Things You'll Need
Instant-read meat thermometer
Instead of itty-bitty sliders at your next barbecue, impress your guests with a giant 1-pound burger grilled, baked or cooked on hot coals. A 1-pound burger serves four generously. It's difficult to find giant burger buns so use a whole round loaf of bread instead. Sourdough would be perfect because it adds tang to the burger. Burgers need fat for flavor and to avoid becoming dry. Your best bet is to use ground beef that's 20 percent fat.
Add your favorite seasonings to the ground beef. Try basil, oregano, garlic and onions for a traditional hamburger. Another option is a Southwest burger flavored with cumin, cilantro, red pepper flakes and coriander.
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Mix the seasonings into the meat so they're evenly distributed. One way is to divide the meat and seasonings into 4 parts.
Mix each part separately and then all 4 parts together. Use your hands or a heavy spoon to do the mixing.
Spray the inside of an 8- or 9-inch cake pan with cooking oil. Drape two sheets of plastic wrap over the pan in a cross shape. Tuck the wrap into the pan. There should be enough left to go across the top of the pan and back around the bottom, so the meat is securely wrapped.
Pat the meat into the pan on top of the plastic. This gives your 1-pound hamburger an even shape and thickness so it cooks evenly. Refrigerate until you're ready to cook.
Press down in the center of the burger to create an indentation about 4 inches wide and 1/2 inch deep. This causes the meat around the perimeter of the burger to be a bit thicker. Burgers "dome" while they cook. The indentation prevents this. Remove the hamburger from the cake pan by placing a plate on top of the cake pan and turning it over. The burger should drop onto the plate. Keep the burger covered with the wrap. Let the burger come to room temperature. When you're ready to grill, remove the wrap, and salt and pepper the top surface of the burger.
Heat the grill to medium high. Brush with cooking oil.
Place the burger, salt-and-peppered side down, on the pizza peel, sprayed with cooking oil. The pizza peel looks like a flat shovel with a long wood handle. It allows you to get the burger onto the grill. The cooking oil helps the burger slide off the peel. Slide the patty off the pizza peel onto the grill. Retract the pizza peel quickly so the patty remains on the grill. Salt and pepper the top of the patty.
Flip the burger over midway through the cooking process. For a 1-inch-thick burger, that's about 6 to 7 minutes. Slide the pizza peel under the burger. Flip so the top side is now the bottom. Keep the pizza peel as close to the grill as possible when you flip. This is the tricky part.
Cook until the center of the burger reaches 160 F. Test by inserting an instant-read thermometer.
Spray an 8- to 9-inch cake pan with cooking oil. Salt and pepper the bottom of the pan. Press the seasoned hamburger into the pan. Salt and pepper the top of the patty.
Place in a 350 F preheated oven. Bake the burger for abut 30 minutes until the center of the burger reaches 160 F.
Let the burger cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges of the burger. Slide a spatula underneath the burger to loosen it away from the pan.
Put a plate on top of the burger. Flip the burger so the pan side is up. Gravity helps the burger come out of the pan on top of the plate.
Hobo Pack Burger
Start the charcoal grill or campfire. The coals should be covered with gray ash and be hot. You shouldn't be able to hold your hand 4 inches away from the coals -- not the cooking grate but the coals -- for more than a second or 2.
Line the cake pan with 3 long strips of aluminum foil. Sprinkle the bottom of the pan with salt and pepper.
Pat the meat into the pan. Sprinkle the top of the meat with salt and pepper.
Lift the meat, now a nice round shape, from the pan. Wrap the strips of aluminum foil over and around the patty so it's sealed within.
Place the hobo package directly onto hot coals. Move the package around every 10 minutes and flip it over so all sides are evenly cooked. It takes about 30 minutes.
When adding the seasonings don't overwork the meat, or it will become tough and dense.
Don't press down on the burger; that releases the juices into the grill.
Don't let raw hamburger stay out of the refrigerator for more than 2 hours, according to the USDA.