Grill The Lettuce On Your Burger For Extra Smoky Flavor

Without a doubt, the best way to cook a burger is to slap the patties on a grill and give them some good char marks and smoky flavor. While that's great for the burger patties, however, what about the burger toppings? After all, dishes feel more cohesive when they carry consistent flavor notes in each and every bite.

Fortunately, it's pretty easy to maintain that smoky flavor throughout an entire burger. For instance, just as you might try grilling your salads, you can grill regular lettuce to make it crispy and smoky. As the lettuce rests on the grill, the moisture within it evaporates, leaving carbohydrates and sugars to caramelize and produce a toasty, nutty flavor. Meanwhile, the areas not touching the grill remain fresh and bright, providing contrast in both texture and flavor.

Now that we've addressed why you should try grilling lettuce the next time you grill burgers at home, let's explore how exactly you should conduct the grilling process for the best results.

Tips for grilling lettuce for your homemade burgers

We already know cooking lettuce on the grill provides depth of flavor and texture complexity, but how do you achieve this result without burning the lettuce beyond recognition? Firstly, make sure your grill grate is clean and set between medium and high heat. Next, take an entire head of lettuce and chop it in half lengthwise, as you need the core to hold your leaves together while you grill them. Just before placing your lettuce on the grill, feel free to brush the leaves with a mix of salt and olive oil or a vinaigrette, as this will further enhance the flavors of the lettuce and char.

Once the lettuce is on the grill, turn it every couple of minutes until you're satisfied with the char marks. Then simply remove the lettuce from the grill and once again douse the leaves with oil or vinaigrette — you might even try a spritz of lemon juice to bring back a note of freshness. Now all there is left to do is to chop the lettuce to your preference and stack it on your burger, allowing the flavors to complement and contrast with your patty, burger toppings, and condiments.