After many years of trying and several failed attempts, we have finally figured out the secret to making and grilling hamburgers. 

grilling hamburgers
The end result of the secrets to grilling hamburgers

No more dry and brittle burgers, no more under-cooked and red centers, and no more chewy and flavorless chunks of meat. 

With the picnic season now in full force, we wanted to share the 12 guidelines that we follow for not only making, but also grilling hamburgers at home.  With just a few quick tips, you will be making the best burgers right in your own back yard!

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The Secrets To Making And Grilling Hamburgers

grilling hamburgers
Ground beef sprinkled with seasonings before being made into burgers

1. Use 80% lean/20% fat ground beef.  The fat content provides the needed flavor to make sure you end up with delicious hamburgers.

2. Take the thawed beef out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before you make your patties. This helps the patties adjust to warmer temperatures before being formed and placed on the hot grill. 

3. Season the ground beef before you form your patties. Many people make the mistake of adding the seasoning on each side of the hamburger, however, it is best to add your seasonings before making individual patties so that the spices can be incorporated throughout the burger. 

grilling hamburgers
Place a pat of butter in the indented center of each burger.

4. Don’t overwork the ground beef when you are making your patties. You want to form the patty with your hands, but not squish the meat together forcefully. 

5. Make the patties slightly larger than the size of your bun. There will be some shrinkage when the burger is grilled and you don’t want to end up with mini-burgers. 


6. Place a small pat of butter on top or in the middle of each hamburger – the butter will melt and add additional flavor and moisture to each patty. This truly is the main secret to grilling hamburgers!

7. Make a thumbprint indention into the center of each hamburger. When grilling, the center expands upward and if you didn’t put a divet onto each patty, you would end up with a dome top. 

8. Place the patties on a hot grill to sear the meat which will help keep the hamburgers moist. 

9. Turn the hamburgers one time only!  One of the biggest mistakes people make is to flip the burgers over and over again.

Place them on the hot grill and turn them once after 4 or 5 minutes. You will know if they are ready to be turned if you can easily slide a spatula under them.

If they stick to the grill, they are not ready to be turned. Once turned, grill them for an additional 5-6 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160°F.

10. Remove the hamburgers from the grill and let rest for 5 minutes to allow the juices to filter throughout the meat. 

grilling hamburgers
A perfectly grilled hamburger.

11. Never press your hamburgers down with a spatula or a meat press. This forces the juice out of the meat and results in a dried out burger.

12. If you are going to add lettuce to your burger, place the lettuce directly on top of the bottom bun. This will keep the bun from getting soggy once the burger has been added. 

Follow these simple tips and your grilling season just got that much better!


Mary and Jim

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The Secret To Making And Grilling Hamburgers – Perfect Every Time!