How to grill burgers

Burger patties on the grill

No BBQ season is complete without some burgers on the grill, so it only makes sense that we included a “How to Grill Burgers” segment in our grilling series. I’m all about plump juicy burgers (not the sad cardboard flapjack-ish ones you see at fast food joints), so follow the tips in the video below to make sure your burgers are perfectly grilled this summer:

Since we all love a good list, follow these 10 steps to get the perfect burger:

  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. I go for something with 20% fat to yield the juiciest patty.
  2. Don’t overwork the meat.
    If you’re seasoning the meat with additional ingredients or flavors, don’t over mix or overwork the meat too much or it’ll become tough.
  3. Don’t compact meat too tightly.
    When forming patties, I go for something that’s about 3/4″ 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 because a piece of cold meat on a hot grill is just not going to cook very evenly.
  6. Salt and pepper right before placing on hot grates.
    We love flavorful patties, 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 (ground lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees; ground poultry to 165 degrees).
  8. Keep one burner off for flare-ups.
    Since burgers have a fair amount of fat, flare ups (flames) are bound to happen. If 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. Once burgers are on the grill, don’t fuss with them too much.
    Try to flip patties just once and prevent yourself from pressing down on them when they plump – you’ll be pressing out all the tasty juices! Clearly 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 of the ketchup, mustard, tomatoes, and lettuce box.

Tomorrow we’ll be sharing one of our favorite burger recipes for this season, so stay tuned.

See all posts in our grilling series.

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