Grilling the best burgers is a deceptively simple process. Sure, it’s easy enough to do while sipping a cold beer and swapping one-liners. But, attention to detail and a few tricks will elevate a good burger to a perfectly juicy and delicious one.
1. Start with the best quality meat.
It doesn’t matter if you’re making lamb, turkey, or beef burgers, using freshly ground meat (as opposed to a dense, prepackaged block) will create a lighter texture. When it comes to beef, go with an 80/20 perfect mix of ground chuck to fat; anything leaner can lead to dry burgers. For chicken or turkey burgers, look for ground thigh (not breast) meat for the same reason.
Don’t overwork it.
We’re talking meat here. For the juiciest results, use a light hand when combining meat varieties and shaping the patties--over mixing will create a tough, dense burger.
2. Shape it Right.
Burgers shrink during cooking, so to avoid the mismatch of a small patty lost in a bunch of bread, make sure the diameter of the uncooked patty is ½-inch larger than the bun.
3. Season the exterior.
Fun food geek fact: If you work seasoning into meat when shaping a patties, the burgers will likely have a desne, springy texture. That’s because salt begins to dissolve proteins in the meat. To avoid this, only season the outside of your patty (but do so generously!).
4. Flip frequently.
Let your dreams of perfect grill marks go, friends. Relying on a single flip allows the upward-facing side to lose too much heat. By contrast, frequent flipping (and rotating the meat around the heat to avoid flare-ups, as needed) maintains an even temperature and helps the pattie cook more evenly.
Feel free to add a few slices of butter to the steak while it cools, the butter will melt over the top for added flavor.
5. Now put it all together. Here's the method:
Medium to Medium-High Heat
Cook burgers over direct heat, flipping and rotating around the fire as needed for even cooking (close grill in between flips to extinguish flare-ups; move patties away from if they’re browning too fast), until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the burger reads 130℉ for medium rare or 135℉ for medium.