How To Grill Burgers Perfectly Every Time, According To A Chef

Summer is grilling season, and one of the most delicious staples is a thick, juicy burger. The problem is, getting a well-cooked, well-seasoned, and perfectly formed burger is easier said than done. Mastering burger cooking takes some technique, so we asked two experts for their top tips for cooking the best burgers on your grill this summer.

Whether you’re a newbie to grilling or a grilling master looking for some extra tips, here’s what you need to know. Read on and for more, don’t miss The absolute best way to cook a steak on the grill, according to culinary experts.

Meat quality is important, so choose wisely

A good burger starts with good meat so choose wisely. “While lower-fat ground meats may provide some health benefits, the fat plays a role in flavor and helps patties hold their shape,” says Amber Pankonin, MS, RD, LMNT, CECRegistered Dietitian and Executive Chef.

She suggests you find a local butcher to buy from so you know where the meat comes from and when the meat was ground. “The fresher the meat, the better your burger will be,” says Pankonin.

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Use 70/30 ground beef

According Laura Mason, chef and creator of Love Chef Laura, the best lean to fat ratio is 70/30. “Buy ground beef with 70% lean meat and 30% fat. This ratio can be found in any grocery store. The higher fat content will give you a great juicy, flavorful burger,” says Mason.

If you can’t find 70/30 ground beef in the fresh meat section of your grocery store, ask the butcher behind the counter. “They usually have no problem creating custom meat orders,” adds Mason.

The size of the cake should match the bun

woman forming a hamburger patty

The burger patty should match or fill out the bun you pair it with. “It’s important to remember that the patty will shrink during baking, so keep that in mind, especially when choosing the right loaf size,” says Pankonin.

She notes that the perfect patty before baking should ideally weigh between 6 and 8 ounces if you’re using a regular-sized bun. “Buy a scale to keep your burger patties nice and uniform in size and shape, as it can also help when it comes to cooking,” says Pankonin.

Press a thumb-sized indentation in the center of the burger patty

This trick will help keep your burgers from puffing up. “When burgers are cooked on the grill, they tend to puff up and become round. Placing a small indentation the size of your thumb in the center will prevent this rounding and ensure your burger stays flat and cooks evenly,” says Mason. “When forming burger patties, gently press your thumb down the center, being careful not to poke a hole.”

Season with kosher salt and pepper

season the burger patty with salt and pepper

You don’t need a lot of fancy seasonings when it comes to beef burgers. “If you choose to add multiple seasonings or other ingredients, it becomes a meatloaf, not a burger,” says Pankonin.

Season only after forming the patties

“Only the season after the formation of the patties and not before,” says Pankonin. “Lightly sprinkle a layer of kosher salt and pepper on both sides. In fact, you can season after placing the patties on the grill or pan and then again after flipping them.

Unless it’s a smashed burger, don’t smash it

Smashing is prohibited on the grill. “Once you have quality meat and have formed the right amount of meat into a flat patty, there is no need to smash the burger once you place it on the grill. This can dry out the meat and result in a dry, tougher burger,” says Pankonin.

RELATED: 7 Restaurant Chains That Make The Best Smash Burgers

The less you handle the meat, the better

“If you choose to flatten or smash once you’ve placed it on the grill or pan, smash it early so you don’t disrupt the cooking process, and only return to the grill once. using a stainless steel spatula,” says Pankonin.

Use a meat thermometer to measure the correct temperature

meat thermometer in a burger on the grill

It is important to cook burgers at the correct temperature to avoid foodborne illness. “It’s the one mistake I see so often in grilling! The grill master doesn’t know if the burgers are rare, medium, or well done, so they’ll cut into the burger, creating a crumbly mess,” says Mason “If you’re not sure when a burger is at your desired doneness, use a meat thermometer to guide you.”

Pankonin adds that a burger is not the same as a steak when it comes to avoiding foodborne illnesses, as grinding the meat can pick up bacteria and distribute them throughout the product. .

“Cook your burger to 155°F, pull, then let the carryover process heat up to the recommended temperature of 160°F for ground meats,” she says.

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