Chef Dan Kluger Shares How To Grill the Best Burger

Chef Dan Kluger has worked with some of the culinary greats throughout the course of his career. From Danny Meyer to Jean-Georges Vongerichten to Tom Colicchio, all culminating in the James Beard Award-winning chef’s first solo restaurant, Loring Place. More recently, he moved into Hudson Yards with his highly anticipated Greywind. The locally sourced, seasonally driven menu includes an array of fine dining dishes, including one of the best burgers in New York. We asked Kluger for his best summer grilling tips, and he delivered.

Step 1: Start with good meat. I really prefer to get a special blend with short rib and brisket and a mix that is higher in fat content (80/20) as well as something that is all natural/antibiotic and hormone free.

Step 2: Weigh out between 6 and 8 oz portions and then form uniform patties without working the meat too much. Make sure the patties are evenly shaped and press a slight indentation in the center to prevent bulging while cooking.

Step 3: Whether using charcoal or gas, preheat the grill. I like to have two zones - one that is fairly high heat (you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand above the grill for more than 2 seconds) and then one that is more of a medium heat. Scrub the grates clean with a wire brush and then oil the grates with paper towels coated in a neutral cooking oil.

Step 4: Season the patties generously with salt (I typically will add pepper towards the end of cooking) and place the burgers on the hot side first. I very gently press but just to make sure the burger is intact with the grill, that’s it - don’t press down too much as it cooks or you will squeeze all of the good juices out. Cook on the first side until it develops a nice crust (about 3 minutes) and then gently slide a spatula underneath the burger to flip it. After about a minute you can probe the burger with a digital probe thermometer and depending on your preference you can continue to cook or remove.

Step 5: For medium rare, you should cook to about 125F, for medium 135F, medium well 145F and for well done 150F; this allows for carry over. Depending on the desired temp you should either remove the burger or move to the medium heat side of the grill and cook longer.  Right before removing the burger from the grill, you should add cheese if you are using and cover the grill for 20 seconds to soften the cheese without fully melting it. Remove the burgers to a tray.

Step 6: Gently toast the buns, and then assemble your burgers adding your preferred toppings-  mayo, ketchup, special burger sauce, bacon, avocado, etc.

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