The Secret To Grilling The Perfect Burger Avoiding These Common Pitfalls
Plain or piled with toppings, grilling the perfect burger is the key to any great cookout. If youve ever volunteered to wield the tongs, you know the pressures on. The pitfalls of a seemingly simple burger are legion: too dry, overdone, underdone, oddly tough, falling apart, charred outside but somehow raw in the middleTheres only so much ketchup can cover up.
Want to grill a tender, juicy burger with just the right blush of pink in the middle? Avoid these common mistakes cooks make when grilling burgers.
How To Make Juicy Burgers On The Grill
Of course, nothing beats smoky, juicy burgers on the grill. The process for how to make juicy burgers on the grill is very similar to stovetop burgers.
Prepare the meat like above while you heat up the grill. Once its hot, add the burgers and close the lid. Resist the urge to open it too often!
Flip the burgers after about 4 or 5 minutes. The signs are the same clear or brownish juices. After flipping, cook for a few more minutes. The time will vary depending on thickness and how much you want them done. More on that below!
Just like stovetop burgers, the tips below will apply to making juicy burgers on the grill, too.
What Are The Ingredients For Hamburgers
- Ground beef Use the 80% lean/20% fat kind. The perfect ratio for the best hamburger patty recipe.
- Best Burger Seasoning The burger seasoning recipe is a combination of paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, and seasoning salt.
- Worcestershire sauce This is your secret ingredient to the best hamburger patty recipe!
- Buns I like the sesame seed style but feel free to use your favorite.
- Toppings Use whatever you like but I usually put cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, ketchup, mustard, and pickles out for everyone to top their way.
- Cheese if you want to upgrade to a cheeseburger recipe simply add a slice of American cheese or cheddar cheese a couple minutes before removing from the grill.
I can make hamburgers disappear. Whats your superpower?Megan
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What Is The Secret To Juicy Hamburgers
If you want a juicy hamburger, it helps to restore some of that lost moisture. The easiest way is to add water or some other liquid to the burger mixture. Weve found that 2 to 3 tablespoons of ice-cold water mixed into a pound of ground beef greatly increases the juiciness of grilled burgers.
How To Grill Hamburgers
- Optional toppings, like lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard and pickles
Yield: 4 burgers
Step 1: Season the beef
taste of home
If you went all-in with high-quality beef, you dont really need any of the optional seasonings listed above. Mixing the seasonings increases the risk of overworking the meat, but we understand if you want to infuse the burgers with some extra flavor. If you choose to use them, place the seasonings and beef in a large bowl. Use your hands to lightly but thoroughly mix the seasonings into the beef, working as quickly as possible.
Editors Tip: Dont salt the ground beef in advance. Salt pulls moisture out of the patty, making it denser and dryer than it should be. Instead, save the salt for later.
Step 2: Divide the beef
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Divide the beef evenly into four balls. Wet your hands with cold water and shape the beef into a 1-inch patty thats roughly 3-1/2 inches wide. Dont worry about packing the beef in too tightly. The patty needs just enough pressure to hold together. Using your thumb, create a tiny indentation in the center of the patty.
Once your patties are divided and formed, store them in the refrigerator until the grill is preheated. You want the beef to stay as cold as possible until it hits the grill.
Step 3: Season and grill the burgers
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Burger Time Chart: How To Tell That Burgers Are Done
One other way to check that a burger is medium-rare is to touch it gently to see if its slightly springy yet. But dont overdo this method, because again youll squeeze the juices out.
Definitely dont push down on the burger with a spatula or open it up to check. As mentioned above, this will make your grill or stovetop burgers dry.
If you have a meat thermometer, thats the most reliable way to test for doneness. Use these temperatures as a guide:
|160 to 165 degrees
|71 to 74 degrees
The USDA officially recommends at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit , but for juicy burgers I recommend medium. You make em how you like em!
Mistake #: Relying On Pre
Picking up a bag of pre-made burger patties at the grocery store is definitely tempting, especially if youre pressed for time. But the best results start with the freshest possible meat. Youll also have more control over the type and fat content of your meat .
Its ridiculously simple to make burger patties from scratchheres our guide to easy homemade burgers.
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What Is The Healthiest Way To Cook Burgers
For the leanest burger, dietitian Kris-Etherton recommends not only cooking with a method that lets some of the fat escape , but also cooking the burgers until theyre well done. Here are more tips for tasty results: Handle the ground meat as little as possible.
How Do You Grill The Perfect Burger
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How Do I Tenderize Ground Beef For Burgers
I break the ground beef into little pieces as I add it to the mixing bowl and then gently toss with pre-mixed spices before forming into a patty. FOUR. Toss and pack your patty instead of kneading. Again, working the meat too much will create a tough burger.
How Do You Make Burgers From Scratch
For your homemade burger recipe, start by adding your ground beef in a large bowl and add the Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Mix with your hands without over-combining. Then divide the meat into fourths and shape into patties. They should be about ¾-inch to an inch thick. Indent the center of each with your thumb. Then cook over medium-high heat on your grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side. Add cheese if you like about 1 or 2 minutes before you pull them off the grill.
Best Burger Recipe Continued
For thick patties: Grill or fry the patties for 3-4 minutes per side for a medium burger.
For thin patties: Cook on the griddle for 2 minutes per side.
Ideally, you only want to flip your burgers once or twice during cooking.
Pro Tip: Homemade cooked hamburger patties will keep well tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, or in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Gently Handle The Meat
This step is crucial! The less you mix the ground beef the better. The more you handle the meat, the more packed together it will become. This potentially makes the texture tough and rubbery without the addition of a starchy panade. Simply portion the meat into equal sizes, about 6 ounces per patty. Gently form each into a ball, lightly press it down into ¾-inch thickness then slightly reshape the sides into a round. It doesnt have to be perfect.
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Is It Better To Fry Or Grill Burgers
Burgers Dry Out on a Grill: A well-made burger patty is ribboned with fat, which will render out while cooking. On a grill, not only do you lose this precious grease as it falls in between the grates, but it causes flare-ups. You Wont Get a Good Sear: Yes, crosshatched grill marks are aesthetically pleasing.
Charcoal Grilling Vs Gas Grilling
One big difference is that charcoal produces more smoke from the combustion of organic molecules which yields a more diverse range of flavor molecules. Gas creates carbon dioxide and water which has no flavor. Youll notice a lot of smoke generated as the fat drippings from the meat hit the hot coals below. This adds that characteristic barbecue taste and this gets even more concentrated when cooking foods like ribs for a longer period of time.
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Mistake #: Not Letting The Grill Heat Up Enough
Burgers are best cooked over medium heat. A gas grill will fire up relatively quickly. But if youre using a charcoal grill, its a bit trickier to tell since it takes some time for the charcoal to catch fire and the kettle to warm up.
Gauge the temperature of your grill by following this simple trick: Hold your hand about 4 inches above the coals. If you can keep it there for 4 to 5 seconds the grills heat is medium.
How To Keep Hamburgers From Falling Apart
I have 3 main tips for keeping your burgers from falling apart.
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Burger Grill Time Chart
Make sure that you preheat your propane gas grill or indoor grill pan to “HIGH” heat, which should be a temperature of 450 degrees F – 500 degrees F. Here’s a handy burger grill time chart that I created to help you gauge the general cooking time for your perfect hamburger. Of course, these times are only estimates. The total cooking time for grilled hamburgers varies depending on the temperature of the grill and the thickness of the patties.
Please note that the USDA recommends cooking ground meats to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, which is well-done without any pink in the center. If you prefer a more rare burger, consume at your own risk. And as always, an instant-read meat thermometer is the best way to know when your grilled hamburgers have reached your preferred temperature.
The Best Hamburger Recipe
*Note: The full printable recipe card is at the bottom of this post.
- Add 80% lean ground beef to a large bowl.
- Add Worcestershire sauce, seasoning salt, garlic powder, and pepper.
- Mix with your hands until well combined.
- Divide the beef into fourths.
- Use your hands to form 4 hamburger patties 3/4 inch thick.
- Use your thumbs to make an indention in the middle of the patties.
- Grill over medium-high heat for about 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve on hamburger buns.
- Top with your favorite traditional burger toppings
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What Makes The Best Hamburger
I have found that everyone has different schools of thought on what makes the best hamburger. Some prefer fewer ingredients making the quality of meat stand out on its own, others love added tons of spices and even zesty herbs.
Heres the main factor I found makes the best hamburgergood quality ground beef that is 80% lean and 20% fat. Honestly, you need the fat in the ground beef to give you a nice juicy burger. Its really the most important thing in my opinion.
Now as far as other ingredients, I prefer adding a few spices to give a little more flavor. However, I have a friend that when he comes over, I know he doesnt like any spices on his burger besides just a little sprinkle of salt and pepper, so I appease him and make them that way.
I do love adding some salt, garlic powder, and onion powder to mine but you can make yours however you would like.
Essential Tools We Recommend
- All you really need to grill a fantastic burger is a grill and a set of grilling tools. We recommend looking for a set that includes a long-handled spatula so you dont have to expose your arms to the high heat of the grill as you flip the furthest burgers.
- Its also helpful to check the internal temperature of the burger using an instant-read meat thermometer.
- If youre really serious about your burger game, invest in a meat grinder. Theyre not as expensive as youd think, and there are even models that attach to your stand mixer. Grinding your meat at home allows you to control the size of the grind, as well as the cuts that go into your ground beef.
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Mistake #: Skipping The Easy Trick To Making Perfect Patties
If youve ever shaped a meatball or worked extensively with ground beef, youll recognize this situation. Things begin smoothly as you mold the meat into shape. But then, gradually, globs of the greasy pink stuff start sticking to your fingers, making it harder and harder to manage. Pretty soon you cant form anything into shape.
To avoid the mess, start by dampening your hands with water. Thisll prevent the meat from clinging as you shape the burgers.
The Tips For The Best Hamburgers
Like many other grilling recipes, people just need to slow down and pay attention to details and technique to achieve burger grilling deliciousness. Here are what I consider to be the key factors in hamburger perfection.
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When Is A Burger All Done
The cooking time is critical if you are looking for a juicy dish. However, there are lots of visual signs that will indicate when the meat is ready to serve.
We would recommend a thermometer in this stage because it is the easiest path to an excellent dish. Once the meat is heating, the protein in it becomes drier, and the look of the meat is browner, a bit translucent, and firmer.
So the hotter you will keep the temperature of cooking, the more changes the meat will suffer.
So, we would recommend you let the meat for a rare burger until reaching 120-125 degrees Fahrenheit. At this stage, the patty should be full of juices, have a bright red color, and a soft-touch texture.
If you leave the meat at 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the patty will be smaller, drier, and will have a tough, compact texture. The best way to take the temperature is by inserting the instant thermometer all through the side of the patty.
The tool will reach the interior of the meat and register the temperature accurately.
Expert Tips And Tricks For The Perfect Homemade Burgers Every Time
- Dont overmix the meat. This is the biggest mistake people make with burgers. The more you mix, the less juicy your burgers will be.
- Time it out. If you want your burgers cooked to a certain doneness, do not guess how long its been or youll either wind up with a raw center or something that is too well-done for your tastes.
- Dont squeeze the burgers. You see so many people squashing the patties down with the spatula. If you do this, youll release all the juices inside that make them tender.
- Let them rest. With any grilled hamburger recipe, use a tray to put your burgers on and let them rest a moment before popping them onto the buns.
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