Burger Buying Guide

By: Food Network Magazine
FN0217121_BISTRO_BURGER.tif

FN0217121_BISTRO_BURGER.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

  • Choose a specific cut. Meat with generic labels like "ground beef" or "hamburger" can come from any part of the cow or from trimmings, so they can be inconsistent in flavor and texture. Ground meat labeled "chuck," "sirloin" or another cut must contain at least 50 percent meat from that cut; it's usually higher quality. If possible, go for organic, grass-fed beef; we love the flavor.
  • Check the color. Don't worry if packaged ground beef is bright red in some areas and brown or purplish in others. This is a harmless reaction of the meat's surface to the air. However, if all of the meat in a package is gray, check the date — it may be past its prime.
  • Skip the preformed patties. They're often shaped by machines, which don't handle the meat gently. Plus, you can't always control the quality of the beef.
  • Ask for a custom grind. Have a butcher grind up your favorite cut, like brisket or short ribs, and mix it with ground chuck. (Some supermarket butchers won't do this, but it's worth asking!) If you have a meat grinder, try it yourself at home.
FN0217121_KIDS_BURGER.tif

FN0217121_KIDS_BURGER.tif

Food Stylist: Jamie Kimm

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

Now that you know the golden rules of burger buying, dress up your patties with these fun topping combos like the Kids'-Menu Burger pictured above.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Chefs' Burger Picks

Food Network stars name their top burger spots.

Poll: How Do You Take Your Burger?

Vote in the poll to tell FN Dish how you take your best burger.

50 Burger Toppings

Think beyond ketchup: Here are dozens of fun ways to dress up your patties.

This Is the Best Burger for Summer Grilling

You’ll be making these all season long!

Your Summer Burger To-Do List

Get set for a season of burger loving with these 11 must-try recipes.

How to Make a Perfect Burger — Weekend Cookout

Check out a few of Food Network's top tips for crafting a perfect burger at home, then browse step-by-step snapshots to learn more about how it's done.

In Praise of Classic and Creative Burgers on The Kitchen

Stick with the traditional fixings, or go big and bold.

On TV