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Grilling Hamburgers to Perfection

Grilling patties is not just about throwing a piece of meat onto the grill and flipping it until it cooks. Follow these very simple tips to grill hamburgers to perfection:

Choosing Meat

The patty is the heart of the hamburger, so when making it, make sure you do it right. When choosing the meat, keep in mind that lean meat will often result in dry burgers, as the grilling process often drains the fat. Also remember that the more fat there is in the burger, the more it will shrink while cooking on the grill. Ground chuck has the most ideal meat to fat ratio of 80 percent lean meat to 20 percent fat. However, even if you begin with 20 percent fat beef, you can lose more fat once it's on the grill. Thus, you might want to choose a beef that's 30 percent fat.

Making Patties

Coarsely ground beef is best for grilling, as finely ground beef often falls apart on the grill. Make sure the other ingredients like onions and garlic are chopped finely so the patty stays intact. To ensure that the burgers are cooked evenly without burning the outer portions, create an indention in the middle of the patties. Work the patty to the thickness you desire and using your thumb, press down in the middle of the patty, and create a small indention in the middle about an inch or so across. When you cook the burger the indention will decrease as the patty naturally shrinks and puffs up.


You're set to grill when the grill is at a very high heat. Do not over-season burgers because it can overpower the natural flavors. Simply season with freshly ground black pepper and sea salt. Save the other flavors for the garnishes. To prevent the meat from sticking, lightly brush the grate with cooking oil. While grilling, it is extremely important to never press on the burger No matter how popular it is to do so, it draws the natural juices out of the patty. This will create a very dry burger! Similarly, avoid flipping too much and instead flip only once. When the edges start to brown or when you notice a few pearls of blood seeping through the top, the patty is set for a flip. Don't overcrowd the gill and leave 30 percent of the grilling space free of food. If you want to give your burgers a nice touch, make a quarter turn (after 2 minutes on the grill) to achieve those appealing grill marks.

Cooking Time

Cook the burgers over high temperature for approximately 5 minutes on each side. Hamburgers are grilled to medium when a thermometer placed into the center indicates 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When the raw meat touches the very hot cooking surface it will definitely stick. Don't worry though, the burger will release and that will be the time to flip. Flipping too early will just make the patty fall apart. A patty will start to release when the grease is cooked and produces a non-stick surface on the patty as a result. When turning patties, you might want to flip onto an unused part of the grate.

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Enjoy grilling year-round with friends and family and grill burgers to perfection with the world's finest ground beef recipes. Choose from dozens of recipes complete with tips and techniques to insure burger grilling success.

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