by Beth Lipton
Making a fantastic burger is an important life skill. A great burger is sublime, a bad one is wildly disappointing. So how can you make sure yours is in the “awesome” category? All you really need to make the best burgers are good-quality meat, a gentle touch—make sure you don’t overhandle the meat, which can leave you with tough burgers — and a generous amount of high-quality salt.
Salt is the Secret to Making the Best Burgers
You probably already know that you need to season your burgers with salt. But there’s a bit more to it than that. Here’s what to know.
1. Use the right salt.
Iodized salt, which is what many of us have in our kitchens, is highly processed and has the minerals stripped out; plus, it often has anti-caking agents added. (Iodine was added to salt beginning in the 1920s, when iodine deficiency was common; it isn’t anymore.) In terms of taste, iodized salt can leave behind a slight bitterness.
Instead, use an unrefined mineral salt. My favorite salt is Redmond Real Salt, a mineral salt harvested in Utah. It has just the right level of saltiness and has all of its minerals intact.
2. Salt right before cooking.
The next thing to keep in mind is when to salt your burgers. The best way to season is to salt the meat right before cooking. Mixing the salt into the meat or salting in advance draws the moisture out of the meat and will leave you with dry burgers that don’t hold together as well.
3. Use enough salt.
Finally, remember not to be shy with the salt. We’ve had it drummed into our heads that salt is bad for us and we should avoid it, but the fact is, there’s a big difference between seasoning your food well with high-quality unrefined sea salt and consuming lots of low-quality sodium through refined salt and preservatives in processed food. Along with seasoning, salt emphasizes foods’ own flavors, so a well-seasoned burger will taste meatier and have more umami than an under-seasoned one.
Ready to get grilling? Now all you have to do is grab your favorite condiments and get ready for the best burgers ever.