Whether you like your burgers simple or sophisticated, our guide shows you how to grill them perfectly. Plus, check out our Burger Guide for endless combinations.
Tips to Making a Perfect Burger
No BBQ season is complete without some burgers on the grill. We’re all about plump, juicy burgers – not the sad, cardboard, flapjack-ish ones you see at fast food joints – so follow our 10 tips to making a perfect burger, and then get some inspiration from our favorite combos:
1. Start with good quality beef
You can have a great burger with nothing more than just ground beef, so start with freshly ground beef from the butcher if you can. Something with 20% fat can yield the juiciest patty.
2. Don’t overwork the meat
If you’re seasoning the meat with additional ingredients or flavors, don’t overmix or overwork the meat too much or it’ll become tough.
3. Don’t compact meat too tightly
When forming patties, go for something that’s about ¾” thick and about 4 to 5 inches wide, since they’ll shrink some during cooking. Don’t pack it too tightly, or you’ll be eating a hockey puck!
4. Make a compression in the middle
Since burgers will plump during grilling, use your thumb to make an indentation in the center to keep the patty even when it cooks up.
5. Take meat out of fridge 30 minutes before grilling
If you’ve formed the patties ahead of time and they’ve been in the fridge, take them out about 30 minutes before grilling, so they have time to come to room-ish temperature. Remember, a piece of cold meat on a hot grill doesn’t cook evenly.
6. Salt and pepper right before placing on hot grates
Flavorful patties are everything, so give it one last dash of seasoning before grilling. Remember to salt and pepper the other side before you flip.
7. Start with high heat
One element of a good burger is a nice char on the outside, so start with high heat, put burgers right over the flames, and sear for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side with the lid open. If you’re cooking non-beef burgers, move them to a cooler spot after initial high-heat searing, close the lid, and cook until the right internal temperature is reached.
8. Keep one burner off for flare-ups
Since burgers have a fair amount of fat, they tend to cause some flare-ups. If these flare-ups get out of control, and your charring looks more like burning, move the burgers to where the burner is off – your safe zone – to prevent a dried, burned-out patty.
9. Don’t fuss with the burgers
Once the burgers are on the grill, don’t fuss with them too much. Try to flip patties only once and prevent yourself from pressing down on them when they plump – you’ll be pressing out all the tasty juices! Keep an eye on your burgers, but avoid poking and prodding too much. No one likes that!
10. It’s all about the toppings
Enjoy your burgers with whatever toppings you can imagine. The sky’s the limit here, so think outside the ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and lettuce box.
How to Grill Burgers
This video shows you how to get the most perfect, juiciest burger.
The Ultimate Burger Guide + 20 Burger Combos for Every Taste
Not only does our Ultimate Burger Guide teach you how to cook burger patties on the grill or on the stove top, it also includes 20 delicious, lip-smacking burger combos that you can refer to whenever you need a change of taste from the typical bun + patty + lettuce + tomato combo.
This guide has a patty for every taste, sauce recipes to jazz up your burger, and lots of ideas for flavorful toppings to mix and match all summer long. . .or whenever you feel like firing up the grill. (If you like grilling during the cold season, more power to ya! Many of our burger combos contain year-round ingredients.)
Of course, our burger combos are not meant to be followed rigidly, but rather, to inspire. Feel free to switch up the ingredients or mix and match ideas as you please, so that you can enjoy a variety of burgers tailor-made to your tastebuds.
Use your imagination – and the tools above – to create the burger of your dreams. Or, test your new burger knowledge with three of our favorite recipes.