How to Grill a Better Burger
Looking to grill – and build – a better burger this summer? We’ve got eight easy-to-implement tips that’ll have you serving the mouthwatering gourmet burger of your dreams this weekend.
Lucky for us, our founder Andy Chapman is a grill-master, frequently getting asked to share his tips and tricks on talk radio and in lifestyle publications. This summer, use his tips and secret ingredients to grill a better burger.
How to Grill the Perfect Burger
Tip #1 – Great Burgers Start with Great Beef.
I use 80/20 ground chuck beef on the grill, but you can use 70/30 ground beef with good results, if it’s high quality meat. But don’t go the other direction (ie. less fat.) Bottom line: the fat cooks out anyway, and it drips through the grill grates. But fat leaves behind a more juicy burger.
Tip #2 – Don’t Overwork the Meat.
The longer you squeeze and shape the meat the more it will lose the texture provided by the grinding process. In short, the meat’s texture will change into a less pleasant version of itself. Shape the meat into a patty and move on.
Tip # 3 – Make Patties About 25% Larger
Form your beef patties about 25% larger than you think they need to be – which should be about 25% larger than your chosen bun (see below). Burgers shrink when they get cooked, so plan accordingly.
>> Shopping + Cooking Shortcut
Want to short cut my first three tips and get straight to the cooking part? We’ve become big fans of the pre-formed, fresh, never frozen Black Hawk Farms Burger from Butchery Fresh that’s delivered to our door ice cold. Turns out, these burgers are preferred by lots of award-winning chefs, too.
Tip #4 – Over Season. Both Sides.
Season just a bit more than makes your comfortable. It may look like a lot, but when you put a rub or seasoning on raw burgers patties, remember that, unfortunately, a lot of it will fall into the fire leaving very little cooked into the actual meat. So, don’t be too scared of the seasoning. And don’t forget to season both sides of your patty, too!
Tip #5 – Avoid Seasonings with Onion or Garlic.
If it’s among the first ingredients listed on your seasoning or rub ingredients list, you will run the risk of having a burger that simply tastes burned after being seared on a hot grill surface. The natural sugars in garlic and onion char easily even in their dried form, leaving you with a burger that tastes more like ash than a juicy nugget of red meat. Read your label, and choose winning flavors over marketing hype.
>> What Rub Do We Use?
For the perfect burger seasoning that will bring out the best in your beef, I use a blend I developed several years ago. Since then, it’s become my go-to secret weapon for compliment-winning burgers. We call it June Bugg Rub All-Purpose Seasoning. (June Bugg is the nickname of our son who helped me develop it.) It’s one of the three must-have ingredients for your summer cooking available now in our Master Griller Kit.
Tip #6 – Minimize Flipping.
Once you put the burgers onto the grill grate, and they start to cook, don’t flip them more than once. Remember that every time you move them around, you’ll lose moisture and ultimately flavor. Flipping is fun and makes you feel like you’re being productive – but you’re doing nothing more than sacrificing flavor. Plus, excessive early flipping puts your burger at risk of sticking to the grill – and breaking! Wait for the burger to naturally release from the grate which means it’s ready to flip. Flip once. Wait for the same release on the opposite side. Then remove from the grill and serve medium rare for best flavor.
Tip #7 – No Pressing!
While you’re practicing patience, don’t press on your burger patties either. (If your in-house health expert wants to mash her patty between a roll of paper towels after you’ve done your duty, that’s her dry-flavorless-bad-decision.) Your burger will be juicy and righteous.
Tip #8 – Don’t Neglect the Buns.
Two-thirds of what your eyes see and what you will be tasting on your burger is the bread around the patty.
Sure. you can survive with the plain ol’ Sunbeam, but for something remarkable try kicking up your burger with a jalapeño cheddar bun or something similar with a little more flavor to it. While we’re talking buns, I like to toast mine on the grill grate to form a nice crisp edge right before I place the patty on the bottom bun. This helps the bun hold up to the juicy goodness that I’ve patiently perfected.
Have More Questions about Grilling the Perfect Burger?
Andy will be answering your questions on his #AskAndyC Facebook & Instagram Livecasts on the Eat Y’all Pages this summer weeknights at 7 pm CDT. Message us on Facebook to submit your questions ahead of time. Follow the pages at Eat Y’all on Facebook and Eat Y’all on Instagram.