How to Grill the Perfect Burger

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

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April 30, 2023
The Perfect Burger
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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.

Making the Patties

What's the Best Ground Beef to Use for Burgers?

The best burgers are made from freshly ground, high-grade beef chuck in an 80/20 mix (meat to fat). This is just the right ratio to keep your burger patties juicy but not falling apart. Since burgers are made from minimal ingredients, the beef you use makes a real difference in flavor. It's worth shelling out for a nice pick, whether that's grass fed or something from your local butcher.

Start With the Right Beef

How to Season Burgers

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. After forming the patties, and right before grilling, you'll season the outside of the burgers again with salt and pepper.

Perfect-Burger Secret Tip

How to Form Burger Patties

The cardinal rule for grilling the best burger is shaping it. You don’t want to overwork the meat as this could lead to tough patties.

Pull on some disoposable rubber gloves if you have them so you're not handling raw meat and also to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands. Grab 5 to 6 ounces of meat and lightly toss from hand to hand, forming a ball. The patty should be at least as wide as your bun and about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.

Another quick and easy way to form patties? Divide the meat into equal-sized piles. Place a pile on the top of a deli container lid. Take a second deli container lid and place the top of it against the meat. Press down evenly and firmly and watch as a perfect patty forms.

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.

How to Grill Burgers, Step-By-Step

Step 1: Leave the Burgers In the Fridge Until Your Grill Is Ready

Take a stroll through the Internet, and you'll notice conflicting advice: some people recommend you let your burgers come to room temperature, while others tell you to cook your burgers straight from the fridge. To iron out the confusion, we consulted our test kitchen. "I always do mine straight from the fridge. I think they are more stable and makes it easier to grill. Also, if they sit at room temp the fat starts to render sooner which will cause flareups sooner when on the grill, which could potentially leave your burger a bit too charred," explains recipe developer Emily Weinberger. Test Kitchen Executive Chef Ginevra Iverson seconds this opinion, adding: "As the burgers warm, especially if you have one with a higher fat content, they will render too quickly leaving you with a dryer burger."

Step 2: Preheat the Grill

You might be wondering: what's the best grill temperature for burgers? You want to cook burgers quickly to achieve a crispy exterior and juicy exterior, so preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high over direct heat. 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.

Get Grilling

Step 3: Add the Burgers to the Grill

Pull your burgers from the fridge and season the outside with salt and pepper. Put the burgers on the grill, indentation-side up and let them be. The less touching, the better the burger. For a juicier burger, resist the urge to press down.

Time to Flip

Step 4: Flip the Burgers

It's time to flip when the burger releases from the grate without sticking. Another way to tell: when they're marked on the bottom, about 5 minutes.


Step 5: How Long to Grill Burgers

Now you'll grill the burgers on their second side. If you're making cheeseburgers, add the cheese during the last minute of cook time and cover the grill to melt it. But how long do you grill burgers, anyway? For 8 ounce burgers cooked over medium-high heat, consult the following chart.

Medium Rare Burgers: Cook them about 7 minutes until the internal temperature reads 135 degrees F.

Medium Burgers: Cook them about 8 minutes until the internal temperature reads 145 degrees F.

Well Done Burgers: Cook them about 9 minutes until the internal temperature reads 150 degrees F.


Step 6: Top the Burgers and Eat Immediately

Transfer the burgers to a plate, place the patties on buns, add your other toppings and eat them immediately. Don't rest your burgers first, as some recipes might instruct you to: you're not going to be slicing them like traditional meat, so it's better to eat them while they're piping hot then wait to let the juices redistribute. Need topping inspo? Check out 50 topping ideas from Food Network Magazine.

Burger Recipes On the Grill

The Best Grilled Burgers

Our trick for forming the patties is a real time saver, especially if you are cooking for a crowd. You can also form them the day before; place in an airtight container with parchment paper in between to help with party-day prep.

Perfect Burger

Bobby's Flay's Perfect Burger recipe from Food Network needs only a handful of ingredients, a hot grill and toasted hamburger buns.

Cheese Stuffed Burgers

These burgers are stuffed with cheese and topped with cheese spread for double goodness.

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