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Tips on How to Cook Perfect Hamburgers on a Grill

Written by Chronicle Staff. Posted in Featured

Published on May 24, 2017 with No Comments

Like many other grilling recipes, people just need to slow down and pay attention to details and technique to achieve burger grilling deliciousness.  Consider these key factors in hamburger grilling perfection.

Choose the right meat.

Here’s a newsflash, fat tastes good!  That may not be too politically correct, but it’s true.  You know that last burger you had at the restaurant, the one you said “man, my hamburgers never taste this good”.  I would bet my squirt bottle that the main reason theirs was better is that you feel guilty buying anything other than “lean” ground beef.  Quit fighting it, fat is delicious!  Need another reason, ok, we are in tough times and fatty meat is cheaper.  There, doesn’t the desire to save money seem to dull the desire to eat healthy?  I recommend ground chuck or ground sirloin for a good fatty ground beef.  Check the label and ask your butcher, you want about 20% fat or so.

Use high heat and cook them fast!

Like most thin meat products, it’s best to apply high and direct heat to your hamburger and cook it as fast as possible.  Leave the lid open, crank up the heat and don’t cook them too long or they will dry out.

Be gentle with that meat!

Most people really pack the patties tight and then flatten them down too much.  A loosely packed patty makes for a juicy hamburger!  If you pack your hamburger patties too tight, you run the risk of drying out the meat and making them tough.  The only thing we recommend you do to that patty is make an indentation.

Don’t “squish”!

PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE don’t EVER flatten or squish your burgers with a spatula while they are grilling.  You might as well pick it up with your hands and squeeze out all of the juices.  Because the burgers usually inflate or bloat in the middle during grilling.

Flip only once!

As meat cooks, the heat pushes the juices away from the heat source.  To achieve a juicy burger, you only want to flip the burgers once so that you don’t disrupt those juices any more than necessary.  Most people ask, how long do you cook hamburgers on a grill?  The short answer is “not too long”.  The real answer varies, based on the grill and the thickness of the hamburger, but one thing that does hold true is only flip once!

Don’t skimp on buns.

Why would you go through all of this trouble to learn how to make a better burger and then serve them between some bad buns?  Go with french hamburger buns from my grocery store’s bakery.

So that is the very high level break down of the reasons why most people screw up a perfectly good hunk of ground beef.

For more grilling information and recipes visit, www.grillingcompanion.com 

Get the grill going

• Go ahead and light the grill and set it up for direct grilling over high heat.

• Divide your ground beef into equal portions, based on how many patties you are going to make.  You want to end up with about a tennis ball sized portion of ground beef.

• Now gently form each divided portion of ground beef into a tennis ball like shape.  Don’t overdue it, don’t squeeze it, just get it into shape.

• Once you have your ground beef balls, gently flatten each ball to make your patty.

Now here is a secret.  You have probably experienced the “bloat” phenomenon.  To lessen the bloat, simply use your thumb and create an indention in the middle of the patty before you put it on the grill.  It doesn’t have to be too dramatic, just a little indention.

• For seasoning.  Keep it simple for now, a little Kosher salt, some fresh ground black pepper and perhaps a little garlic powder and you are good to go, just gently rub the seasoning into your patties. Some Worcestershire sauce in the indention.

• Ok, the fire is lit, your meat hasn’t been worked over too hard (other than a dent in the top) and you lightly seasoned your ground beef.  Carry those bad boys out and slide them onto the hottest part of the grill.  Our goal here is to sear the outside of the hamburger to form a great crust, while keeping the insides nice and juicy.

How long to grill hamburgers

• After about 5 or 6 minutes, or until you see juices start to collect on top of the patty. This is a sure sign that the meat is cooking through in the middle, which pushes the juices to the top. In addition, you will see the edges start to brown. Once the juices and browning show up, flip the burgers and grill an additional 3 minutes on the other side. Times depend on heat of the grill, so wait for the juices to tell you how long.

• The USDA recommends 160 degrees for all ground meat.  Don’t take a chance, use a good instant-read thermometer and check. If you are making cheeseburgers, now is the time to slap the cheese on and close the lid just long enough to melt the cheese.

• Remove the burgers from the grill and let them sit for about 5 minutes while you toast a few buns on the grill!

That’s it, that’s all you have to do to cook the perfect hamburgers on a grill. Simple, juicy and delicious! Again, your times will vary based on your grill and how you like your burgers.

 

Stuffed Burgers

In the race to make the better burger, the biggest hurdle has been coming up with something that is more than a plain ground meat patty in a bun. The answer to this is to stuff that patty. By putting things like cheese, mushrooms, or chili peppers inside the patty you can take your hamburger to a whole new level.

If you’ve ever tried to mix chopped veggies, or grated cheese into a meat patty you’ve found out that you end up with patty that falls apart on the grill.

The solution to this is to make two thin patties and place the goodies in between. This way the patty holds together while being flipped on the grill.

The process is simple. Start by deciding how many burgers you want to make. Divide the meat you are using into twice as many pieces. Don’t add anything to the meat that might make it less dense. Press each piece out into a normal sized patty but about a quarter inch thick.  You can roll-out each patty between wax paper. Now you’re ready to stuff the patties.

What you put in the patty should be small in size and portion. If you over-stuff it, it will come apart on the grill. You should also try to avoid anything that has a lot of moisture. Grated cheese, blue cheese, chopped peppers, chopped and sautéed mushrooms work great. Practically anything you like on a burger will work. Once you have the stuffing ready, place it in the center of one patty. Spread it out, leaving plenty of room all around the edges.

Place the second patty on top and press the edges together. Make sure that you have a good solid patty that isn’t more than an inch thick.

With the patties ready, follow the same basic method for grilling a hamburger. Start with a very hot grill, let the patty release from the cooking surface and be gentle with the flipping.

If you do it right, you should only have flip the patties once. Serve with your favorite toppings and watch the surprise on people’s faces as they bite into these wonderful hamburgers.

Fun Fact:

Americans will consume 100 million pounds of beef over the Memorial Day holiday weekend…

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