How To Grill a Better Burger

Who doesn’t love a grilled hamburger?!  Yum!  It’s making me hungry just thinking about it.

But if your burgers turn out less than perfect, and it’s perfection you want, here are some bits and pieces of information that might help you bring your burgers up a notch or two.  Here we go!

The Top Three No-No’s:

  1. Don’t pack the meat too tightly.  A loosely packed patty makes for a juicy hamburger!
  2. Don’t squish the burger with a spatula EVER!  That’s a sure fire way to end up with a dry burger.  You’re squeezing the juices right out of there!
  3. Don’t flip the burger more than once or you risk disrupting the juices which results in a dry burger.

Other Tips and Information you Might Find Helpful:

  • The more fat in the beef, the more the patties will shrink.
  • VERY IMPORTANT!  Use your thumb to create an indention in the middle of the patty before you put it on the grill. This prevents burger bloat and eliminates the need to  “squish” the burger (see no-no #2 above).
  • If you prefer your burgers well done, purchase meat with a higher fat content. This will allow you to cook them longer without drying them out.
  • Burgers should be cooked over a hot grill.  You know it’s a hot grill if you can’t hold your hand over it.
  • Handle the meat as little as possible and be gentle when you are handling it!
  • Don’t skimp on the hamburger buns.  Buy good quality.
  • Frozen burgers do not grill well.
  • The best beef for burgers is either 80/20 or 85/15.
  • A meat thermoment should register 160 degrees minimum.

How To Make the Burger:

  • Grab a tennis ball-sized piece of beef and flatten it into a patty, about ½ inch to ¾ inch thick, depending on your preference.  Some people start with 6 ounces of meat; some start with 4 ounces.
  • Be sure the patty is the same thickness on the edges as it is in the middle.
  • To account for shrinkage during cooking, make  the patties at least 1/2-inch larger in diameter than the buns you’ll be putting them on.
  • Season with salt & pepper.
  • Grill the burgers over high heat for about 5 minutes per side.
  • Some people add seasonings to the beef before they shape the patties but the die-hard grillers describe those burgers as meat loaf, not hamburgers.  But it’s Up to you.  Add-ins could include cheese, onion, chopped olives, chopped jalapenos, spices – pretty much      whatever sounds good to you.  It is your burger, after all.  But salt & pepper is the standard.

So there you have it – hamburger making 101.  Now go fire up the grill and see if perfect hamburgers are in your future!

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Resources for this article (plus my personal experience):
How to Grill Hamburgers and Hot Dogs | eHow.com 
How To Grill Hamburgers
How to Grill a Perfect Burger | eHow.com 
Grilling Basics – Building a Better Burger
How to Grill Hamburgers
 How to Grill Hamburgers
How To Grill Hamburgers

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Comments

  1. Vickie says:

    Good tips – never heard the one about using your thumb to make an indentation in the middle of the patty before grilling it. Makes sense!

    • Yeah – I read that one a lot in my research and it’s something we’ve been doing for a while. It definitely helps.

  2. Yep I saw Bobby Flay do that on tv. The fattier your meat, the bigger the thumbprint you need.

    • I think that’s where we learned to do that – from Bobby Flay. It really helps. I didn’t know about making a bigger thumbprint for fattier meat, though.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    This is perfect info.
    Thanks, patty
    ! Now I need to add burgers to our menu soon.

  4. Good to know about the fat content for well done burgers!! I’ve been trying to cut down on the fat, but my burgers have tasted funny lately. There are a ton of great tips! Might I add that flattening is important. Burgers DO NOT spread like cookies. I know this from an attempt that resulted in “Burger Balls”, too big to be a meat ball, too round to be a hamburger.

    • Are you doing your flattening before or after the burgers are on the grill? I read over and over that you shouldn’t flatten after they’re on the grill. But you should before – they definitely don’t spread like cookies! Great point.

      Don’t you hate learning everything the hard way? Burger Balls taught you about flattening! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Patty! Stopping by from SITS to check out your burger tips.. Very good to know, loved the post. Hope you will check out my post on one of my favorite burger recipes.
    http://blog.ablessedhome.com/2012/05/26/a-blessed-home-kitchen-chipotle-ranch-burgers-for-memorial-day.aspx

  6. I’m always looking for ways to grill a better burger and talk about perfect timing. Visiting from SITS.
    Have a great weekend.

    • Thanks for stopping by. We grill burgers frequently but we learned some new things from my research. Guess there’s always new things to learn!

  7. Oh! Thank you for this! I’m going to forward it to my husband, the burger griller. We grill burgers almost weekly. (Is there a better dinner in the summertime?) And any time we get tips like these, we are sure to try them out. It never occurred to me not to squash the burger with a spatula, but duh. Thanks!

    Stopping by from SITS. Have a good weekend, and Happy 4th.

    • Thanks for stopping by!

      Yeah, we always squashed the burgers, too, until we heard Bobby Flay say not to. We also learned the thumb print in the middle from him, too. I guess it’s never too late to learn and improve!

      And definitely – no better summer meal than a burger!

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