9 tips to grilling the perfect burger

With just a hint of spring in the air, after this long, long winter, are you thinking of the barbecue?

Grill master Ted Reader tells you how

BBQ and Grill master Ted Reader shares his burger grilling tips (Mike McColl)

With just a hint of spring in the air, after this long, long winter, are you thinking of the barbecue?

Ted Reader says it's never too cold to get grilling. He's a fiery, award-winning Canadian chef, author of Gastro Grilling.

"For me, it's primal.  I love being outside and cooking outdoors. I'm out there in any kind of weather whether it's windy or rainy. If it's on the menu that I'm grilling tonight then I'm outside," said Reader, who takes cooking a burger on the grill to an art-form.

He's kindly shared some of his tips with us, as well as his Butter Burger recipe. Yes, butter. Don't tell your doctor!

The Art of Burgers according to Grill and BBQ master Ted Reader

1. Go to your local butcher. "It's a good idea because your local guy will grind it fresh. There's nothing better than freshly ground meat. When you watch it being ground, you know it's fresh and you know what's in it."

2. Don't forget the fat. "Fat is flavour. A lean burger is a dry burger. You want to have a burger that is succulent. If you're going to put a burger in your mouth don't you want the juices to dribble down your chin and be delicious and you moan when you bite into?"

3. Grind it twice. "Have your butcher grind it twice. Why? It just makes it that much more tender."

4. Form a patty. Put it on the grill.

5. Don't season it. Baste it! "You want to taste the beef for what it is. If you put seasoning in the meat, it overpowers what it is."

Reader suggests basting the burger with "Woozy Mop," what he calls "a coating of deliciousness."

"Woozy Mop" (woozy is a nickname for Worcestershire sauce. Add booze and it becomes boozy and woozy, Reader says.)

- 10 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon of mirin (a kind of Japanese rice wine)
- 3 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons of canola oil

6. Don't push your burgers. Don't squish your burgers. Don't cut your burgers. "Every time you want to push, press, squish and/or cut the burger, go have a sip of your beer or cocktail instead. This will make for a juicier burger."

7. Turn your burgers once. "The more you flip, the more you push the fat and the juices out of them. Have a sip of beer instead."

8. Cook with the lid open. "When you're cooking on a higher temperature you want to see what's going on. So beware of the flare."

9. Never leave your grill. "No burger left behind! You're there like you're in the military. It's your duty. Stay at your post. It's why I have a stereo, beer fridge and flat screen TV by my grill."

Bonus tip: Try cooking on 100% Canadian hand-crafted soapstone, Ted says. "They'll be delicious!" (Mike McColl)


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