There are seemingly endless ways to make a burger. You can top them with bacon and cheese. You can stuff them with bacon and cheese. You can mix hot sauce into the meat or you can mix in blue cheese or mustard.
But, at the end of the day, there are just a few basic techniques for how to cook a burger on the grill.
What meat to use for burgers
The first thing to know about grilling burgers is to pick one that has the right meat-to-fat ratio. When looking at ground beef (which is frequently chuck) at the grocery store, look for 80/20 beef for burgers. This still provides a good beefy flavor with enough fat to keep the meat moist as it cooks. Anything less than 80/20 will turn out dry.
If you’re going to the butcher for your burger meat, keep to the chuck at a coarse grind and an 80/20 ratio. This is what most grocery store ground beef is. However, you can go as low as 70/30 if you want a supremely juicy, fatty burger.
How to form burger patties
Once you have your meat, it's time to form patties. Make sure you handle it lightly — you don't want to overwork it. Form the patties into balls (we like a 6 ounce burger) and toss it from hand to hand until it's in a patty shape that's about 3/4 inch thick. Then, make an impression in the center of each patty with your thumb so they don't break while cooking.
What to add to burger meat
“Wait!” you may be asking, “What about adding spices and sauces into my burger meat?!” You can certainly do that if you feel so inclined. Many of our all-time favorite burger recipes add aromatics, seasonings, sauces and herbs into the meat. But a classic burger made with high-quality beef doesn’t need anything other than salt and pepper. Add the salt and pepper after forming the patties or while cooking for an authentically restaurant-style burger.
How to cook burgers on the grill
To grill burgers, start off with a clean grill. and heat it using zones. For a charcoal grill, this means having a section with more coals for direct heat and fewer coals for indirect heat. Start your burger in the hot zone to achieve a perfect crust and then move them to the cooler zone if they develop too much color too quickly.
Burgers don't take long to cook on the grill, just 8-10 minutes. If you're unsure, then use an instant read thermometer; it's highly recommended that you cook burgers to 160F to reduce risk of e. coli, but some folks like to live dangerously and stop at 145F for medium-rare.
Flip your burgers just once halfway through grilling. If you’re adding cheese to your burgers, do so with just 1 minute of cooking time remaining. It’s really just that easy! And once you have these basics down, read up on more tips and tricks to take your grilled burgers to the next level.
This recipe is courtesy of Beef - It's What's For Dinner.
1 pound ground beef
4 (1/2-inch) slices sweet onion
4 slices Swiss cheese
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
4 crusty rolls, split, toasted
Romaine lettuce, tomato slices (optional)
Step 1: Lightly shape 1 pound ground beef into four 3/4-inch thick patties.
Step 2: Coat 4 slices of onion with cooking spray.
Step 3: Place patties on grid over medium, ash-covered coals; arrange onion around patties.
Step 4: Grill, covered, 8 to 10 minutes (over medium heat on preheated gas grill, covered, 7 to 9 minutes) until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper after turning, as desired.
Step 5: About 1 minute before patties are done, top each with cheese.
Step 6: Combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard; spread on top and bottom halves of rolls.
Step 7: Serve burgers and onion in rolls with lettuce and tomato, as desired.
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