The Best Grilled Hamburger Recipe
What do you do when the temperatures reach 70 degrees in Pittsburgh, PA during the month of February? You pull out the grill and make the best grilled hamburgers!
We do love our grills here in Pittsburgh, and hate to put them away during the winter season! Sure there will always those “diehard” grillers out there in shorts and a t-shirt with 10 degree weather grilling their favorite burgers. But on these rare sunny and beautiful days in February, anyone can get out and enjoy their favorite summer foods.
This grilled hamburger recipe is delicious for any time of year when the need for a good juicy burger strikes!
To make the best possible burgers, always use a hamburger press. A burger press ensures even cooking and will retain moisture all the way through the cooking process.
You want your burgers about 3/4″ thick with a tiny indent in the middle.
How to Grill the Perfect Burger
Grilling the perfect burger is not hard, but it’s also not guaranteed.
The following steps will take you to ultimate burger success and get rid of the frustration that comes from grilling a burger that you can’t bite into and say “Wow, this is awesome”.
Start With the Right Meat
The first tip when grilling a perfect burger at home is to start with the right meat. You can use lean ground beef, or you can go for something more adventurous – like an 80/20 blend of sirloin and short rib. At my house we like to aim for perfection…so we always use 100% Black Angus. You can’t go wrong either way.
Salt and Pepper
Next, keeping it simple in the kitchen is important to enjoying great results on the grill. Two simple ingredients – salt and pepper – are all you need to season your meat prior grilling. Your ground beef should be room temperature before grilling, as this will allow the seasoning to mix into the meat.
How to Avoid Hamburger Collapse
What you don’t want to do is to make your burgers right on top of the grill and attempt to flip them with a spatula or tongs. This will lead to hamburger collapse (when your burger collapses while trying to flip) and ultimately add unwanted time between the raw and cooked phases.
To avoid hamburger collapse, first form a ball of ground beef and divide into two equal portions. Flatten each portion with your hands or a hamburger press so that you have two thin patties the same size. Forming your burger this way will ensure that it is perfectly round – which also ensures that it will retain its shape when flipping.
What Size Patty to Form?
You want your burgers about 3/4″ thick with a tiny indent in the middle. The diameter of the burger should be about 2 inches larger than the bun – this allows room for all of your toppings and a bit more.
PreLight that Grill
To grill the perfect burger, light your grill 30 minutes before you plan on cooking. If you are using charcoal, let the coals burn into nice hot red coals. If using gas, preheat to high for 10 minutes and then reduce to medium heat.
How Long to Cook the Perfect Burger?
Cook your burger for 3 to 4 minutes on one side, checking frequently to make sure that the heat is not too hot (if you have a thermometer on your grill or an infrared thermometer – it should be around 350 degrees). You want an even sear on all sides of the burger; when you see this doneness, remove the burger from the grill and place it on a large plate.
Yes, remove it from the grill before flipping it to cook on the other side. We recommend placing your burger on a large plate or platter and allowing it to rest for 2-3 minutes before bringing it back to the grill to finish cooking.
Once the burger’s juices have had time to redistribute and you can see a nice light pink color coming from the middle of your patty, it is ready to be placed back on the grill to cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the other side.
Make sure you have a good digital meat thermometer ready to check your burger’s heating process. Keep in mind that every grill is different so you may have to experiment a bit with temperature control to get it just right for you.
We know some people prefer a rare or medium rare burger, but to avoid any food safety issues ground meat should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
Add That Cheese to Your Hamburger!
After your burger has reached the perfect internal temperature, move it to indirect heat and get ready to add your cheese.
Now that your burger is exactly the way you want it – go ahead, throw on those toppings and cheese…
Several things: first, let’s talk about the amount of meat in comparison to toppings. A good rule of thumb is 1/3-1/2 pounds of beef for every 2 ounces of toppings (cheese and toppings in general). So if your burger is a pound, you’re looking at 3-5 ounces of cheese. If the beef patty is 1/3 lb or so, then consider just using 2 slices of cheese as it won’t really make much difference in construction.
Toppings For You Burger
Also, don’t over do things – some great combos include caramelized onions, a slice of pepper jack cheese and bacon. Another favorite is some spicy ketchup topped off with some fresh dill pickles (you can also dice up some sweet peppers for this). Some folks like to grill mushrooms on the side and top their burgers with these – we recommend adding mushrooms as this will add a ton of moisture to the burger.
Garlicky Ketchup – Mix ketchup and garlic powder
You Don’t Have to Have Your Hamburger on a Bun!
Go lo carb for a super-healthy meal. Serve with sliced cucumbers and fresh tomatoes.
We hope this helps you improve your grilling skills; if there is anything we missed or would like to hear other suggestions, feel free to contact us.