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It’s about to be prime time for making burgers and hot dogs, whether you’re throwing them on the grill or cooking indoors. Take these classic foods to the next level with our top 10 burger and hot dog tips.
You already probably marinate chicken and perhaps steaks for extra flavor, but hot dogs? Yup. Cut cross-hatch patterns in the hotdog so a marinade consisting of ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and some spices can seep in.
Pack ground meat like you’re cradling a newborn baby and you’ll get a better crust when you cook the burger, because the surface won’t be completely smooth.
Kill two birds with one stone: while your hot dogs are boiling on the stove, use the steam to warm up the buns in a strainer or straining pot lid on top of the pot.
If you’re a stickler for the perfect burger form and want to avoid the common but sad bulging-in-the-middle shape, make a shallow thumb imprint in your burger patty before cooking. It produces a more evenly cooked burger compared to other burger-shaping methods (deeper indentation, no indentation, or one with little slits). Or for a very different kind of burger, turn burger patties into edible bowls so you can skip the bun.
Maybe you’re a fan of the smashed burger rather than a fuller patty—lots of delicious browning! In that case, know how to smash your burger for maximum flavor and juiciness: Smash just once within the first 30 seconds, Serious Eats’ Food Lab informs us.
Just as you don’t want to pack the ground beef too much, you shouldn’t put salt in too early, because it will make the patty tougher. Wait to salt the patty until right before it hits the pan or grill and you’ll be rewarded with juicier burgers.
As with steaks, burger flipping strategies can be somewhat controversial. Flip just once? Every couple of seconds? Well, data suggests that if you flip the burger multiple times, it’ll cook more evenly and much faster.
One of the secrets of cooking a perfect burger is actually water. Add water to the pan in the grill and the steam will cook the sides of the burger perfectly. And ice water added to the burger could keep the burgers juicy and seasoned evenly.
Regular hot dogs are great at the grill, but if you want to take it up a notch, make a spiral cut into the dog. You’ll get more surface area to capture that great grilled flavor and relish and other toppings.
With nothing but a food processor and a freezer, you can grind your own burger meat for healthier, safer, tastier, and better quality burgers. When it comes to making the best burgers and hot dogs, it’s all about controlling the fine details.