BrewnBBQ: How to Grill a Burger


July 23, 2012 by burkej09

One of the first things any grillmaster should know is how to properly grill a burger. Here are some tips for a great juicy burger!

1. Buy fatty meat for your burgers

I know, this is counter-intuitive, but the fat is what makes a good juicy burger. Also, the fattier the meat, the less expensive it is. Look for about 80% burger. If you’re not sure what this means, look at the packaging on the meat next time you go to the store.

2. Try not to overwork the meat

Playing with hamburger meat can quickly take you back to your childhood when you played with Playdoh. Don’t play with the hamburger meat like it’s Playdoh! Pull off a chunk from the package and roll it into a puck in your palms. For a consistent size patty, line a peanut butter lid with Saran wrap and smash the meat into it. This is the time to season your burger with salt and pepper, and maybe some other spices you have around. Paprika is a good suggestion. Always do more pepper than salt, but find the right ratio!

3. Do your burgers plump in the middle and look like softballs?

After you make the patties, lightly press your thumb into the middle for an indentation. This will prevent your patties from plumping.

4. Let the burgers cook, quit flipping them! (and don’t smush them!)

Preheat the grill to medium heat. You can lightly oil the grate so your burger won’t stick when you do go to flip. However, if the burger is sticking to the grate when you don’t oil, it’s because it’s not ready to flip!
Place the burgers over the burners and close the lid. Let the grill work. You can quickly lift the lid every once in awhile to check on the status, but stay away from smashing them with your spatula. Doing that releases all the juices from the burgers. You probably notice the fat dripping out of the burger as it cooks. If you watch closely, you will see the burger turn brown from the bottom to the top. The burgers are ready to flip when the tops become brown. You may notice some juice and fat have accumulated inside your little indentation. Try to only flip your burgers once during the cook time. After you flipped, keep the lid down and let them cook another 5 minutes or so. You will know when they’re done when they slide off the grate rather easily. You can also press the center of the burger with the corner of your spatula to make sure the juices run clear.

With these few tips, you will notice a much better quality burger when you are done. Don’t forget to throw the buns on the grill in the last two minutes to toast them! Check back soon to find great hamburger recipes!


4 thoughts on “BrewnBBQ: How to Grill a Burger

  1. nomnomnom says:

    Hey, I commented on your Buffalo Wild Wings recipe a while ago and I’ve been exploring some of your other stuff as well since you seem to know what you’re doing! I’m still in school and in an apartment so I’m working with an electric George Foreman-type grill and I’ve been trying to make the burgers taste a bit better. I’ve tried playing around with some spices (paprika, chili powder, onion powder, etc.) but it’s all a little meh. Do you think adding some liquid smoke would give it more fire-grilled taste? Or do you have any other tips that might just make a plain burger a little better? Thanks for all the posts!

    • burkej09 says:

      Just so you know, I haven’t forgot about your post. I’ve actually been asking around with people I know who live in condos downtown Chicago to see how they imitate a grill inside. I know some of them have balconies, and grill out there, but some of them do not and love grilling. Off the top of my head, I would recommend getting a flat skillet similar to this:

      I am actually trying to get enough suggestions from people that I can put a post together for you đŸ™‚

      • nomnomnom says:

        Hey, thanks! I appreciate it! Summer was nice with outdoor grilling but soon we’re back inside, sadly. A flat griddle might definitely help.

        I’ve also been experimenting with the Honey BBQ sauce recipe you posted, I might follow up with my own variation if I get something interesting eventually.

      • burkej09 says:

        A flat griddle is the best way to go indoors. As an added tip, once the burger is almost done, throw cheese on it, throw ice around the burger, and put a metal pot lid on top of the burger. This creates steam that makes a very juicy, tender burger! A lot of diners do this and will even put diced onions in the ice to create an aroma.

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