Nothing better than a smoky grilled burger. However, some of us don’t have the space or the luxury of an outdoor grill. I use my indoor grille or the ever faithful “Southern Woman’s” cast iron skillet for grilling indoors. These tips apply to cooking all kinds of meats all kinds of ways…from meat loaf to meatballs. I found these tips summarized in this article from my favs at Allrecipe. Just in time for Memorial Day…or any day.
The Queen Cronista
Best Grilled Burgers Ever
10 Tips for the Best Burgers
1. Fat = Flavor
Use beef that is no leaner than 85 percent. Meat with a higher fat content will be juicier and more flavorful. But be aware, patties from higher fat meat will shrink more when they cook. If you shop at a grocery store or a butcher that grinds their own beef, choose coarsely ground beef for juicier burgers with a more pleasing texture. For lean ground chicken and turkey burgers, add a little olive oil to the mixture.
2. Build Additional Flavor
Add just about anything you like to your burger mixture. Here are a few flavoring suggestions:
- Fresh or dried herbs and spices
- Dehydrated or fresh minced onion and garlic
- Seasoning mixes for soups or salad dressings
- Your favorite cheese, such as blue cheese, goat cheese, Gorgonzola, feta, Stilton, Cheddar, or pepper jack
- Prepared sauces including BBQ sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, hoisin sauce, plum sauce, oyster sauce, salsa, or salad dressing
- Other tidbits like olives, capers, chopped tomatoes, diced chiles, crumbled bacon, or minced ham
3. Hold the Salt!
Don’t combine salt into the mixture, especially if you’re not going to grill the patties right away. Salt will extract moisture from the meat, leaving you with dry burgers. Instead, sprinkle each burger with salt right before you put it on the grill.
4. Don’t Mix Too Much
Use a light touch when combining seasonings with the ground beef. If you mix it too much, your burgers will be dense and heavy.
5. Let the Flavors Mingle
Leave the meat mixture (or patties) in the refrigerator for several hours to allow all the flavors to mingle. To form patties, wet your hands a little to keep the meat from sticking to them. If you make patties ahead of time, stack them on a plate separated by waxed paper and cover with plastic wrap before you put it in the refrigerator.
6. Form a Good Patty
Don’t form patties too thick or too thin. A 3/4-inch thick patty is ideal. To keep patties from swelling in the middle, make small indentations in the center.
7. Temperature Matters
Make sure the grill is the appropriate temperature. Medium-low to medium heat is best. Too hot, and burgers burn on the outside before getting done on the inside. Keep the lid closed while cooking; it shortens cooking time and keeps burgers moist.
8. Clean Your Grill
Always start with a clean, oiled grill grate. This keeps burgers from sticking, extends the life of your grate, and helps put those beautiful grill marks on your patties.
9. Turn Once and Don’t Smash
It’s hard to resist, but do not flatten your burgers with the spatula. It squeezes out flavorful juices. I’m so guilty about this one but it’s true.
10. Cook Thoroughly
How long to grill hamburgers? Cook ground beef to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (170 degrees F for poultry). For an accurate reading, insert the thermometer into the patty horizontally.