The Best BBQ Tips to Cook The Most Delicious Burgers
When the weather gets warm, nothing screams summer quite as loud as an outdoor cookout. But simply slapping some burgers on the grill isn’t enough to call yourself a master chef. In fact, creating the perfect burger is practically an art form. As intimidating as that sounds, a few quick and easy tips can change your BBQ for the better.
Even the most experienced grill masters make simple mistakes that lead to less-than-perfect burgers. If you want to wow everyone with your grill skills, take a look below at the best BBQ tips that lead to the most delicious burgers.
1 Avoid Hard To Chew Burgers
Ground beef changes the more you mess with it. As soon as you start working your meat into patties, you’re messing with the structure of the ground beef. If you overwork it, the meat will become denser, tighter, and all-around less appetizing.
Once you start forming your patties, try to mess with the meat as little as possible. Of course, you have to knead it into the correct shape, but you shouldn’t spend a lot of time working with the meat. The less you work the meat, the more tender and delicious your burgers will be when they come off the grill.
2 Mayonnaise Keep The Meat Moisture
While you don’t want lots of funky stuff added into your burger, there is one add-in that can help to create the perfect finished product: mayonnaise.
While mixing together your ground beef, add a small dollop of mayo before you form your patties. The mayo helps to pack in the moisture and adds just a little bit of extra flavor that will take your burgers to the next level. If you don’t have mayo on hand, yogurt and sour cream will work just as well.
3 Wet Hands Keep The Burger Juicy
In addition to not overworking the meat, you also want to keep as much moisture in your ground beef as possible. That way, the patties will retain the juices as they cook, instead of drying out.
Before you start forming your patties, wet your hands with cold water. Your slightly wet hands will put some moisture back into the meat while you work it, creating juicy burgers. Plus, wet hands ensure that none of the meat sticks to your fingers while you craft the perfect patty.
4 Keep All The Patties’ Inner Juice
Pressing down on a patty seems like a normal part of cooking a burger. Once they’re on the grill, you can press them into the heat by squashing them slightly with a spatula. However, this standard move ruins your burgers.
When you press the burger with the spatula, you’re squeezing out much of the inner juices. Without those juices, the patty will be dry and tasteless, not to mention, allowing those juices to fall into the grill leads to flare-ups, which may cause your burgers to cook too quickly or even burn. Once you put the burger on the grill, resist the urge to mess with it unless absolutely necessary.
5 Get Rid Of The Burger Bulge
Before you toss your burgers on the grill, put a small thumbprint in the patty. No, it isn’t a way to mark the burger as “yours.” Instead, this simple little trick allows your burger to keep its shape while you grill.
By pressing your thumb into the center of the patty, you change the shape of the burger just slightly. That small indentation ensures that the burgers won’t bulge in the center as they cook. Instead, they’ll form perfectly around the sides, making sure that each patty aligns with the bun.
6 Avoid Dry Meat
With most meats, chefs are instructed to let them rest after they’re finished cooking. Resting the meat usually allows it to soak in the juices, creating a more tender piece of beef when you do dive into it.
However, the opposite is true for burgers. If you let your burgers rest too long, most of the juices will simply leak out onto the platter. This is due to the nature of meat, which doesn’t have any muscle to hold in the extra juices. If you want to eat your burger at its most delicious, feel free to pop it on a bun and dive right in as soon as it’s off the grill.
7 Cold Patties Won’t Overcook
As you’re forming your burgers using ground beef, you want to keep the meat as cold as possible, especially if you like a little pink at the center of your burger.
When the patty is cold, it takes a little longer to cook, ensuring that some of the meat retains that delicious pink look. The crust will form properly on the outside of the burger, but the inside will stay juicy and just a little rare. Cold is more important than you think when forming the perfect burger, so try to keep the patties in the fridge until the last possible moment.
8 Say Goodbye To Ordinary Burgers
Normal ground beef will always make a delicious burger. But switching up the meat and trying something different might lead to an even more flavorful patty.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your ground beef. A special blend like 50% chuck and 50% sirloin results in an even more flavorful burger. You can even try something with bacon trimmings or grab some kind of exotic meat if you really want to step out of your comfort zone. Normal burgers are fine, but being a little adventurous with your meat can change your barbecue for the better.
9 Thick Patties Won’t Dry
If you want your burgers to cook well, you have to form thick patties. A patty that’s too thin will lose all of its moisture quickly, resulting in a dry burger.
If you use thick patties, on the other hand, the meat will be dense enough that most of the middle area will retain the moisture you need for a juicy burger. While a thick patty might seem more intimidating to cook, it will definitely give you the delicious, tender burger you’ve been craving.
10 Avoid Too Dense Patties
When forming your patties, it’s tempting to really smash the meat together. After all, you want to be sure that the patties stay in one shape until they’re fully cooked. However, packing your patties densely won’t make good burgers. If the meat is dense before you cook it, just imagine how difficult it will be to eat once the burgers come off the grill.
Instead, pack your patties gently, with just enough meat to make sure they hold together. That way, the burgers will be light and delicious when they come off the grill, instead of looking like a crispy hockey puck that you have to eat.
11 Avoid Rubbery Burgers
There is such a thing as too much seasoning, especially when it comes to burgers. While it’s tempting to season the meat before you form it into patties, that can have disastrous effects on your finished product.
Instead, drizzle a little salt and pepper on the outside of the patty only before you put the burger on the grill. If there’s too much salt mixed in with the meat, it will draw in moisture, leaving your burger too rubbery. Burgers don’t need a whole lot to taste good, so take it easy with the salt if you want a truly juicy patty.
12 Get Rid Of Burned Meat
Just like when you’re cooking in the oven, the heat of your grill matters in creating the perfect burger. If your grill is too high, it will make the outsides of your patty crispy in seconds, but the insides won’t cook at all. The final result will be a dry, crunchy patty surrounded by burned bits of meat. That doesn’t sound very enjoyable.
Instead, learn to balance the heat of your grill with the type of meat you’re using. If you’re using a patty with a higher fat content (as you should be), try to make the heat a little lower. The lower heat allows the burger to cook evenly, creating a much more delicious patty for your final product. If you’re using lean meats, you can crank the heat up a little higher. Lean meat cooks more quickly, so a high heat shouldn’t dry out your patty.
13 Avoid Patties That Stick To The Grill
Burgers can be quite stubborn. After you’re finished cooking, you may find that you’re putting a lot of effort into scraping the patties off the grill. It’s almost like they want to stick around!
A burger’s stickiness stems from the combination of juices and proteins in the meat. The proteins will stick to anything, which is why it’s so hard to get your patties off those grates. To get rid of some of that stickiness, rub your patties with canola oil after you season them, but before you grill them. The thin coat of oil should balance out some of the stickiness, allowing your burgers to slide right onto your plate when they’re finished cooking.
14 Get A Juicy And Delicious Burger
A good burger starts with the meat. While it’s tempting to buy whatever is cheapest or—even worse—purchase a frozen patty, those choices won’t lead to the best burgers.
If you want a patty that’s juicy and delicious, choose meat with a ratio of 80 percent lean to 20 percent fat. The higher fat content isn’t the most healthy choice, but it does lead to a mouth-watering burger. With this combination, you’re guaranteed to have one juicy patty.
15 An Ice Cube Will Make Your Patty Even More Juicy
If you’ve tried everything and you just can’t get a juicy patty, there’s a way to cheat. Rather than forming thick burgers or struggling to cook the meat evenly, try putting an ice cube in the center of your burger patty.
As the burger cooks, the ice cube will melt, distributing juice throughout the meat. With that added dose of liquid, the burgers will come off the grill perfectly juicy and ready to eat. Using an ice cube might seem like the easy way out, but it works!
16 Avoid Your Patties To Fall Apart
If you’re inexperienced with a barbecue, knowing when to flip your burger might be a major challenge. You obviously don’t want it to be too crispy on the outside, but flipping it too soon will only make it fall apart.
As a general rule of thumb, give your burger a chance to form a crust before you even attempt to flip it. Oftentimes, forming that crust will take at least three full minutes. Once the crust has formed, you can cook the other side of the burger without causing the patty to fall apart. Plus, the burger will keep that perfect round shape that makes you look like a master chef.
17 Aim For The Best Cooking
You can flip the burger once the crust forms, but that doesn’t mean you’re now free to flip the patty as much as you want. Burgers cook better if they’re simply left alone. In fact, you really shouldn’t flip it more than one time, twice at the very most.
If you’re constantly messing with your burger, you’re not giving it the time it needs to cook fully and evenly. If you just leave it alone, however, you’ll develop that crispy crust with perfectly cooked meat all through the middle.
18 Avoid Overcooking Your Meat
It’s all well and good to guess when your burgers are done, but you’ll find you get much better results if you cave and use a meat thermometer. If you want a medium burger, you’re shooting for about 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If you want your burger well done, you should up that number to 160.
Using a meat thermometer takes out the guesswork in your grilling. You can even create a range of options that will satisfy every guest at your next outdoor cookout.
19 Keep The Essence Of Your Burgers
If you want to feel truly fancy, you’ll probably be tempted to add a few mix-ins to your ground beef. But extra spices, sauteed onions, breadcrumbs, and other odd add-ins will only ruin the integrity of your burger.
If you want a burger that really hits the spot, it’s best to keep it simple. Stick with ground beef, salt, and pepper—that’s it. Once you start adding other things into the mix, you’re getting dangerously close to making meatloaf.
20 Make A Success Of Your Burgers Without BBQ
If you really want to get fancy with your burgers, try using a cast iron pan. Instead of taking your burgers outside, simply heat the pan or griddle on high heat. Once it’s smoking a little bit, add a small amount of canola oil and put your burger on to cook.
Cast iron has excellent heat diffusion and retention, which allows your burgers to cook evenly while forming that crunchy crust. Cooking your burgers in cast iron may take a little more time, but the results will amaze you. However, we don’t recommend this trick if you’re trying to cook for a lot of people all at once.