Hamburgers are one of my favorite subjects, and having a full belly with salty, greasy goodness is one of my favorite feelings. Who says you can’t be glutenous and have a great day outdoors?
Spring, summer, and fall are my favorite barbeque seasons for hamburgers, because you can usually count on great weather. Winter not so much, the cold just makes you want to have some piping hot soup.
But today we’re talking burgers and specifically the best grilling tips for perfect burgers, the favorite meat between two pieces of bread that’s a delight to eat.
It starts with Your Hamburgers Ingredients
In cooking the perfect hamburgers, there comes a time where you don’t have what you need and so you substitute something old with what you have already.
Using old with hamburgers is that same time that your recipe was a disaster because it just didn’t taste right. Freezing meat is great for hamburger helper, but for something where the quality of the meat is going to be your primary objective, it’s not great.
So, you want to start with fresh, not-frozen meat. There are a couple different blends of beef, but I’ve found the 80% meat (20% lean) to be the tastistiest. The brand of beef doesn’t matter, just as long as it isn’t something strange like turkey meat, because it just won’t taste right.
You’ll also want fresh, not stale buns. Something that can absorb some juice but leave your hands almost dry, but at the same time, a bun that won’t suck all the juice out like a vampire on his wedding night.
For salad greens, go with something classic like lettuce or spinach. You don’t want something that’s overly bitter like collards or kale – most people won’t even eat those greens raw.
For your veggies, go with a nice, juicy tomato – but not a roma tomato nor cherry tomatoes, something that’s big and meaty. For a burger, you want to slice 1-2 thin slices of purple onion. Not white onion – it’ll be too sharp and biting, and not yellow onion, because it’s not bold enough. Purple onions are the sandwich onions, and we’ll want purple for our meaty sandwich.
Lastly, you’ll want to include a pickle on the side. Many people make the mistake of cooking their own burger and just slapping relish on top, but it takes away from the flavor, and most relish is going to be coming from a container that’s been sitting in the refrigerator for years past its sell by date.
Go classic with a real, normal pickle quarter or at least a pickle slice. And set that bad boy on the edge of the plate, so the hungry man, woman, or child can choose what they want to eat and how they want to eat it.
Season your Beef
Once you’ve got your never frozen hamburger meat, you’ll want to take it out of the package and place it in a mixing bowl. Unless you’ve got your own special seasoning recipe, you can go with the classic seasonings of one teaspoon of salt, pepper, soy, and oregano – all of that per pound of meat.
When you mix it up, you don’t want to use a utensil, but to rather use your clean hands. You want to keep the mixture light and airy, like a delicate meat ball. Don’t over-mix because that clumps everything together and removes the air-pockets that make the meat cook tenderly with wonderful juices. If you want, you can roll them into balls and then into patties. An old trick to this is to have wet hands. Try to have each patty be as close to the same size and weight as possible.
Having all the patties be the same size helps you to be consistent with your grilling and to get them all off the grill and into your hungry family’s hands about at the same time. The condition of one patty is the same as them all, so you won’t have to stress checking and re-checking every single patty. After all, grilling is supposed to be relaxing, even fun.
Once your patties are formed, put them back into the fridge until the very moment you need to take them out to the grill. This helps your meat to stay juicier. It also helps to prevent some bacteria growth due to warming to room temperature.
Prep the Grill For your Burgers
You want your grill to be ready and hot. If you can only hold your hand 2 inches above the grilling surface for 2 seconds because of how hot it is, then your grill is ready.
Make sure that your grill surface is clean and doesn’t have large chunks of last time’s grilling session. You’ll also want to make sure that your grill is oiled with cooking oil spray or grill spray. Just make sure that what you are spraying is for cooking, not for cleaning.
If you have a gas grill, keep the lid down, covering the grill as you cook. With a charcoal grill, take the grill lid off and leave it off.
Burger Meat Grilling Technique
Once you drop your burgers onto the hot grill, you want to leave them alone. Don’t be flipping back and forth or excessively checking. Don’t be moving them around to different angles, don’t move them to different places, and don’t try to squish your carefully aired meat with your grill implements. Your goal is actually to flip and move them as little as possible, so aim for 1 flip.
Provided your burgers aren’t overly thick, you can use the guideline of 2-3-4-5, which is 2 minutes each side rare, and 1 minute more for each done-ness above that, so that 5 minutes per side is your well-done.
Once the meat is done, you’ll want to let it rest like any other meat for about 5-10 minutes. If you’re worried about keeping the meat hot, you can cover your patty plate with aluminum foil to lock in the heat and juices.
And Stick your Cheese on Top!
Now that everything’s cooked and ready, all that’s left to do is to assemble it. Try not to get the buns wet from the juices from the patty plate, only whatever directly comes off the hamburger.
Follow these grilling tips for perfect burgers and you should have yourself some real winners!
Do you love to grill? If you do, then you are on the right website. I am Tadej Kožar and I have a passion for grilling and I know how important it is to get the right grill. There are many different kinds of grills these days and I will help you to find the one that will suit your cooking needs and wishes.