How to Grill Hamburgers

Hamburgers on the Grill

Simple Grilling Tips
that Make All the Difference

Are your hamburgers clinkers? Dome-burgers? Flavorless? Well, this is how to grill hamburgers Goldilocks style..."just right," with simple tips that make all the difference.

Choosing the right meat, the proper temperature for the grill and grill prep, even the shape of the patties contribute to those perfect, juicy hamburgers that will make you proud to serve ground meat.

How to Grill Hamburgers

(Check out our sister page for great grilled hamburger recipes. )

Select the best meat:
In short, ground chuck with about 20% fat content (80% lean) is perfect for hamburgers. Not too dry, not too greasy. Even more expensive cuts of meat do not produce better burgers.

Roughly 6 ounces of meat per patty is just right, not too big, not too small. Figure 1 1/2 pounds of meat for every 4 hamburgers.

Prepare the meat:
Handle the meat as little as possible; form the patties loosely. Squishing and smashing do unpleasant things to a hamburger's texture and juiciness.

For uniform flavor throughout the patties, mix the seasoning into the meat. First, break up the ground meat a bit, creating a larger surface for the seasoning. Whenever possible, include other flavorings and goodies like sauces, crumbled or grated cheese, and chopped onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc., right in the mix.
Great Grilled Hamburger Ideas

Divide your meat mixture into equal (6-ounce) portions. Lightly form each portion into a ball, then gently press into 3/4 inch thick patties. To prevent "dome-burgers" press a well into the center of each patty to about 1/2 inch, starting about 1 inch from the edge. (It's a shrinking collagen thing.)

Prepare the grill:
Preheat the grill well, to medium-high heat. (You should be able to hold your hand 5 inches above the grate for 3 to 4 seconds.) For gas grills, preheat with the lid down. For charcoal grills, the coals should have a fine dusting of gray ash when hot enough.

Grill the hamburgers:
Brush the grate with cooking oil, then transfer the seasoned patties to the grill, hole-side up. Sear the first side, about 2 to 2 1/2 minutes. (Again, lid closed for gas grills, open for charcoal.) Turn and cook the patties' other side, never pressing on them:

  • Rare: 2 minutes
  • Medium-rare: 2 1/2 minutes
  • Medium: 3 minutes
  • Shoe leather, I mean, um, Well-done: 4 minutes

And that's how to grill hamburgers just right. Yay, no more clinkers and dome-burgers!

Back to Picnic and Barbecue Recipes

How to Grill Hamburgers' Sister Page: Gourmet Hamburger Recipes

How to Cook Filet Mignon

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