By Chef Alli on September 5, 2017
Get to know your beef
Juicy grilled burgers are made from 80 percent lean ground chuck. Chuck is full of fat and that fat equals flavor. And don’t worry about the extra fat (flavor). The extra fat in ground chuck will drip away as you grill your burgers. Chuck is from the shoulder area which gets lots of use, making it very flavorful.
If you’re cooking burgers in a skillet, you may want to use a leaner cut of ground beef.
And don’t forget to season! Add salt and pepper, Worchester sauce, beef broth or wine to your ground chuck. Gain added flavor and moisture by adding broth, grated onions or zucchini (your kids will never know!) to your ground chuck.
Be gentle with your beef
Use lots of tender loving care when making your burgers. Don’t pack your ground beef too tightly or over work the meat.
The perfect thickness for grilled burgers is ¾-inch patties.
After you’ve got them grilling, only flip once. Burgers are ready to flip when you can lift with no sticking to the grill. Test the edge of each burger with your spatula.
And, please never, ever press down on your burgers with your spatula. Precious juices are lost forever when this technique is applied.
Create flavor layers for your burger
A perfectly grilled burger deserves great “accessories” piled high to complete it. Use flavorful condiments like zesty mayos, whole grain mustards, homegrown tomato slices, caramelized onions, ripe avocado slices, strong cheeses, crispy bacon, and/or spicy arugula.
Toast your buns on the grill to warm them and give added flavor.
When you’re grilling
Grill over direct heat – 450 to 500 degrees F. Once your burgers are nicely seared, move them to an area of indirect heat on the grill that’s closer to 350 degrees F. to finish cooking. This will allow for a great finish on the outside and meat that’s cooked to your heart’s desire on the inside.
Always preheat your grill. Once your grill is nicely preheated, clean with a wire brush, then oil the grates.
Grill burgers covered eight to 10 minutes for medium and 10 to 11 minutes for medium well. Once you remove them from grill, cover with foil and let burgers rest a bit before adding the buns. In our family, we like to place the burgers into the buns, then place all of them into a plastic bag to let everything “steam.” This step adds the perfect finishing touch.
To test burgers for doneness at the center, insert an instant-read thermometer into your burgers from the side. This allows the sensor of the meat thermometer to fully reach into the center of the burger, giving you a solid, correct reading of the internal temperature. A safe internal temperature for a burger is 160 degrees F. I often remove them from the grill at 155 degrees F. internal temperature and let them rest a bit, covered, so they can raise in temperature to 160 degrees F.
Use these tips with Chef Alli's recipe for Outside-In Beefy Brie Burgers, and check out our additional beef recipes.