How to Make a Perfect Burger: A Step-by-Step Guide

Here are the tips you need for cooking the best possible burgers in your own backyard.

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Step-by-step photos

The Perfect Burger 02:44

Burger-making is an art that's easy to master with a few tips.

Some burgers are just better. It's all in the technique — how you form it and how you grill it.

Start With the Right Beef

Start with the Right Beef
The best burgers are made from freshly ground, high-grade beef chuck in an 80/20 mix (meat to fat). Spread the beef out flat and season with salt and pepper. If you have a secret ingredient like Worcestershire sauce or chopped bacon, add it now. Toss together gently. You don't want to overmix.

Making the Patties

Making the Patties
Grab 5 to 6 ounces of meat and lightly toss from hand to hand, forming a ball.

Pat It Into a Disk

Pat It Into a Disk
The patty should be at least as wide as your bun and about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

Perfect-Burger Secret Tip

Perfect-Burger Secret Tip
Make a divot in the middle of the burger with your thumb to help it keep its shape while cooking. These patties can be made ahead and chilled in the fridge.

Get Grilling

Get Grilling
Preheat the grill to medium or medium-high over direct heat. Oil the grate with a neutral-flavored oil like canola or vegetable. When the oil begins to smoke, it's hot enough to add the burgers. Make sure your burgers are at room temperature, and season them again with salt and pepper. Put the burgers on the grill and let them be. The less touching, the better the burger. For a juicier burger, resist the urge to press down. Cover the grill.

Time to Flip

Time to Flip
It's time to flip when the burger releases from the grate without sticking.

Doneness

Doneness
For medium burgers, cook for about 5 minutes per side. For well-done, go a little longer.

Toppings

Toppings
To add cheese, move the burgers to the cooler side of the grill, top with cheese and cover the grill for a minute to let the cheese melt. Place the patties on buns, add other toppings and serve.

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