Grill your way into fall

Liberty Burgers

The weather is getting cooler, but that doesn’t mean grilling season has to burn out. In fact, according to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 60 percent of grillers are now cooking outdoors year-round, so fall grilling season is just heating up.

With the new season come new opportunities to fire up the grill, from tailgating at football games to harvest parties around bonfires. Burgers remain one of the most popular foods to grill, so there’s no better time to perfect your burger grilling skills with these tips from Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet grill master Russ Faulk:

The beef

  • The first step to the perfect burger is selecting the right beef. To get the right balance of texture, flavor and juiciness, go with an 85 percent lean mixture. Ground beef from the butcher’s case is recommended over pre-packaged options.

  • For the freshest flavor, avoid ground beef with any signs of gray or brown color. Always check the underside of the meat before purchasing.

The patties

  • Form 1/3-pound to 1/2-pound patties, making them about three-fourths of an inch thick and roughly three-fourths of an inch larger in diameter than the buns.

  • Dimple the middle of each patty so it’s thinner in the center than at the edges. The indent will rise up and flatten out when grilled.

  • Finally, brush the patties with olive oil and season with salt – both will help in creating a browned exterior crust.

Prepping the grill

  • Heat up two temperature zones: one hot fire at 600 degrees for the burgers and another 400-degree area for toasting the buns.

  • The dry heat of a charcoal fire delivers the best crust on the outside of the burger. Gas fire also works, if it’s hot enough. Certain grills, such as the Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet Hybrid Fire Grill, allow for cooking with any combination of gas, charcoal or wood.

The grilling

  • Place the burgers over the hottest part of the grill for about four minutes. Add slices of red onions to the grill to caramelize them at this time.

  • Flip the burgers and cook for another four minutes. Add cheese to the top of the patties and place the onions on top of the burger.

  • When the burgers are almost done, lightly toast the buns directly on the cooler zone of the grill grate or on the warming rack for about 20-30 seconds.

Remove everything from the grill, and assemble your burgers.

For more burger recipes and grilling tips, visit

Liberty Burgers


  • 4 pounds choice ground round, 85 percent lean, formed into 8 hamburger patties

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Finely-ground sea salt

  • 8 Italian rolls, split

  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 poblano pepper, thinly sliced (or green bell pepper)

  • 1 banana pepper, thinly sliced

  • 1 Vidalia onion, thinly sliced

  • 8 slices provolone cheese


  1. Prepare grill for direct grilling with two temperature zones: one medium-low and one medium-high. Preheat 12-inch cast iron skillet over hottest part of fire.

  2. Brush hamburger patties all over with olive oil and liberally season with sea salt. Lightly brush insides of rolls with olive oil and lightly season with sea salt.

  3. Toss peppers and onion with about 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  4. Grill burgers over hot zone of fire, turning once, about 4 minutes per side.

  5. Toast rolls over cooler zone of fire during second half of burger cooking.

  6. Transfer cooked burgers to platter, top each with slice of cheese, and cover with foil to rest and to melt cheese.

  7. Remove toasted rolls from fire and reserve.

  8. Cook peppers and onions in hot skillet, tossing frequently until nicely browned, about 5 minutes.

  9. Top each burger with peppers and onions, transfer to rolls and serve.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

scroll to top