keeping things simple. “I’m not always big on tomatoes on burgers except in the summer. Slice them, season and put them in a container. I’m also a mayo guy, so tomatoes, mayo and cheese – whatever you like, I love American cheese – and you’ve got the perfect summer burger.”
Taking it on the road
Cailan’s getting ready to head out to sample some of the nation’s best char-grilled burgers this summer, with stops in Chicago high on his to-do list. He first got fired up about the char-grilled burger after discovering The Chuckbox in Tempe, Ariz., an old school spot that’s a favorite among families.
He and his team are cooking up details for Season 10 of The Burger Show and the tour might play a role. He’s also working on getting Umami Burger dialed in after getting on board that Southern California chain earlier this year. “It’s kind of like a ‘65 Mustang. It’s beautiful, but it needed some work.”
And then there’s the collab with Spiceology. Here’s what consumers can look forward to trying when those blends drop on July 7 in a collection dubbed SZN:
Burger SZN – Start any burger (or really anything) with this solid foundation of salt, pepper and garlic and Cailan’s personal level up touch of ground Mexican oregano. This super savory blend brings dishes to life, including burgers, cauliflower steak, potatoes, pasta, rice dishes and hearty vegetables.
Fries SZN – This blend brings side-dishes to the center of the plate. With salt, pepper, garlic, cayenne and a touch of sugar at its core, this blend has sweet and savory scents and leveled up flavor from celery salt. Besides fries, this blend elevates shrimp, edamame, sweet potatoes and nuts.
Chicken SZN – Inspired by the flavors of Filipino street chicken, this blend is pungent in the best way possible. The slightly nutty, sweet and peppery taste of this blend comes from Annatto seed, an ingredient often in Filipino cooking. Try it on chicken, noodle soups, bok choy, pork and in dressings.
Everything SZN – Paying homage to Cailan’s Filipino roots, this seaweed and mushroom-based all-purpose blend hits all 5 core tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and umami). Try it on burgers, mushrooms, soups, noodles and fish.