Flame-Grilled Half-Pound Top-Sirloin Burger
The debate burns on: How do you make the best-tasting burger? Depending on who you ask, the answers will vary. My advice: Cut no corners.
Everything matters when it comes to creating the perfect burger. From top to bottom bun, and certainly everything in-between – each component is just as important as the next. When it comes to condiments, spend that extra dollar for name brands (good grief generic ketchup is atrocious). Visit your baker for the best buns they have to offer. For a commercial brand, I recommend Artisan’s Hearth Gourmet Brioche buns, if you can find them. When it comes to vegetables, check out your farmer’s market, or grab the freshest available.
Above all else, if you’re going to get serious about barbecue, you better be on a first-name basis with your butcher. Ask them for their finest marbled top sirloin cut, and get ready to grind.
If you’re pressed for time, or don’t have the budget for a grinder, yes, you can buy already-ground burger (no more than 20% fat).
Over the years, I have learned there are two important steps self-professed grill masters tend to forget:
- They don’t salt and pepper their meat ahead of time
- They don’t bring their meat to room temperature
Salt and pepper are the simple spices that unlock the true flavor potential of any red meat they touch. Additionally, by lightly salting your meat an hour or two ahead of time, you allow the salt molecules to bind to muscle fibers, serving as a dry brine, which will retain moisture and taste juicier when cooked.
Room temperature meat makes it much easier to reach that perfect internal temperature. (I typically pull my red meat off the grill at 130/135 degrees Fahrenheit internal temp, as carryover effect will raise the temperature to an ideal 140.) A piece of red meat fresh out of the fridge then placed on the grill could exhibit all the signs of perfection (a great sear, the right texture) only to have a thin strip of ruby at the center when served.
Lastly, always let your meat rest so juices can redistribute throughout muscle fibers. Otherwise, with that first cut or bite, instead of enjoying juiciness with each bite, you’ll lose those juices to a small pool on your plate.
Like anything, perfection takes practice, but I can promise this recipe is a fantastic starting point.
What You'll Need
- Pyro Tower
- Pyro Tower Grill Kit
- Meat grinder with fine-grinding plate
- Knife to cut vegetables
- Metal Spatula
- Can of cooking spray
- A couple kitchen towels
- Aluminum Foil
- A meat thermometer (optional)
Ingredients (makes 2 servings)
- 1 pound fresh top sirloin, cut into large cubes
- 1 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 on-the-vine tomato, sliced
- Green-leaf lettuce
- 2 thick slices of pepperjack cheese
- 2 bakery-quality buns
- Condiments: ketchup, yellow mustard, mayonnaise, dill pickle relish
- Mix of kosher salt and ground black pepper
How to Make It
Cut top sirloin into approximate 1-inch cubes and put through fine-grinding plate of meat grinder. Tip: Meat grinds best when cold, but turns to mush when warm. Also, grinder plates tend to work best when cold. Consider placing your grinder plate in freezer for 5 minutes prior to grinding.
Form ground sirloin into two 8-ounce balls. Cut aluminum foil into approximate 6-by-6-inch squares. Place balls onto squares and form into patties. Tip: Use your dominant hand to form outer ring of burger, your non-dominant hand to press meat down and to edges. You want a solid wall as an outer rim. Cracks in meat can cause meat to break apart with cooking.
Lightly salt and pepper both sides of burgers and leave out to bring to room temperature.
While burgers sit and warm up, pack bottom of charcoal basket with newspaper and add charcoal platform, along with a small pile of charcoal. Place basket in middle at bottom of Pyro Tower. Make sure grilling grate is in place, then ignite newspaper, allowing coals to gray.
As coals, gray slice your vegetables and tear off green-leaf lettuce leaves. Place on a separate plate and store in fridge until ready to assemble burger.
- Before placing burgers on grate, I recommend spraying oil onto a kitchen towel (one you are allowed to get dirty) and thoroughly wiping off grate.
Once grill is clean and hot, and coals at least half gray, spray burger with oil and place over fire. Spray top side with oil. For a nice medium-rare or medium cook, flip once top starts to sweat and bottom is crisp and brown. Place a slice of cheese overtop both burgers.
- Once cheese is melted, pull and put on a clean plate. Cover loosely with aluminum foil, careful to not let cheese stick to foil, and allow burgers to rest for a few minutes before placing on bun.
- Feel welcome to toast your buns. Mayonnaise on the bottom of bun serves as an oily barrier between burger juice and bun, meaning your bottom bun is less likely to turn to mush. Also on the bottom bun, I recommend a thin layer of dill relish, followed by a large piece of green leaf. Tomato slices on top of cheese of burger, followed by red onion slices and ketchup and mustard.
Any questions, feel free to reach out to me on Instagram: @WildGameJack