If you love beef, there’s nothing better than grilling steaks or hamburgers. Burgers are one of the most classic foods to prepare on your grill, perfect for a family dinner or entertaining a gathering of friends in the yard. Making burgers on the grill isn’t complicated, but it can be a little intimidating if you aren’t practiced at it. You don’t want to end up with dried-out, overcooked patties, after all. So, here are some helpful tips for grilling burgers to help you serve up some awesome eats on buns.
Tips for Grilling Burgers that Turn Out Great
- Scrape the grill grates clean beforehand. Dirty grates can impart an off flavor and even make your burgers get stuck, potentially falling apart when you try to remove them. If your grates are in bad shape, try this 3-step process for cleaning dirty grates.
- Work the ground beef as little as possible when seasoning and forming your patties. Overworking it detracts from the texture of the burger. Also, make an indention with a few fingers in the top of the patty. This creates a space for the meat to expand into; otherwise, the burger can break apart or come out too round.
- Grill cold beef patties. While steaks should be brought to room temperature before cooking, burgers do better if you cook them cold. This gives them more time to develop a nice crust without overcooking.
- Start your burgers on a hot zone or at high heat, then finish them in a cooler zone or over medium heat. This lets them develop a nice sear and cook through. If you use too much heat, the outside of the hamburgers will burn before the inside cooks through; if you don’t use enough heat, they’ll dry out, turn an unappealing grayish color, and probably stick to the grates.
- Just flip your burgers once, about halfway through the cook time. Don’t turn them until the underside has a nice crust and it doesn’t stick to the grates at all.
- Be ready for flare-ups. Dripping fat can cause them, but you don’t want to engulf your patties in flame or ignite them. If there are any flare-ups, quickly slide your burgers to the other side of the grill surface.
- For one of the most important tips for grilling burgers, don’t press down on the patties with your spatula or tongs! It might seem helpful for developing attractive sear marks or for cooking the meat faster, and “smash” burgers are popular these days, but when you press on the patties, you squeeze out their juices. This gets you much drier, less flavorful hamburgers. It can also get you flare-ups.
- Put the slices of cheese on right at the end. A typical beef patty needs to cook on the grill for about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Lay the cheese down right before time is up. It gets melty quickly, but it won’t get so liquefied that it runs off the burger.
- Don’t rest the burgers; serve and eat them right away. Steaks and other solid cuts of meat benefit from resting, which allows their juices to settle so they won’t bleed out when you cut into the meat. But the opposite is true with ground meat. The longer burgers sit, the more their juices run out.
- Top your burgers with an awesome sauce. Forget the standard ketchup, mustard, or barbecue sauce. Most of our unique sauces are perfect for a tasty twist on your hamburgers. For example, if you like some kick, go with our Ram Air Red Zesty Ketchup or our mustardy All Purpose Hot 455 Sauce. Or, for a total flavor party, use our 455 4 Barrel BBQ Sauce, made with bourbon, guava, and Cuban coffee, or our Havana Gold barbecue sauce.