Looking for a weeknight dinner idea that’s quick, easy, and delicious? There’s nothing quite like a perfectly grilled burger; we’ll not only show you how to grill your burgers like the pros do, but also to buy the right meat mix and much more.
Finding the Best Grilling Meat
Seasoning is a great way to add flavor to your burgers, but you can only get that full flavor from fat. Your best bet is to ditch those frozen beef patties in favor of ground chuck. In order to get that unbeatable flavor and consistency, a combination of 80 percent beef with 20 percent fat content is best. Anything less, such as ground sirloin, will only dry out on the grill and cost you flavor.
Preserving the Fat
Fat is heat-sensitive, melting easily when it comes into contact with body heat. Why is this undesirable? Because fat that has melted away isn’t available to bind with the meat. When there’s no fat for binding, you will get a dry beef burger.
That being said, the colder your beef is, the better. So don’t remove it from the fridge until the time comes to make and season your patties, and then pop them back into cooler temps until grill time.
Making Your Burger Patties
A great technique for making patties is not to mix the meat too much. When seasoning, simply sprinkle on top of the burgers, and then gently fold in. You can test whether or not it’s fully mixed by removing a quarter-sized piece and using your palm to flatten it. Then, turn your palm downward. Meat that doesn’t stick means there’s more mixing to do. If it does stick, you can start making your patties.
So, how big should your patties be? Aim for patties about an inch bigger than the size of buns you’ll be using. You’ll also want to consider making patty edges about an inch thick. For diameter, aim for three to four inches.
Use cold water to wet your hands before picking up the beef and forming a ball. The ball should be packed fairly tightly, but not so much as to be overly dense. Once you’ve formed your ball, use your palm to press it down.
If you’re not confident about your patty-forming skills, you can use a round lid from a peanut butter or sour cream jar. Just be sure to cover it with plastic wrap beforehand if you’ll be replacing the lid when you’re done.
Pro tip: You can ensure that your patty cooks more evenly by using your thumb to create an indent in the center.
Your Grilling Surface – The Next Step to Delicious Burgers
Believe it or not, the cleanliness of your outdoor grill will make all the difference taste-wise. Make sure your grilling surface is as clean as possible by scrubbing with a grill brush.
Pro tip: You can prevent burgers from sticking during grilling by using sunflower, olive, or another oil to prepare your grilling surface. Simply pour some oil onto a paper towel, place into grilling tongs and pass over your grates.
The time it takes to get your grill to the right temperature will depend on the type of fuel you are using. A wood or charcoal grill will take approximately twenty minutes’ time to get up to temperature, where a gas grill can take between five and ten minutes to heat up.
Cooking Your Burgers
How long to cook your burgers on the grill will definitely depend on your grilling temperature, but also on how well done or not you prefer them to be. For this, there’s something called the 5-6-7 rule.
The 5-6-7 rule is basically as follows:
Rare burgers only require around 5 minutes on each side
Medium-rare burgers with a red and warm center will take about 6 minutes on each side.
Medium-done burgers usually require approximately 7 minutes to achieve that pink, warm center.
Well-done burgers with a hot center that’s slightly pink, on the other hand, will take around 8 minutes.
Of course, there are also many other factors beyond cooking time that will affect how your burgers look and taste.
Flip, or Press?
You’ve probably seen someone grilling on a movie or TV show. They open the lid, grab their spatula, and press down on the patty—but did you know that this is the completely wrong way to grill? It’s true. When you press down, what you’re doing is sending the fat directly out of your patty—and the flavor with it. The solution here is to flip, not press, your burgers. Frequent flipping is best for evenly cooked, juicy burgers.
Open or Closed?
Considering the aforementioned “frequent flipping” rule, you may wonder whether or not to keep your grill lid open while grilling. The answer is to keep it closed as much as possible; a closed lid will hold the heat and allow your grill to retain a more even temperature. Ultimately, this will make it much easier for you to stick to that 5-6-7 rule.
Other Useful Grilling Tips
There are many other ways you may never have thought of to achieve the perfect grilled hamburger.
You don’t have to rely solely on salt, pepper, and barbeque sauce to get a flavorful burger. You can also try incorporating cheese and herbs into your meat or even blending beef with pork or another ground meat. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your burger recipes!
If a cheeseburger is what you love, then knowing when to add the cheese to your burger will be crucial. The best time to do so is about one minute before your burger is done. Any sooner, and your cheese stands a good chance of becoming burnt. Any later, and you won’t get that gooey melt you’re after.
Here, again, you can exercise your creativity by experimenting with different cheeses.
Time is one of the most effective ways to get a delicious burger. Once they’re taken off the grill, allow them to sit for a minute or two. This resting time will help the juices to resettle through the meat, distributing flavor.
To add some must-have crunch and texture to your burger, consider toasting the buns to a golden brown. You can accomplish this by waiting until about 60 seconds before your burgers are done, and then placing the buns, buttered on both sides, onto the back of your grill.
Having a meat thermometer handy when you’re grilling is an absolute necessity, as is knowing how to cook different kinds of meat.
If you’re grilling chicken or turkey burgers outdoors, they’ll have to be well-done (meaning showing no pink) to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. The USDA recommends cooking beef (and fish) to a minimum of 145 degrees F, ensuring that salmon and other fish patties are opaque in the center before removing from the grill.
Your Grill Matters
Although your outdoor grill may have served you well for several years, its age can have a negative effect on your burgers and everything else you use it for. If it’s time to upgrade your grill, you’ll be happy to know that you can get the best of the best without a high price.
Green Mountain Grills are fueled by wood pellets and use a digital controller, auger motor, heat rod, combustion fan and firebox to ensure high heat, even grilling, and delicious flavor every single time. Get yours today at CAPO Building Specialities.