With the warm weather of the past Memorial Day weekend, we are officially into summer season. That means beaches, backyards, and – barbecues!

For some of us, the grill is a looming black monster, relegated to the corner of the yard until some brave soul decides to pour on the coal and light the fire. For others, grilling is a favorite summer pastime.

Whatever your inclination, you want your barbecue to be a hit. Good food is key, and we discovered some amazing burger recipes that will have your (and your guests’) mouths watering.

Instead of the traditional (boring) ground beef burger, try any of these alternative recipes:

Pork-Fennel Burger

Beef Tartare Burger

Curry-Spiced Lamb Burger

Shu Mai-Style Burgers

Beyond burgers, some of our Betterists share their summer grilling tips:

Suzanne Meehle recommends “that everyone dry age steaks before grilling. It’s easy to do and it makes them so tender and flavorful.”

To do this, she says, wrap the steaks in paper towels and place them on a baker’s rack set inside a large container (like a large baking pan).

-          Place the whole rig on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator for about three days. Change the paper towels every day.

-          The steaks will look slightly brownish and may smell a little funky, but they’re not rotten! The enzymes in the meat have broken down connective tissue and made your steak really tender.

-          Before you grill, salt the steaks liberally on both sides. Sear the meat over very hot charcoals for 1-3 minutes per side, depending on how well done you like your steak.

She also recommends brining pork (any cut) before barbecuing it, for maximum flavor and juiciness. Immerse the meat in a solution of water, salt, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and your favorite barbecue seasoning. For a small cut – like chops – let the meat marinate overnight. Ribs can take the brine for a couple of days, and pork butts and shoulders need three or four. Rinse the meat well and rub it all over with your favorite dry rub before smoking or grilling. Works well for turkey too!

Rinku Battacharya likes to marinade for several hours, “particularly for heavier meats. The base of the marinade should have some kind of fruit enzyme – green mangoes or green papaya work wonderfully as tenderizers. Lemon or lime and plenty of fresh herbs also work well.”

Got any family (barbecue) secrets of your own that you want to share with us?

If you’re interested in more summer recipes or learning how to make more than just better burgers, see any of our Cooking Betterists!

Photo credit to Charles Schiller.

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