10 Grilling Tips That Will Make You the Burger Master

It’s time to earn your apron and sandals.

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August 04, 2021
By: Hadiya Presswood and Joseph Erdos

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With summer winding down, it's time to get those last hurrahs in and fire up the grill before the end of grilling season. What's more iconic for a backyard party than a juicy burger? If you want to be the best grill master on the block, you'll need to know how to prepare those burgers the right way.

Food Network has everything you need to know to grill moist and juicy patties — and not those hard and tough pucks that make everyone cringe. Every chef has their own method from how they form the patties to the dos and don'ts of grilling, but as you're getting started you don't want to read a lengthy instruction manual on the subject. Food Network's guide simplifies it for you with these ten tips that will ensure great results.

1. Use an 80/20 Beef Mix

Ground chuck that is 80% lean and 20% fat is a highly recommended combination, as the high fat content keeps the burger from drying out.

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Shape+Store Burger Press

Make a small ball and then flatten it into a patty. It increases the surface area for a tasty burger and reduces the height of the burger itself at the end, removing the awkward stretch-your-mouth task of eating it. If shaping is a bit of a struggle, you can use this mold to press the meat into patties and freeze overnight.

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Cuisinart CSBP-100 3-in-1 Stuffed Burger Press

Patties should be as wide as the bun and ¾ to 1 inch thick. Maybe every patty won’t be perfect, but you should be able to eyeball it and tell if the patty’s diameter matches the bun. If you decide to make stuffed patties or sliders, this burger press will help you rise to the challenge.

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BULL Grill Basket and Burger Press

Uniform patties cook closer to the same amount of time, allowing you to keep up with the hungry demands, and with this basket you can make multiple patties at once.

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5. Season at the Last Second

If you add seasoning (especially salt) to the meat too early then it dries it out. Season with salt and pepper right before the patties go on the grill to make sure your burgers are tasty and moist.

6. Make a Divot

The burger is going to expand and change shape while it cooks (the proteins inside the meat contract, making the sides smaller while the middle of the burger bulges). A divot in the middle of the burger will help it remain patty-shaped.

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Weber Genesis II SX-335 Gas Grill

Use a clean grill that heats properly. Residue can lead to patties getting stuck and hard to flip, and old food may lead to getting sick.

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OXO Good Grips Tongs and Turner Set

Don’t flip right away and don’t flip constantly. The patty needs time to sear and to cook on its own. Don't press the patty either. You’re squeezing out all of the juices that keep it moist.

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9. Use Ice

Pressing an ice cube into the divot adds moisture to the burger as it cooks, keeping it juicy and preventing overcooking.

Classic Thermapen

Everyone has their patty preference from rare to well-done. You need to be able to accurately measure the temperature to know what stage of cooking they’re at. For reference: rare is 125 degrees F, medium rare is 135 degrees F, medium is 145 degrees F, medium well is 150 degrees F and well done is 160 degrees F.

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