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Our Best Burger-Making Tips

Learn how to make the perfect burgers with our best tips.
Everyday Food, July/August 2007
  • Burgers will shrink during grilling, so make the diameter of the patties about 1/2 inch larger than the buns for the perfect fit.
  • Season patties on the outside only; this prevents overworking the meat while mixing in the seasonings.
  • If serving a crowd, stack patties on a plate, separating layers with wax paper.
  • Season just before grilling to avoid drawing moisture out of patties.
  • Grill patties straight from the fridge; don't bring them to room temperature. To prevent cross-contamination, never return grilled burgers to the plate you put them on before cooking.
  • Scrape grates clean before oiling and grilling to give burgers nice grill marks and keep them from sticking.
  • Don't press on patties as they cook. This only squeezes out the juices and encourages flare-ups.
  • Use a thin, wide spatula for turning. If the burger doesn't come off the grill immediately, it's too soon to turn it. Continue cooking, and once the meat forms a crust, you can lift it right off the grill.