How To Cook the Perfect Burger

The perfect burger should be grilled on your backyard barbecue. Making the perfect burger is easy, if you follow these simple tips:

Ingredients and supplies:

  • Fresh ground beef (see instructions)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Good quality hamburger buns
  • Cheese, tomatoes, and other burger toppings
  • Barbecue grill
  • Wire grill brush
  • Barbecuing spatula


  1. Choose the right kind of beef. Start with the freshest ground beef you can find. For best results, use ground chuck, which comes from a single cut of beef and is usually the most flavorful kind of ground beef. Use a type with a fat content of at least 15 to 22 percent. This will ensure that the burger will be juicy. While lower fat percentages are healthier, they won’t be as flavorful. If you like your burgers well-done, a higher fat content will also allow you to cook them longer without the burgers drying out. Freshly ground meat will form better patties than older meat or meat that has been stored in your freezer.
  2. Form patties carefully. Use cold (refrigerated) ground beef for your patties, not room-temperature beef. Form them gently; do not pack your patties together or work with the ground meat too much. This can change the texture of the burgers, making them dense and tough. Each patty should use about half a pound of beef. Form into a ball, and then press into a flat patty. They should be about 1/2” or 3/4” thick, with a diameter about 1/2” larger than the buns you plan to use. Try to make each patty about the same size, so that they will cook evenly. Finally, season each patty with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Prepare the grill. Start with a clean grill. Build a hot fire before placing the patties on the barbecue. Be patient; allow the grill to fully heat, which can take up to ten minutes, before adding the burgers. For best results, grill chilled patties on a medium-hot grill. You may also want to brush the grill with a little vegetable oil, especially if you usually have trouble with meat sticking to the grill.
  4. Grill the burgers. Grill the burger patties over direct heat, in the center of your barbecue. Cook for about 4 minutes per side, flipping once. Do not press down on the burgers with your spatula as they cook. This will just squeeze out the juices, leaving your burgers dry. To check for doneness, either use an instant-read food thermometer, or carefully poke the center of a patty with the spatula. Finally, consider toasting the buns on the warming rack of your barbecue.
  5. Serve. Serve your burgers on fresh, high-quality buns. Toppings and condiments may include cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, or mayonnaise.

The perfect burger is easy to make, especially with some practice. Why not get out the barbecue grill and start making perfect hamburgers today?


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