How To Grill The Best Burger

Burgers from the grill just taste better. Recipes and tips for building the best backyard burgers are here.

Grilled Gorgonzola-Basil Burgers

Photo by lutzflcat

Grilled Burger Basics
When a hamburger is done right, you know it–the smoky, char-grilled outside and the juicy inside, all barely contained within a chewy, toasty roll. That’s what a burger is all about!

Get the Best Flavor
Meat with a higher fat content will be juicier but will also shrink more when it cooks. If you shop at a grocery store or a butcher that grinds their own beef, choose coarsely ground beef for juicier burgers with a more pleasing texture.

Add just about anything you like to your burger mixture. Here are a few flavoring suggestions:

  • Fresh or dried herbs and spices
  • Dehydrated or fresh minced onion and garlic
  • Seasoning mixes for soups or salad dressings
  • Your favorite cheese, such as Blue cheese, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, Feta, Stilton, Cheddar, or pepperjack
  • Prepared sauces including Barbeque sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, Hoisin sauce, plum sauce, oyster sauce, salsa, or salad dressing
  • Other tidbits like olives, capers, chopped tomatoes, diced chiles, crumbled bacon, or minced ham

Save the Salt
Here’s one common ingredient to leave out. Wait on the salt! Don’t combine it into the mixture, especially if you’re not going to grill the patties right away. Salt will extract moisture from the meat, leaving you with bone-dry burgers. Instead, sprinkle each burger with salt right before you put it on the grill.

Don’t Mix Too Much

Use a light touch when combining seasonings with the ground beef. If you mix it too much, your burgers will be dense and heavy.

Let the Flavors Mingle

Leave the meat mixture (or patties) in the refrigerator for several hours to allow all the flavors to mingle. To form patties, wet your hands a little to keep the meat from sticking to them. If you make patties ahead of time, stack them on a plate separated by waxed paper and cover with plastic wrap before you put it in the refrigerator.

Form a Good Patty

Don’t form patties too thick or too thin. A 3/4-inch thick patty is ideal. To keep patties from swelling in the middle, make small indentations in the center.

Turn Once

It’s hard to resist, but try not to flatten your burgers with the spatula. It squeezes out flavorful juices.

Grill the Best Burger

  • Make sure the grill is the appropriate temperature: medium-low to medium heat is best. Too hot, and burgers burn on the outside before getting done on the inside. Keep the lid closed while cooking; it shortens cooking time and keeps burgers moist.
  • Use beef that is no leaner than 85%. A little fat keeps burgers moist and flavorful. For ground chicken and turkey, add a little olive oil or broth to the mixture.
  • Always clean and oil the grill grate, this prevents burgers from sticking, extends the life of your grate, and helps put those beautiful grill marks on your patties.
  • Cook burgers properly. Cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (170 degrees F for poultry). For an accurate reading, insert the thermometer into the patty horizontally.