- 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.
Our Best Burger-Making Tips
Learn how to make the perfect burgers with our best tips.
Everyday Food, July/August 2007