How To Grill The Perfect Burger

When To Toast The Buns


Im a toasted brioche bun kind of girl. They are rich with butter and sturdy enough to hold all of my fixings and my burger, but also they squish down and are easy to bite through.

Whichever buns you prefer, butter the top and bottom of the bun, and then plop them on the back of the grill, out of direct heat, until they are golden. Start toasting the buns when you have a minute left on the patties.

Preparing The Rest Of The Burger

The rest of your burger consists of the cheese, the bun, and the rest of your fixings and toppings.

There are quite a lot of options when it comes to burger cheese. People love and prefer cheddar, Swiss cheese, or even Havarti. Either one of those is fine and will do a great job at melting and supplementing the flavor in our end-product. The perfect time for you to add the cheese to your patty is around 1 minute before it is fully cooked. If you put it too soon, it will melt into the grill and create a mess. If you put it too late, it might melt at all which will prevent it from releasing and mixing its flavors with the patty.

As for the bun, there are just a few simple rules to follow. Firstly, spread some butter evenly across the top and bottom parts of your bun. Then, place it on your grill but make sure the bun isnt facing direct heat. Grill the buns until they are golden. Typically, most buns will need around a minute for that to happen so put them on the grill right around the time you place the cheese on top of the patties.

Now that weve gone through the whole process of grilling a burger, lets check out a few killer recipes that will wow your guests!

Monitor The Internal Temperature

You can follow a few rough guidelines to track the meats internal temperature. The safest technique for beginners is to use a meat thermometer. It should read a temperature of 160 degrees. This will ensure well-done patties. Also, keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook for a while once it is removed from heat.

Burgers should be cooked on gas grills at high temperature or medium-high temperature . Gas grills usually have built-in thermometers for monitoring temperature.

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How Long Do You Cook Burgers On A Propane Grill

Depending on the type of burger you want, cooking times on propane grills may differ. For medium-rare burgers, you want to let it cook for around 4-5 minutes on each side. Medium-rare burgers will require a bit more time at around 6 minutes, while medium-well done burgers will have to be cooked 7 minutes each. As a whole, you can test out the consistency of the burger, as more well-cooked ones will be noticeably harder and not as soft and squishy as the rare and medium-rare ones.

Should You Grill Your Burgers With The Lid On Or Off

How to grill the perfect burger

Since burgers are typically cooked at high temperatures in just a few minutes, the lid should normally be off. This is a rule of thumb for anything fast-cooked on a grill. However, if you live in a windy area you should definitely cook with the lid on . This will prevent flare-ups and will help your burgers be cooked more evenly.

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You Can Master Grilling Pro

Have you discovered another tip for how to grill hamburgers that we didnt cover above? Plan on grilling hamburgers soon? Leave a comment below. We want to hear all about it!

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Keep Burgers Cold Until They Hit The Grill

Unlike other meats that will cook up better if brought to room temperature before hitting the grill, you want those patties cold so they stay together and stay as juicy as possible. Put the patties on a tray or platter, covered, in the fridge while the grill heats up. This helps more of the flavor-carrying fat stay in the meat.

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Indent The Top Of The Burger

Putting a slight indentation on the top of each patty will help them to maintain their proper shape. As the meat cooks, it can swell, causing the burgers to take on a rounded shape almost like a poorly formed meatball. When this occurs, the burger wont fit well on the bun, and it can make it hard to eat. With a slight indentation on the top of the patty, this problem can be avoided.

How To Grill Burgers Like A Pro

How To Grill The Perfect Burger

Grilled burgers are the perfect food for a quick-and-easy weeknight dinner with the familyand the perfect addition to any backyard barbecue. You might find yourself tempted to pick up a frozen package of burgers at the store to pull it off. It turns out it’s just as easy to learn how to make hamburgers from scratch. Making your own patties is a good way to ensure your burgers will turn out juicy.

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Grilling Burgers For Beginners

There are lots of little tidbits to keep in mind when you are making the best burgers. You will love how simple these grilled burgers come together!

  • Resist The Temptation: Try not to press down on the burger while it cooks. This squeezes out all those lovely juices that are meant to be inside.
  • Let it Rest: Let the hamburger rest for 5-10 minutes after grilling to redistribute the juices throughout the meat.
  • Got Fire: If you get a flare up on your grill, cut off the oxygen to the flame by closing the lid. This should put it out. And have a glass of water on hand, just in case.
  • Variations: There are many ways to vary your burger from the kind of meat you use, to the seasonings and the toppings. Once you feel you have the basics down good, experiment with flavors and textures. Keep in mind any time you change the meat, you will change the cook time, temperature, and seasonings. Besure to do your homework before working with different meats in your burgers so that you can still have the best, juiciest and most flavorful burger around.
  • Toppings: Get creative with your tastebuds and try different toppings. Some ideas include grilled onions or mushrooms, pineapple and teriyaki sauce, pepper jack cheese and avocado spread. Melt blue cheese and top with bacon. The possibilities are endless. Let the grilling begin!

How Long Should You Grill Burgers For

The surest way to know when your burgers are finished cooking is to use a thermometer. That said, if you dont have one or you dont want to use one, you can time the burgers for a general idea of when theyll finish cooking.

Heres a guide for the cook time and temperature of one-inch-thick burger patties:

  • Medium-rare : 6 minutes, or 130 to 135°
  • Medium : 7 to 8 minutes, or 140 to 145°
  • Medium-well : 9 minutes, or 150 to 155°
  • Well done : 10 minutes, or 160 to 165°

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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.

How To Cook Burgers On The Stove

How to Grill the Perfect Burger

Pan frying a burger on the stove isnt quite as exciting as getting outside and firing up the grill, but its a quick win if the weather isnt playing ball, and youre under pressure to deliver lots of burgers fast.

One important point youd better take down is that stovetop burgers cannot be nearly as thick as what youd normally go for in a nice burger. Thats because youre relying exclusively on external contact with the pan in order to cook your burger, so its hard to get that heat to penetrate the insides of your patty without scorching the outside.

In terms of your cooking temperature, youll want to heat a little bit of oil in your skillet to around 350 degrees Fahrenheit over a medium heat. After that, youre ready to place your burgers on the skillet and relish every second of that euphoric soundtrack of sizzling beef. Just try not to enjoy the sizzling so much that you overcook the burger.

Another hitch you might run into is that depending on the patties youve opted for and the size youve made them, you might end up with a lot of fat and moisture left sitting in the pan. This will increase your cooking time although if youve gone a little bit thinner for your patty, you can normally expect to finish each burger within 3 to 5 minutes per side if youre aiming for medium.

Ready to grab your own taste of burger glory? Try out our recipe for the perfect Smoked Spicy Cheeseburger.

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Key Things To Remember

At this point in the article, you probably feel overwhelmed with information. This is why I wanted us to go through some of the most important key points when it comes to grilling a proper burger. Here they are:

  • Charcoal grills are better for grilling burgers as they have more evenly distributed heat and no heat spots
  • Choose ground beef with higher percentage of fat in order for it to stick together and not fall apart
  • Grass-fed beef has a meaty flavor while grain-fed beef has sweet and rich flavor tones
  • Dont overmix the ground beef too much as that will melt it due to the temperature of your hands and will prevent the fat and protein from binding well
  • Keep your hands wet when youre mixing
  • Flatten the inner part of the patty before you put it in the fridge
  • Make the patty around an inch thick for the best results
  • Never press on the burger when grilling it as that will squeeze the fat out and make it dry
  • Place the cheese on the patty a minute before youre done
  • The burger bun should be buttered up and put on the grill away from direct heat around a minute before the patty is done

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Work With The Meat When It Is Cold

For the best results, you want to handle the meat when it is cold. At room temperature, the fat in the meat will become softer, and it can easily transfer away from the meat. If you cook the burgers when they are cold, the heat will be more of a solid, and the burger will retain more of the juices. After you have the burgers shaped and ready, put them in the refrigerator for about 20-minutes before putting them on the grill.

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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.

How Long To Grill Hamburgers

How to grill the perfect burger
  • After about 5 or 6 minutes, or until you see juices start to collect on top of the patty. I like to call this burger sweat . This is a sure sign that the meat is cooking through in the middle, which pushes the juices to the top. In addition, you will see the edges start to brown. Once the juices and browning show up, flip the burgers and grill an additional 3 minutes on the other side. Times depend on heat of the grill, so wait for the juices to tell you how long.
  • As for our disclaimer, the USDA recommends 160 degrees for all ground beef. Don’t take a chance, use a good instant-read thermometer like the Thermapen and check the USDA’s latest recommendations and our handy meat temperatures chart. If you are an iPhone owner, check out our free MeatTemps app to look up the correct internal temps for meat. If you are making cheeseburgers, now is the time to slap the cheese on and close the lid just long enough to melt the cheese.
  • Remove the burgers from the grill and let them sit for about 5 minutes while you toast a few buns on the grill!

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Get The Right Beef Mix

Its all about the lean beef to fat ratio when deciding on a beef mix to use for a burger. The most accessible mixture is usually ground chuck, whose balance is roughly 80/20. Luckily, these proportions are perfect for burgers.

Sirloin is a bit leaner with a ratio of 90/10. Some chefs prefer using it or mixing the two beef pieces to get a different blend.

Think about if you prefer leaner pieces or something fatty, and decide on a mix most suitable for your taste. Our suggestion is to stick with ground chuck. Its the easiest to find and possibly the most ideal for grilling burgers.

Ways To Flavor Your Burgers

Once youve mastered the basic burger in the recipe below, feel free to get funky with your flavors.

You can blend different cuts of meat, add mushrooms, anchovies, herbs, or cubes of cheese. Im a big fan of lemon zest in my burgers, because it helps cut the fatty flavor of the beef. Ultimately, the choice is yours. As long as the patty is meaty and juicy, you cant go wrong.

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Grilled Bacon Burgers With Caramelized Onions And Blue Cheese

Serves: 4 / Prep time: 15 minutes / Total time: 40 minutes

8 slices bacon

1 large onion, halved and sliced thin

¼ teaspoon table salt

1½ pounds 85 percent lean ground beef

¼ teaspoon pepper

4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled and chilled

4 hamburger buns, toasted if desired

Process bacon in food processor to smooth paste, about 1 minute, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Cook bacon in 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up pieces with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned in spots but still pink , about 5 minutes. Drain bacon in fine-mesh strainer set over bowl. Transfer bacon to paper towel-lined plate and let cool completely. Reserve bacon fat.

Add 2 tablespoons reserved fat to now-empty skillet and heat over medium heat until shimmering. Add onion and salt and cook until well browned, about 20 minutes. Transfer to bowl and set aside.

Break ground beef into small pieces and spread into even layer on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle with bacon and gently toss to combine using 2 forks. Divide beef mixture into 4 equal portions, then gently shape each portion into ¾-inch-thick patty. Using your fingertips, press center of each patty down until about ½-inch thick, creating slight divot.

From “The Ultimate Burger” by America’s Test Kitchen .

Shape The Burgers Properly

How to Grill the Perfect Burger

A well-shaped burger will not only look better, but it will also be easier to eat, and a uniform shape will also help to ensure that the burgers cook at the same rate. A good tip for getting all of your burgers to a uniform shape is to use the top of a jar as a mold for the meat. The top from a mayonnaise jar or a peanut butter jar will be about the right size and shape, and it can help shape every burger into a nice disc. Just be careful not to pack too much meat in there and not to be too forceful.

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How To Grill Burgers On Gas Grill

If youre grilling with gas or propane, all the same rules on patty selection, shaping, and seasoning apply. Your temperatures, times, and flavors are going to vary, though.

For medium-rare burgers on a gas grill, youll need to cook for around five minutes each side to get that nice, red inside. Medium burgers will take six minutes per side, and medium-well needs seven minutes. If youre measuring by internal temperature, you can still reference our fancy table internal temperatures stay the same no matter how youre cooking.

Just like a Traeger, youll need your gas grill setting as high as you can make it but unlike a Traeger, even heat distribution might be an issue, and youll need to look out for hot spots .

If youre wondering what to expect flavor-wise, a gas or propane-powered grill is going to give you something very different than you might produce with pellets. You wont get that amazing smokiness cooking with gas, but you will get a fiery taste thats a bit more neutral. Most grill masters will try to add liquid smoke to their gas grilled burgers to try and mimic the effect normally in the marinade or by adding the right sauce after taking them off the grill.

If youre cooking with gas, you should always grill burgers with the lid closed. This will prevent flare ups, cook your burgers faster, and deliver a lot more consistency.

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