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Chef Blog

How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

18 Mar 2022 0 Comments

Despite growing trends of ordering food from online restaurant delivery services, many young people have never taken the time to learn to cook. Yet, we are seeing a growing trend of middle-aged and slightly older people enjoying how to grill burgers at home for better-tasting results and superior economic savings. When grilling burgers at home, you can easily learn to become a grill master at making hamburgers with this ultimate burger grill guide.

How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Best ground beef to use for grilled hamburgers

There are select options for ground beef that you can buy at the supermarket, but not all of them are typically offered at certain outlets. The most common is ground beef, which is affordable and readily available. Other options are taken from select parts of the beef which will impact the flavor and quality of your hamburger that are worth noting.


Here are the four major types of ground beef which can help you determine the best selection of hamburger meat. Keep in mind that each of these selections will be subject to price and fat content in your grill burgers recipe.

Ground beef

This beef comes from just above the front leg of a cow known as the brisket and shank. This is beef that is typically full of fat and contains as much as 25 to 30% depending on the cuts used for most supermarket mixtures. This gives hamburger meat more flavor because of the fat, but this isn’t always the case. Some select meat processing plants will use selections of both the shank and brisket with trimmed fat that can make it lower quality.


In terms of taste, you want to look for at least 80% beef to 20% fat. This is commonly known as the 80/20. But if you're using ground beef, expect this mixture to be more like a 70/30 mix and still produce a tasty burger.


Ground chuck

When you see ground chuck being sold, this beef comes specifically from the beef shoulder and is leaner. By the standard of most hamburger enthusiasts, this is the best option for ground beef since this is the typical 80/20 mix that produces meaty grilled burgers that are less greasy. It’s also a better option for those who desire more lean meat if they’re sticking to a diet or keeping healthy.


Ground round

This beef comes from the cow's rump that sits above the rear upper leg. This is a lean meat with just 10 to14% fat content and will be labeled extra lean. This ground beef is best suited for those looking to avoid beef that’s high in fat but still has good flavor for health-conscious hamburger fans. As a grilled hamburger, it won't be as juicy as ground chuck or ground beef, so condiments will need to be added later.


Ground sirloin

This beef is found just before the round and is the most desired cut from beef. The fat content of ground sirloin is only 10% and is also considered extra lean. Since this is filled with loads of flavor grilled as a stand-alone steak, it tends to be much drier when grilled like a burger patty. For the price, it’s worth splurging if you want your hamburger meat to be as low in fat as possible.

 How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Shaping hamburger patties

In other words, what to add to ground beef to make the patty stick together better. And yes, let it be known that not all ground beef will apply to the laws of physics. Suppose you’re one of the luckier and older cooking fans. In that case, you might have seen your grandmother cracking open a raw egg into some ground beef before making meatloaf or even meatballs. As you may know or not know, an egg is a great binder protein that allows very dry ground beef to stick together.


Even with leaner cuts of ground beef, the lowered fat content will also mean hamburger meat that becomes crumbly when cooked on a grill. That is until you add a good binder to keep it from falling apart when put onto a BBQ grill or in a grilling pan. Alternatives sometimes have called for a bit of flour or breadcrumbs which help to some degree. A better suggestion is to use mashed chickpeas or black bean paste which also does the trick.


If you’re worried about odd flavor, put a small amount of diced onions or finely chopped button mushrooms into your ground beef that is a better substitute. The last suggestion is to use Aquafaba. This liquid comes from canned chickpeas and is an excellent binder that will keep your lean ground beef from separating and has no added flavor. This is a recent Vegan egg replacement discovery and works in place of a whole egg just fine.


Hamburger patty shapers

If you have round metal tins that are usually used for making pastry cutouts, choose one rounded form that's roughly the diameter of a tuna can. You technically use a cleaned tuna can if you don't have metal forms lying around. This will help you compact your ground beef without a binder and make a tidy-looking burger patty. Using a large plastic party cup as a disposable patty former in a pinch can also be used as a disposable patty former.


Use a bit of silicone parchment paper cut in small squares to separate patties that can stack onto each other. Place these patties into the fridge for 15 minutes to half an hour before grill them. This will allow the liquid within the ground beef to help bind the meat until it’s time to grill them.

 How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Secret tips for grilling the perfect burgers

One of the best tips for grilling burgers is to not season the meat until you're ready to grill them. Give each side of your patty a good seasoning of salt and pepper right before they go onto the grill. This ensures that the salt and pepper is not over-seasoning the meat and helps to make a good exterior flavor that builds into the grilled exterior of your burger. Salt is subjective to many opinions, but most grill pros like using coarse salt or kosher salt.


Pepper is best when it is freshly ground from a pepper grinder, so you don't have stale-tasting pepper. Be sure to have an adjustable pepper grinder for creating a fine grind that won't crack your fillings if you bite down on a large piece of peppercorn. If you decide to preseason your ground beef, adding garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika is considered the best seasoning to boost ground beef flavors.


If you prefer a bit of heat to your meat, use a dash of cayenne chili powder in your basic seasoning mix. Just don’t add the salt and pepper until you’re ready to grill your burgers. If you are using a BBQ grill, lightly brush a layer of oil before plopping them down. This will prevent your meat from sticking to the hot grill grates. The last tip is for adding cheese on top for one minute. This helps to melt the cheese before the patties rest for a few minutes.


When using BBQ grills, it’s always good to make sure they are clean, just like any grilling surface. If you don’t, this can make grilled burgers taste terrible. Another great tip is to toast the buns on the side where the burger will be placed. Excess oil or grease is perfect for making the toasted buns crispy and flavorful.


How long does it take to grill burgers?

It goes without saying that the bigger and thicker a burger is, the longer it takes to cook. This also has a bit to do with the temperature that's used for grilling, which will influence the total grilling time. Since there is a difference between BBQ grills and traditional grilling surfaces, issues with how burger patties are prepared can result in minor cooking problems. Here are some of the top issues that will make a big difference in your ultimate burger grill guide tips:


Patty thickness

It’s important to keep in mind that meat is cooked at any thickness when the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit. But that's not the point of grilling for appearance and level of doneness. Most burgers are formed into patties that are roughly inches thick to 1-inch thick while your typical fast-food hamburger patty is less than half an inch thick, so it cooks within a couple of minutes.


The average grill burger will take between 4 to 5 minutes with 2 to 2.5 minutes per side. This will give you a juicier burger with rare through medium-rare versions. Medium burgers take 6 or 7 minutes whereas well-done burgers take 8 or 9 minutes. This is on a grill that has reached 450 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit or essentially medium-high stovetop heat.


Patty preparation

You may have seen grilling programs where hamburgers are dimpled or have holes poked into the patty when it first is laid down. This creates a surface that prevents the patty from puffing up as it cooks. Since the meat does shrink as it cooks, your patty only needs a few dimples around the center to prevent puffing up. It also reduces the patty from getting misshaped as it cooks.


Flipping VS pressing

Another big 'Noob' move is to use your spatula in the wrong way. Sure, there are smash burgers purposely squishing the patty meat onto the grilling surface. If you already have pre-formed patties, you don't want to do this. It will compact the hamburger meat and make patties that are dense and tough to chew. You want to have space in between shrinking and melting catacombs of fat.


It's better to flip burgers so you can seal in the juices on each side and get a great char from the rapid cooking process. The rest of the time is spent reaching the desired amount of doneness. Pressing a thick burger will result in your patty losing more juices and will taste dry and have a tough texture.


Grilling surface

This is a matter of your grilling preference more than anything else. Grilling on a BBQ grate will give you a char-broiled surface with plenty of smoky flavors. A hot plate surface can include a skillet, griddle, or flat iron grill. One of the best indoor and outdoor surfaces is from using a simple cast-iron skillet. After this, a frying pan is good if you like to cook on a stovetop. There are also plenty of grilling machines, such as the George Forman grill…


It’s where you decide to grill that gives you the best results. Most grill enthusiasts will insist that an outdoor BBQ is the best, but who says that a stovetop burger can’t have great results. All that matters is that you are comfortable using a selected grill surface that you enjoy working around.

 How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Detailed Method: How to grill burgers?

This is a standard method that is the basis for cooking and grilling a hamburger patty. You can easily start and finish a single grill burgers recipe in just 5 minutes by following these simple steps.


1. Preheat a cooking surface to medium-high heat to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.


2. Add a hamburger patty no thicker than inches thick and 4 to 5 inches in diameter. The patty can also be formed to be slightly wider than a hamburger bun. This will shrink to fit as it cooks to fit into the bun.


3. Allow the first side to cook for 2 or 2.5 minutes on each side before flipping. This is repeated until you have equal sides that match. Cook each side longer for the desired degree of wellness or grilled exterior.


4. If you are toasting buns or adding cheese, this is done one minute before you finish your patty. Add a slice of cheese and let it melt before transferring it to a plate to sit for no more than 5 minutes. This allows the cooking to stop and flavors to develop. Turn off the heat source as needed.


5. The last step is building your burger, adding the patty onto a bun and building up the appropriate fillings that you like. This can include whatever your recipe calls for, such as lettuce, tomato, onions, and condiment sauces.


6. The hamburger is now ready to serve

 How to Grill Burgers: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Easy recipe: Grilled burgers

The most popular recipe for grilled burgers will vary from kitchen to kitchen, so preparing your ground beef is as simple as it gets. Start with the ground beef that you're looking to use. This can include a 70/30 or 80/20 mix and then be pre-seasoned with the desired spices. When making no more than four burgers, you can use one pound of ground beef to divide into 4 equal burger patties.


Mix all of these items by hand inside a medium-sized mixing bowl with the following ingredients:

• 1Lb ground beef

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1 teaspoon onion Powder

• 1 teaspoon Paprika (or seasoning salt)

• 1 teaspoon Cayenne chili powder (optional)

• 1 egg (if using lean ground beef)

• Salt and pepper to taste (right before grilling)

• 1 tablespoon oil (if grilling on a BBQ grill)


Separate and form your burgers by hand into 4 individual balls and then create patties slightly larger than your hamburger bun. Don’t worry about the patties being too big, they will shrink as they grill. Make sure that you create a patty that resembles a Smarties candy that dips down lower in the center of the puck-shaped patty.


Best grilling tools

Working in the kitchen is also going to include preparing some added ingredients that go into your grilled hamburger. Toppings such as onions and tomatoes require a good knife that will handle delicate tomato skins and chopping duties. Here are two essential knives to consider when making the best-grilled hamburgers.


Imarku Classic 8’ Chef knife

Made from a high-carbon stainless steel blade, this Chef knife is great for slicing and dicing and comes in 4 different wooden handle colors. If you've heard of Zwilling chef knives, this Chef knife surpasses the steel hardness giving you a total of 60 HRC as opposed to 55-58 HRC and features moisture-resistant Pakka wood imported from Africa.


Imarku Paring Knife 3.5”

Another essential knife that goes hand in hand with preparing ingredients for hamburgers is a good paring knife. This is perfect for making select cuts that are great with whole pickles, small onions, and the preparation of various side dish items that go with hamburgers. It can also work wonders for making fruit salad a cinch. It features high-carbon German stainless steel with an impressive 55+ Rockwell Hardness and razor-sharp edge from 12-15 degrees on each side.



• Are grilled burgers better on gas or charcoal grill?

Obviously, charcoal grills are better since a gas grill doesn't always have a smoky flavor from added wood. Optional kits can be added to gas grills to get a smoky flavor by adding wooden pellets and smoker tubes made special for gas grills. Knowing how to grill burgers on any outdoor BBQ can always taste better with authentic flavors.


• How do you not overcook grill hamburgers?

The best way to ensure that you don't overcook a hamburger patty is to chill your patties for at least 1-hour before grilling. This allows the inside of the ground beef to remain slightly cooler as the outside is grilled to perfection.


• What percentage of ground beef is better?

For juicier burgers, it's recommended to use 70/30 ground beef, but you can always get an excellent result with 80/20 chuck. Not everyone wants to have fatty burgers these days. There are many special tricks to keep your extra lean ground beef from drying as it cooks in the grill. This is fixed by adding chopped onion or mushroom to prevent patties from getting too dry.

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