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How to Cook a Steakhouse Burger for Your Labor Day BBQ

September 2, 2011 Le Cordon Bleu Boston 0 Comments

How to Cook a Steakhouse Burger for Your Labor Day BBQ

You can get a great burger in literally thousands of hamburger joints all across the country. From sizzling flat tops to smoky grills and, yes, even deep fryers, chefs and cooks have no shortage of good ideas when it comes to making a delicious, juicy burger.

One place that you may have never thought about having a burger, though, is a steakhouse. Like the old commercial says, “What is hamburger? Is it chopped ham? No, it’s chopped steak.”  And who makes a better steak than a steakhouse? Yeah, you know the one with the great sear on the outside and tender and juicy in the middle, packed with flavor, and ready to set your mouth to watering. When cooking in Massachusetts and especially Boston the steak is only second to the fresh seafood.

We’ve got the skinny on the culinary info that will turn your next cookout into a trip to your favorite steakhouse … without the steak and the high prices that go along with it.

The Reverse Sear

Unlike traditional steakhouses that sear the meat first on a high-temperature grill and then finish it in an oven, our steakhouse burger will cook first at a lower temperature first and then finish with a sear. It may seem counterintuitive to some of you, but trust us, this technique really is best for our burger. The reverse sear is the secret culinary info that will transform your burger into a Steakhouse Burger.

Steakhouse Burger Recipe

When you’re cooking in Massachusetts, this Steakhouse Burger will be the star of your next barbeque.

Serves 4.
Cooking time: About half an hour


  • 2 lbs of ground chuck steak. If you can grind it yourself then you should; otherwise, have it fresh ground from your butcher. Fresh ground really makes a difference
  • ½  teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 ½  teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½  teaspoon onion powder
  • ½  teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 Kaiser rolls
  • Condiments of your choosing: lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, pickles, etc.


  • Place charcoal to one side of grill and light. Gas Grill: Light one or two burners on one side on High. Once heat is going close lid and wait for temperature to hit 250 degrees
  • While grill is heating, pour pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder into a bowl and mix well
  • Loosely layout meat and sprinkle seasoning mixture over meat
  • Divide meat into 4 8 ounce balls. Note: do not pack meat too tight. Keeping it a little loose will help cooking
  • Flatten into patties approx. ¾ inches thick and 4 inches around. Again don’t pack too tight
  • Place your favorite wood chips on the coals or, if you’re using gas, in a smoking box or packet.  Bring coals up to about 1 inch from cooking grate
  • Put burgers on the indirect side of the grill, where there are no coals or hot burners, and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes
  • After 10 minutes open the lid and turn the burgers. Cook for 10 more minutes
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the meat’s temperature.  We want a final temperature of 130 degrees
  • When the temperature hits about 110 degrees, it’s time to move to the hot side of the grill.
  • Sprinkle salt on both sides of burgers and brush on vegetable oil
  • Place burgers over the hot coals or burners
  • Cook on one side until a good sear is formed and then flip. Be careful not burn them
  • When the temperature hits about 125 degrees remove them, set them aside, and cover with foil for about 5 minutes to let the juices rest. Have patience. You must not skip this step. If you do, then your first bite will release all of the meats juices and you will eat a dry burger. The rest will also allow the temperature to rise the remaining five degrees to our ideal temperature

While the meat is resting, you can lightly butter and toast the buns over the coals. Top with your favorite condiments and serve. You might even consider serving it by itself with a little steak sauce. After all, we are talking about ground steak here.

Warning: The USDA says that all ground meats should be cooked to a temperature of 160 degrees to insure safety. To guarantee safety at temperatures below 160 degrees, irradiated meat is recommended.

This article is presented by Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston. Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston offers culinary arts and pâtisserie and baking training programs in Boston, Massachusetts. To learn more about the class offerings, please visit Chefs.edu/Boston for more information.

The various titles of “chef” generally apply to more advanced roles in a professional kitchen (for example, Sous Chef, Executive Chef). Graduates of a culinary arts training program should expect to pursue entry-level opportunities and should not expect to become chefs upon graduation but are encouraged to work toward becoming a chef throughout the course of their careers. Le Cordon Bleu does not guarantee employment or salary.


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