The burger spread at a BBQ always thrills my taste buds. I’m constantly brainstorming ideas for how to build my dream burger, calculating the ideal number of lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onion rounds, and condiments to stack and slather on top. But really, a perfectly juice, perfectly charred and lightly caramelized burger starts with a perfect beef patty — and preparing one is easier than you think. Here’s how to grill high quality, juicy burgers that will delight your guests at all of your summer BBQs.
What is the secret to juicy hamburgers?
A juicy and delicious burger wouldn’t be possible without the right meat-to-fat ratio, which ensures the patty doesn’t dry out on the grill. Butcher shop owner Paul Vaccari tells HuffPost.com that his most popular request for burger meat is 80/20 ground chuck (80 percent meat, 20 percent fat).
This combination comes from the shoulder and neck areas of the cow, and it’s perfect for high-heat, shorter cooking methods like grilling. “That [80/20 ground chuck option] is what produces that juicy, flavorful burger people look for,” Vaccari says.
Another meat option worth considering is Wagyu beef. In recent years, Wagyu beef has gained popularity because of its unique high fat marbling and intense umami flavor, two things that make it ideal for special occasion burgers (and distinguish it from other types of beef).
So, while you’re at the meat counter, look for these two kinds of ground meat — preferably with a 80/20 meat ratio. If you’d rather have burger patties shipped directly to your door, order through Chop Box, a high-quality meat and seafood delivery service. They allow you to curate food boxes with their signature Steakhouse Burgers (Buy from ChopBox.com, on-sale for $4.99) and Wagyu beef patties (Buy from ChopBox.com, on-sale for $8.99).
How do you make sure burgers don’t stick to the grill?
A burger sticking and falling apart on the grill is a cooking nightmare. Luckily, you can avoid it by following this simple suggestion from chef and cookbook author Adam Perry Lang.
“After you form your patty, dab it with a paper towel and make sure it’s as dry as possible. Season it, then put a very thin coat of canola oil,” he tells Thrillist.com. This quick step helps the burgers slide off the grates with ease when it’s time to turn and remove them.
What should I season my burgers with before grilling?
Simplicity is best when seasoning burgers – especially if you plan on topping them with flavorful fixings. A generous pinch of salt and black pepper on both sides before placing them on the grill is all you need. This is true whether your patties are homemade or purchased preformed.
You can also shape the patties yourself by seasoning the meat in a bowl, gently mixing it together, and then forming the burgers. Sprinkle the outside of the patties with a final touch of salt and pepper just as they’re about to be grilled.
How long should I grill my burger on each side?
The grilling experts at Charbroil note that your burger’s cook time depends on its thickness and your preferred doneness. They also suggest forming patties that are about 3/4 inch thick and creating a small dent in the middle, as that helps keep the burgers flat and ensures they cook evenly.
Here’s Charbroil’s handy guide to burger cook times for a high, direct heat method like grilling. Note: You can top the patties with thinly sliced cheese during the last two minutes of cooking, as varieties like American and cheddar will melt quickly.
- Medium-rare: Cook one side 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 4 minutes.
- Medium: Cook one side 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 5 minutes.
- Medium well: Cook one side 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 6 minutes.
- Well done: Cook one side 3 minutes. Flip and cook an additional 7 minutes.
(Tasty Tip: Just before flipping your burger, smear its face up side with one tablespoon yellow mustard to create a tangy, crispy crust!)
Need another way to make flipping and removing burgers a breeze? Use a tool like OXO’s Good Grips Grilling Turner (Buy from OXO.com, on-sale for $12.99), which is made with durable, rust-resistant stainless steel and has a wide, beveled head that slides smoothly beneath each patty.
How long should burgers rest after grilling?
Similar to other meats (like steak or chicken), burgers must rest after coming off the grill. This allows the proteins in the burger’s meat to relax while the juices reabsorb into the burger — we know it’s hard to wait before digging in, but letting the burger rest makes for the most moist and tender bite.
The professionals at Cook’s Illustrated recommend letting your burgers rest for five minutes, tented with foil and on a cooling rack. After that, they are ready to serve alongside your favorite buns and toppings.
What should I drink with my burger?
A burger is plenty good on its own, but it’s even better when paired with the right drink — more specifically, wine… to toast to summer, to holidays, to whatever!
At under $20, Double Black Red Blend by 1924 (Find near you at 1924Wines.com) is a budget-friendly option. It features plum, dark chocolate, toasted marshmallow, and allspice flavors that pair especially well with charbroiled bacon cheeseburgers.
With these grilling tips, you’ll be the burger hero of your 4th of July BBQ (and every other backyard party you host). And if you want to enjoy leftovers the next day, check out this handy “how to reheat burgers” guide. They’ll taste like they just came off the grill!
Looking for additional grilling tips? Check out these stories:
- How to Grill Chicken So It’s Juicier and More Flavorful To Serve at Your Next BBQ
- How to Grill Fish and Other Types of Seafood So It’s Perfectly Flaky and Tender
- How to Grill Steak and Get Juicy, Tender, Flavorful Meat Every Single Time
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