Top six summer grilling tips

July 15, 2009 5:29:27 PM PDT
Grill your burgers right this summer with six grilling tips from a local favorite hangout.

The Counter Burger's Six Tips For Grilling:

  1. Don't be afraid of fat. Choosing a grind that is too lean will produce a burger that is dry and lacks a great beef flavor. Choose a grind with a lean to fat ratio of 80/20. Don't forget that not all of that fat remains in the burger - the reason flare-ups occur is because the fat is dripping out of the burger.

  2. Choose a great product with a course grind. Great product starts with fresh chuck and either corn or grass fed depending on your preference. Both have different flavor profiles that appeal to different people. The Counter uses corn fed because in blind taste tests, our customers prefer the rich beef flavor that a corn diet provides. Also, grass fed beef has a slightly gamier flavor. As for the grind, a course grind will provide more even and faster cooking and a better finished texture because the patty is less dense. It chews more like a steak than a patty.

  3. Forming the burgers. Don't handle the meat too much. By spending too much time handling the burgers, your body temperature will melt the existing fat in the meat and change the way it cooks and tastes. In addition, don't squeeze it too much; this defeats the course grind. Use a gentle hand and watch out for cracks that will only get worse as the burger cooks. As for the size, the width of the burger should be about ¼ inch beyond the size of the bun but still have at least 1-1.5 inches of thickness.

  4. Salt and pepper are a burgers best friend. Use enough salt and pepper so you can see a light dusting layer just before the meat goes on the grill. Salting the meat too far in advance will start to draw out the natural moisture. Remember that not all of the salt and pepper you put on the meat stays on the meat. You will always loose some to the grill.

  5. The grill. A true grill master knows that sweet spot between too hot and too cold. A grill that is too hot will end up burning the outside and leaving the inside underdone. A grill that is too cold will not give the meat that great, slightly charred "burger off the grill" flavor. The trick? listen to your burgers. If you put the burger on the grill and you don't hear anything, immediately take it off and wait for the grill to get hotter. If the burger hits the grill and you hear crackling and see flames, immediately pull it off and wait for the grill to cool down. If you have a surface thermometer, you're looking for a surface temperature of about 500 degrees, which will give you a good char with our burning the outside.

  6. Rest. This is a very important step. Let the burgers rest for about 2 minutes. This will not only give you time to melt the cheese, it will allow the juices in the burger to stop moving around from being on a 500 degree surface and stay inside that perfectly charred crust.
About The Counter:
Opening its original Santa Monica, Calif., location in December 2003, The Counter has quickly gained national acclaim. In July 2005, GQ magazine columnist Alan Richman named The Counter's "Build Your Own Burger" to his list of the best burgers in America and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" featured The Counter's inclusion on Richman's list in a February 2006 show highlighting the "20 Hamburgers You Must Eat Before You Die." The Counter has also been featured in several other major publications including Travel + Leisure, the Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine magazine.

The Counter is an upscale entrant into the casual dining segment, one of the restaurant industry's strongest growth areas. The Counter appeals to all demographics including adults, teens, kids, baby boomers and seniors with an innovative menu and setting that drives repeat business not only through traditional lunch and dinner segments but also as an afternoon or weekend hangout or simply a place to grab a late-night meal. The Counter also offers catering and private parties. The Counter is a full-service restaurant with an average per-person bill of $12.50.

The Counter Walnut Creek
1699 North California Boulevard
Walnut Creek CA 94596
925 935 3795 Website: http://www.thecounterburger.com

About Peter Katz, Managing Partner, The Counter:
Peter Katz spent more than 20 years as a sales and marketing executive and general manager with large and small high tech companies. In 2006, Peter followed his entrepreneurial muse and, along with two partners, opened his first restaurant, The Counter, Custom Built Burgers, in Palo Alto, California.

Katz is managing partner of Counter Intelligence LLC, a restaurant development group that now owns five (5) The Counter? restaurants in northern California. In addition to The Counter Palo Alto, Counter Intelligence operates restaurants in San Jose at Santana Row, Walnut Creek, Roseville and will be opening at the Corte Madera Town Center in July.

The Counter restaurants in Northern California have won many "best burger" awards and the concept has earned accolades on a national basis including the Oprah Winfrey Show and GQ Magazine.

Born and raised in New York and a long time resident of Redwood Shores, CA, Katz holds a master's in business administration from New York University's Stern School of Business and a bachelor of science from the University of Vermont.


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