Fourth of July Grilling Tips: Schweid & Sons and Ramen Burger Creator
Since July is National Grilling Month (yup, that’s a real thing!), it’s time to beef up your burger-making skills to ensure a successful backyard barbeque experience. Since BBQ’ing is essential for Fourth of July celebrations, we decided to tap into burger experts Jamie Schweid, EVP of ground beef supplier Schweid & Sons and Keizo Shimamoto, owner and creator of THE Ramen Burger, which was also voted 17 Most influential burgers of all time by Time Magazine, (eh hem)!! Since Mr. Ramen uses Schweid & Sons burger blends for his juicy patty and Jamie Schweid is essentially your hamburger fairy godfather, we’re sure their Burger 101 Tips will guarantee a firework-type explosion of flavor in each bite. Check out our step-by-step guide on how to make the best patty.. we’ll be ‘grilling’ you!
Step 1. Choosing a Burger Blend
It’s important to look at the fat content ratio when seeking a burger blend to make sure you have a juicy and flavorful patty. “You want fat in your burger because that’s what creates the flavor,” said Schweid. He recommends a 75 lean/ 25% fat blend, which is the same one used in The Ramen burger. Both Schweid and Shimamoto say a juicy patty allows the bun (or noodle bun) to soak up the juices and creates an overall tastier bite. Also, base your purchase on the cuts of beef. “My favorite blend is a chuck and brisket combination by Schweid and Sons because the chuck is tender and a very worked muscle and mixed in with a flavorful brisket, it provides a delicious cut of beef,” Said Schweid. Also, choose a 5.3 oz or 4 oz sized patty since you typically lose some of the burger when cooked.
Step 2. Add Seasoning
Both Schweid and Shimamoto recommend minimal seasoning to let the flavor of the beef stand out. Shimamoto uses kosher salt and pepper mixing stating, “since we cook our burgers with a flat top grill, the kosher salt gives a nice crisp to the patty.” Add a couple pinches on both sides to give the burger a nice char.
Step 3. Pre-heat Grill
When you’re outside and grilling make sure to pre-heat the grill! Schweid said this is very important because if you put the burger on the grill when it’s not warm the patty will fall apart and will stick to the grill of flattop. You want to put the grill of flattop on medium/high to be sure you don’t overcook. On a charcoal grill, the higher the temperature, the more well-done the burger will be on the outside and the more medium rare you’ll have on the inside. “You want to make sure the grill is not flaring up. The goal is to have a nice balance and control of the grill because when you add the burgers, some of the juice will fall off and ignite the fire. I recommend a BBQ flattop or griddle for cooking outdoors to help control the BBQ and keep the meet cooking at a certain temperature. You’re hitting the burger with a lot of heat when the fat falls into the fire,” said Schweid. Also, a flattop will make it easier to cook bacon, eggs and other tasty burger additions that might fall through a grill otherwise.
Step 4. Cooking the Burger
Never overwork meat! “The more you work the meat, the less flavor and texture you have,” said Schweid. Therefore, he recommends only flipping the burger once. Both experts cook the burger for about 4 minutes on one side and about 3 minutes on the other side, but it also depends on the thickness of the burger. Schweid uses a trick when testing if a burger is ready by using the ‘face method’ by LIGHTLY touching the burger and comparing the feel to different parts of your face. The softness of your cheek would feel like a medium/rare burger, chin would feel like a medium cooked burger and forehead would be well done. Be sure to take the burger off the grill when it feels about medium rare and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. The burger will still continue to cook while it rests. TIP: A Burger no-no is to never press on the burger, it will take out all the juice and flavor of the patty. Instead, press on it gently.
Step 5. Choosing a Bun
If you don’t have the secret recipe to make a ramen noodle bun like Shimamoto, a soft bun from Martin’s Potato Rolls is a great alternative, (and Schweid’s personal preference). “The first thing you taste when you bite into a burger is the bun!” Therefore, Schweid recommends choosing a soft and sweet bun, such as Martin’s Potato Rolls to complement the texture of a tender piece of beef. Additionally, when the burger is cooked medium/rare (as suggested), the beef will be softer on the inside and the juices will soak into the bun absorbing the flavor and creating an overall heavenly experience.
Step 6. Cheese
Say cheese!! When adding cheese it’s important to time it properly so it doesn’t turn into cheese whip, which will change the texture of the meat. Schweid suggests adding the cheese towards the end of the cooking process when the burger is 80% done. When the cheese is cooking, you want the cheese to melt properly on the burger—you don’t want it to become liquefied and you don’t want it to be not melted. When the burger is ‘resting’ the cheese will continue to cook because it’s hot—that’s the best time to add cheese. His personal go-to is American Yellow Cheese as Shimamoto uses White American cheese because it blends well and doesn’t overpower his secret shoyu sauce.
Step 7. Garnish
Mix-it-up! There’s so many different ways to complete your masterpiece aside from the traditional tomato, onion and cheese route. If you want to add Asian flare to your burger, Shimamoto offered some of the main ingredients used to create the flavor in The Ramen Burger, “I use a secret shoyu sauce to create a Japanese-American flavor. Scallions because every ramen needs scallions. Arugula because it adds a nice peppery flavor to the burger. Sesame oil for the bun to give it a nice aroma and crisp.”
To go a more traditional route, Schweid suggests basic ingredients to allow the beef and taste of the meat to stand out. As an old school burger lover, Schweid adds simplistic ingredients, such as his go-to BBQ sauce KC Masterpiece and well-done bacon. However, if you want to add a more elaborate and complex garnish, he suggests seeking out a bacon jam or avocado relish to add a special touch.