Think you know everything there is to know about grilling a perfectly juicy hamburger? Or maybe you have no idea how to take your burger from a dry meat puck to Shake Shack delicious.
Burgers are a summertime staple and one of the first meals every griller should master before moving on to more complex meats like strip loins and ribs.
Think of this article as your complete guide to becoming a burger expert. We’ll explore best practices for grilling on both gas and charcoal, how to select the right ground beef for an optimal patty and a few of my favorite burger recipes to get you started.
While this may sound counter-intuitive, when it comes to burgers, fat is a good thing! There’s a reason why ground chuck is so popular for burger patties. The higher fat content helps infuse the burger with juiciness.
Ground sirloin will also work, but the lower fat content (10%) isn’t the best for a truly juicy burger.
So how much fat is ideal? The best fat content is about 15-20% to ensure the burger is perfectly moist, less than that and you risk an overly dry patty.
While chuck makes for excellent hamburgers, we’re always a fan of using lean, grass-fed ground beef and opting for organic when it’s available. While not everyone can taste the difference, the higher quality of the cow really does enhance the flavor.
It’s also a good idea to remember that burger patties stick together best naturally. You can skip adding a binding agent like you might use with meatballs or meatloaf. Patties are just fine on their own when made of good quality ground beef.
Key takeaway here? Look for 85% lean ground beef for your patties, and stay away from anything frozen!
The first step to grilling a perfect burger is nailing the prep work. Your end product is only going to be as solid as the time you invest in the beginning to make sure it’s just right.
When prepping your patties, you don’t want to go right from the package to the grill. The best practice is to prepare your patties early by forming them into approximately 6 to 8 ounce rounds, approximately 1’’ in thickness.
Too big and your patty will be thin and dry, too fat and it will cook too much on the outside and not enough inside.
You’ll also want to chill your patties in the fridge once they’re formed so they stick together nicely and hold together on the grill. Handle them as little as possible to make sure they aren’t overly compacted.
This is also the time to add any tasty enhancements you might want to infuse in the meat, like diced peppers, onions, a little bacon, or even a cheese core.
The key starting point for nailing the grill conditions for optimal burger cooking is getting the temperature dialed in.
Ideally burgers should be cooked on medium-high heat, which is about 375-400 degrees on a gas grill. For charcoal grills, to make sure you’re hitting this sweet spot, we recommend buying an add-on thermometer to make sure you’re not too far over or under.
When cooking, the next consideration is lid on or lid off. For burgers, you can go either way depending on weather conditions and whether you are rotating a significant number of patties through for a large group or just cooking for a small family.
When cooking your burger there are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind to ensure your burgers end up juicy and moist:
While a classic all-beef patty seasoned with a little salt and pepper, then topped with a juicy slice of cheddar, is a forever favorite, I’m including a couple other combinations I love in case you want to spice up your grilling game with some new flavor profiles.
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella
2 jalapeños, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
6 slices bacon, cooked and chopped
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1 1/2 angus ground beef
4 burger buns
From Delish.com | Source: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a20876317/best-jalapeno-popper-burgers-recipe/
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup molasses
2 teaspoons prepared mustard
1-1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1/4 teaspoon onion salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 pounds ground beef
6 hamburger buns, split
Toppings of your choice
From tasteofhome.com | Source: https://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/barbecued-burgers/
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I am a grill freak! It's hard to pick my favorite thing to grill, but if I had to choose... it is still a tie between pork ribs and a juicy beef burger. I am currently grilling on a Weber S210(I live in a small space) but my dream grill is definitely a summit. Those things are bad ass. Anyways I would love to hear from you, leave a comment or question below!