Grill Out: Burgers & Brats for the 4th of July

Fire up the grill for a Fourth of July cookout.

There is nothing better than a good, juicy hamburger hot off the grill.

With this in mind, the most important ingredient for that burger is your ground meat. Oh wait, it’s the only ingredient. 

Beef comes with it’s own “flavor packets.” Those packets are the droplets of fat marbled through the meat. For those of you cringing right now, the good news is that much of that fat drips away as it cooks, leaving the great flavor in your burger. That is why you will get more flavor by using ground chuck instead of ground round or sirloin for your hamburgers. You can combine a mixture of those cuts for a leaner burger, but don’t leave the chuck out altogether.

Another desirable attribute of a good burger is having it end up flat instead of in a ball. Go easy on the ground chuck, it’s already been through a lot. Use about ⅓ pound of meat per burger. Gently form ground beef into patties. Press them together enough so that the patties won’t fall apart but without squishing them til the cows come home. The cows are already home. After forming the patties, in order to keep them flat make a golf ball size indention in the center of each patty. Voila, no burger balls.

Grill the burgers on medium to medium-high heat and sprinkling with coarse ground black pepper as you cook. Other than the pepper, let the burgers flavor themselves.


  • 1 pound ground chuck per every 3 hamburgers coarse ground black pepper
  • a grill
  • buns, 1 per burger (call me Mrs. Math)
  • lettuce, tomatoes, sliced onions, cheese, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and anything else that you might possibly want on top of a hamburger. Best to have these thing ready before you start cooking the burgers so that you can eat the burgers hot off the presses when they’re done.

    Bratwurst is another good cookout option and will give your guests a choice if they don’t want a burger. Brats differ from their cousin the hot dog in that they are not fully cooked so they need some time on the grill. Grill your brats for about 15-20 minutes until they’re browned and cooked through. Use tongs to turn the brats instead of a fork. You want to keep the brats un-poked so the juices stay inside. 

    Brats are great topped with onions (grilled or raw), peppers, mustard, pickles, relish, bleu cheese, sauerkraut; anything that’s good on a hot dog will be good on brats. 

    Have a great cook out and a happy Foutth of July.  

    Find more recipes in my cookbooks “Have You Considered Cooking?” and “The Grits Shall Rise Again!” They can be purchased at www.carolgfrey.com


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