16 Tips for Perfectly Grilled Burgers
My All-American guy makes the best burgers “out-back.” He’s kind of a quiet-doer, but I ask him to grill every chance I get. He recommended I share these 16 Tips for Perfectly Grilled Burgers.
With my Homemade Hamburger Buns and his perfectly grilled burgers, we make the best burgers in town! Add some Copycat In N Out Sauce, top with lots of fresh veggies and grilled onions, and you’ll have a winner. Cut up some Oven Fries and create your favorite milkshakes for a casual party everyone will talk about all summer long.
It’s time to invite some guests and get your grill on!
“When I’m in need of a quick meal or party dish, a burger is hands-down my go-to pick! Burgers are easy, fast, and don’t even require utensils to eat, making them the perfect get-together main course, tailgating essential, and simple dinner recipe to whip up any night of the week.”
16 Tips For Perfectly Grilled Burgers
1. Don’t Push Down on the Meat
Here’s the #1 rule of cooking burgers. It squeezes out the juices, and the juices are the flavor. Would you rather have a juicy perfectly grilled burger that took an extra minute or a non-juicy product that came a little faster?
2. Buy Good Meat
Have your butcher custom grind your meat. Our butcher saves all the scraps from big cuts and calls it “Butcher’s Choice.” Go with a meat-to-fat ratio between 75-25 and 80-20. Even if you just go to your supermarket’s meat section, don’t fall for the trap so many people do, assuming the leanest meat is the best. It’ll be cardboard by the time you’re done.
3. Chill the Meat First
Before you even form the patties, put the meat in the fridge for a half hour or so. You don’t want your body heat to melt away the fat as you shape it; getting it colder helps it withstand the treatment. You even want to wash your hands in cold water before working with it to reduce their temperature.
4. Use a Scale
Unless you want people griping about unequal treatment, or you have a practiced eye for meat, use a food scale to balance even amounts in each burger.
5. Don’t Overwork the Meat
People tend to ball up the meat as they form their patties. Don’t do that; less handling is better. The more you push down and compress, the tougher the meat will be.
6. Use Both Hands to Form the Perfect Patty
Pull the meat apart into equal pieces, then pat down into a patty on a hard surface with one hand while forming the rough edge with the other. Resist the urge to slam down! Use the caps of big jars instead, which is fine. We prefer a thickness of 3/4 of an inch to an inch.
7. Dimple the Patty
When beef patties cook, they contract, and can leave you with a rounded, uneven burger. Push a little well into the center of the meat, about an inch or two around and a quarter-inch deep. The burger will be perfectly flat when they’re finished cooking.
8. Back in the Fridge
After you’ve formed your patties, put them back in the fridge to cool down again for 30 to 45 minutes.
9. Use the Right Buns
Too many people put all their efforts into the meat without remembering that the bun forms more than half the burger. If you’re wanting perfection, try our Homemade Hamburger Buns! Go for a meat-to-bun ratio of 1:1. Buns about 4 inches to 4-1/2 inches round are generally good. You don’t want a super-thick burger overhanging the buns — but rather to get a taste of every element — perfectly grilled burgers, buns, toppings — in every bite.
10. Get the Grill Really Hot
“The hotter the better,” when it comes to burgers! You’re trying to sear or char the meat really quickly so you have nice color on the outside and flavor from the barbecue on it. You may want to put wood chips in your grill for added smoke flavor.
11. Be Generous With the Salt and Pepper
Add the spices just before it goes on the grill, and don’t be sparing. Don’t add salt before this stage because you don’t want the salt drying the burger out.
12. Put It on and Leave It Alone
Place the burger on the grill well-side up, then leave it alone. The biggest mistake people make is pushing the burger around. My husband’s learned to stick it down and leave it. You only want to touch the burger three to four times at most. You’ll know if you have a sear if it comes right off. If it sticks to the grill, you haven’t let it sear long enough.
13. Get a Nice Criss-Cross Pattern
Here’s the secret to that nice pattern people love so much: After you get the first sear, do a quarter turn, leave it alone for a little longer — a total of 5 to 6 minutes for that first side. Then flip it, cooked-side down, leave it another three to four minutes, then do another quarter turn, let it get its marking, then take it off the grill.
14. Put on the Cheese Before It Leaves the Grill
Add cheese after your last flip or turn, while the burger’s still on the grill. It’ll start to melt slightly and be nicely oozing by the time it gets to the table.
15. Rest the Meat
After you take it off the heat, let the burger rest and redistribute its juices –for two to three minutes — just like you would any steak. This way it won’t immediately lose its juices at the first bite.
16. Have Plenty of Toppings on Hand
Everyone’s got a different idea about what tops perfectly grilled burgers. Besides the standards — lettuce, tomatoes, pickles — try at least five or six other, less common options. Consider pepperoncini, jalapenos, or dried cranberries and break out of the American-cheddar-Swiss cheeses. Think blue, havarti, Manchego or brie.
I thought I knew how to do a burger. But, apparently, I can still learn a thing or two. Perfect timing with this for BBQ time!
Great Carol, I appreciate timely tips too!
These are some amazing tips and with BBQ weather (hopefully) on the way it’s a brilliant time to put these to use. My husband loves burgers at the best of times. These will make them even better.
Thanks Tori, we wish you great success!
You’re so right – you need to know the tricks how to bbq a perfect burger. i don’t have a grill any more as I’m living in a flat with a small balcony, but during the summer there will be many occasions with a bbq grill, and an event where I was asked to take care of the servings so I really need these tips 🙂
We love our little tabletop gas grill Tiina. It might the perfect solution for you!
Just when you think you can make a burger lol great tips! Will need to keep these in mind when I’m having bbq’s. Thanks for sharing!
You’re right Kerry, there is definitely some skill required!
It is so annoying to go to a bbq and see someone incessantly flipping the burgers as if they know something the rest of the world doesn’t. So glad you addressed that in your list.
Thanks Rebecca, it’s fun to see which tips you relate to best!
Amazing tips, I think buying good meat is such an important thing. x
Once you find a good source, you’re set. Thanks Rhian!
Too bad I am a vegetarian but I will show these tips to my friends 🙂
I hae a question – would I be able to use a LOT of these tips for an indoor George Foreman Grill?
Sure,some will apply, others won’t. You can always weigh your meat for uniform patties on your grill. I prefer an outdoor grill, the taste and texture over the Foreman though. However,they are super convenient.
I suck at grilling burgers, its either they are not fully cooked or they are charcoal burnt. Thanks for the tips just in time for summer
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We have high hopes for you and your grill this summer Anosa, thanks!
These are really great tips! Granted I’m not allowed near the grill haha but I will definitely share these with our designated grill master. The chilling and returning the patties to the fridge is really surprising. Can’t wait for our first BBQ!
Welcome to CK Jolina! So glad you are looking forward to using our tips.
I never knew that the right bun had an effect on how perfectly grilled the burgers can be. Great ideas here.
This is really helpful. I’m going to try and impress my family using these tips the next time we barbecue!
Great timing for the post. we were just about to organise a summer BBQ party. Now we know exactly how to serve a perfect home-made burger. Thanks.
I don’t eat red meat, but if I did – YUM! These burgers do look good. I’m sure that they taste even better!
I’ve got to get my sister’s tips for a great turkey burgers. She makes them up, grills them, and then just has to warm them all week for a low-carb meal with salads.
Great tips – perfectly timed for grilling season! I’ve recently started the thumbprint in the patty trick, and it works well!
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Thanks for your testimonial Kylee, coming to check out your lemon curd soon!
Some great tips shared! My husband is a vegan, so I make bean patty for him with all the veggies in his burger but I never used scales for checking the accurate proportion and sometimes it was disaster while eating it. Now I am going to follow your technique. Thanks for sharing all these steps for making a perfect burger!
Thanks Ana, love you idea for a bean burger!
These are fabulous tips for burger making! I always forget to add the dimples and end up getting more meat balls haha.
Me too, many times over!!!!
I never knew scales could be a secret to an amazing patty. I’m a vegan myself. But, I’m going to keep in mind your tips next time I make burger. Thanks for sharing.
I had no idea you weren’t supposed to push the patty around the pan! I’ve been making that mistake… Thanks for correcting me xD
You’re so welcome!
great tips! I will definitely share this to my hubby so he can make it right the next time!
Thanks Therese and welcome to CK. Hope this takes your guy’s grilling to new heights!!!
Tip 7 is something I’ll definitely enforce next time, I always seem to have the issue of the centre rising too much and who’d have thought such a simple little technique would be an easy solution!
It’s amazing how something so little can make such a difference. Great hearing from you, Freya!
OMG, THANK YOU for telling people not to push down on the meat. I don’t even eat burgers, but I cringe every time I see someone do that. lol. Great tips. 🙂
Have you ever seen smashed pieces of a burger that have been pushed through the grate? LOL, thanks!
Funny I should read this post now, I am planning to make burgers soon and these are some great tips. Works well for a vegetarian like me too.
xx, Kusum | http://www.sveeteskapes.com
Oh that’s great news, enjoy!
Oh Gosh I decided to go vegan for a month and that’s not really helping 🙂 good tips though
Maryam, it’s the wrong time of the year to make such a drastic change. Wait till you can drink vegetable soup all winter!
These are some amazing tips! I’m going to try these tips next time I make burger.
I have to say, I pride myself in my “gourmet burgers” but I can say that I just learned so much on how to make them even better! I haven’t done the dimple thing and I dont think I’ve ever consciously chilled the meat after patties were made. My little secret is that I put a little ground pork in the beef burgers I make for extra flavor!
Thanks Stephanie for tip #17!!!
Your recipes are always mouth watering. Love it. Yummy!!!
Thanks so much Mutange!
There are some great tips here I had never heard before. I heard yesterday that it is National Burger Month. Burgers are one food our family can agree on!
It’s always National Burger Month here! We love to grill!
Thanks for sharing these tips. I’m sure they will definitely help to improve my burger recipe. I’ve always pushed down on the meat while grilling but now I know not to do this.
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These are great tips, but I was hopeful for the “secret” In and Out Sauce. 😛 Do you have that recipe posted somewhere? (The hardest tip I had to learn was #12 – Put it on and leave it alone! Grilling is about patience much of the time.)
Here’s the link to the sauce Todd, ENJOY! http://cheerykitchen.com/copycat-in-n-out-spread-sauce/
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You guys just shared such an awesome tips for everybody. Really inspires me to try something similar with this soon. Can’t wait for it! Thank you so much for sharing this all perfectly grilled burgers tips. 🙂
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