How To: Grill the Perfect Burger

A staple at any summer gathering, the humble hamburger is one food that many cook and few perfect. But with a few simple steps, the burgers you pull off the grill can rival any chef’s.

Burgers Start With The Good Stuff
Unless you’re going to a high-quality butcher shop, it’s hard to trust store-bought ground beef. There’s no way to tell when it was ground and thinking of animal parts that may have slipped into the grinder can be pretty hard to stomach.

Grinding your own beef may sound like a task better left to chefs, but it’s not as hard as you think and gives you the freedom to choose exactly what you put into those patties. Chances are you don’t have a fancy grinder – you don’t need one. You can use a Kitchen Aid attachment or even a food processor. (See here for details.)

When grinding your own beef, be sure to choose fattier cuts, like chuck and brisket, which have a higher fat content making your burgers juicier.

Form the Right Patties
Most burgers are between 5-6 ounces. At home, it’s worth the effort of weighing them out to make sure that they’re a uniform weight so that all of the burgers cook at the same rate. After, work the meat into patties (or use a burger press like the one featured in this basket) and try to get them about 1-inch thick.

Since burgers are meat and meat is muscle, it contracts when it cooks. So if you don’t want your burger to shrink and become domed, you’ll need to put your finger on the problem…literally. Use your thumb to form an indent in the center of the patties, which prevent them from swelling.

Season Them
Liberal amounts of freshly ground pepper and kosher salt are nonnegotiable but feel free to add in other herbs and spices.

Get Grilling
Heat up the grill, scrape off any grime, and then slap down the patties. Grill them until the internal temp is between 130 degrees (medium rare AKA the only way to actually enjoy a burger) and 160 degrees (well done). Flip your burgers as often as you like.

To me, a flawless burger is a juicy, herb-speckled patty topped with provolone, peppered ketchup, tomato, crisp romaine, red onion, and mayo. Make yours however you want.