Get all the tips, tricks, and secrets to making flavorful, juicy hamburgers. You can’t go wrong with this easy, fool-proof method.
Try these hamburgers with our soft, chewy hamburger buns recipe (seen in the image below) and serve them alongside any of our favorite BBQ side dishes to round out your perfect family-style BBQ.
How To Make Hamburgers
Ok, ok, quick disclaimer. We call this method of making hamburgers the “RIGHT” way because it is what we consider to be the best way to make burgers. I know there will be those of you out there who get upset because our way isn’t your favorite way, and that’s totally ok. We hope you will at least TRY it! I will explain more below but this is more of a method than an actual recipe. With this method you can season your burgers our way OR your way and get incredible results.
We like this method because the burgers are juicy, flavorful, fool-proof, and EASY. They are made to be flat you can easily stack the burger patties into a double for a meatier burger. Another benefit of making the patties flat is that it makes them easier to eat (especially for kids). You can load on the toppings and they aren’t falling out all over the place. With this easy method you will never want to go back to the frozen, flavorless burger patties again.
Secrets For Making The Best, Juicy Hamburgers:
Getting perfect burgers is easier than you might think. It’s less about the complicated seasonings and more about having the right tools and knowing the right process. Some like marinating their beef or mixing their seasonings in, some like using strictly dry seasonings after the patties are formed. I will give some seasoning tips below, but ultimately season to your preference, follow the process, and enjoy your mouth-watering burgers.
Don’t Use Lean Beef
First and foremost, get the right kind of meat. Ground chuck is the most popular option but you can use ground sirloin or even ground round. Just make sure that you have around 70% lean and 30% fat. If you are using something that is on the lean side (80/20 or leaner) use a cheese grater to grate some VERY cold butter into your beef. Mix it in gently with your hands (don’t over-mix). This adds some extra fat and a nice flavor as well.
Keep The Meat COLD
It is common practice to bring your meat, such as steak, to room temperature before grilling so you don’t “shock” the meat when it hits the grill. This is NOT the case with hamburgers. For burgers, you want your meat to be COLD. We will usually take the meat out of the fridge RIGHT before cooking. Some chefs even like to press an ice cube into the middle of their burger patty before putting it on the grill. This keeps the meat chilled but also adds extra moisture while it is cooking, making the burgers extra juicy (don’t worry, the ice cube melts quickly and your burger will be totally cooked through).
Leave The Meat Alone
When we make burgers, we only handle it enough to go from the original packaging to the griddle. That’s it. We don’t mix things in beforehand. We don’t add fillers. No pre-seasoning (not even salt). We don’t form it into perfect little patties. We literally just grab a handful of meat and put it straight onto the grill. You can see from the picture above, we put the meat on the grill in a lump and then add the seasonings over the top. The less you handle it, the better.
Use A Griddle
This is a big one. Trust me, after using a griddle you will never grill over an open flame again. I will go into this in more detail below. If you think about it… most restaurants, even high-end fancy steakhouses, don’t grill their burgers over an open flame. They use a griddle. It’s no mistake, griddles are consistent and they just makes things easier! HERE is a link to the exact griddle we use and we love it!
Use A Burger Press
This is the secret to getting your hamburgers perfectly flat. No weird bulging centers or uneven done-ness. Just perfect, evenly cooked, burgers every time. HERE is the link to the burger press that we use. It has a little ridge on it so you don’t accidentally smash your burgers and make them TOO flat. If you like the “smash burger” style and want REALLY thin burgers, you may be more interested in something like THIS burger press.
Let Your Hamburgers Rest
This is where a lot of the magic happens. After your burgers have cooked, put them on a plate or platter and cover them with some foil. This will allow the juices to release and the flavors to really infuse the burgers. You don’t need to wait long, only about 5 minutes is all. It’s worth the wait!
Open Flame vs. Cast Iron Griddle
As mentioned above, there are many reasons why we like cooking our burgers on a griddle rather than over an open flame. They are so EASY to use and you can put them right on top of your grill. Here are some of the reasons why we prefer using a griddle:
Cast Iron Griddle
- Consistent heating – even heating for perfect burgers every time. No “hot spots” or “cool spots”.
- No flare ups
- Less mess. Less drips into the grill means less cleanup later. Plus you can keep your grill looking good as new!
- Juicier burgers. Keep all those delicious flavors IN your burger!
- Inconsistent heating.
- Flare ups. Grease from the burger drips onto the flames causing flare-ups and burnt burgers (burnt on the outside, raw on the inside)
- More mess. Everywhere. Burnt messes INSIDE the grill are literally the worst to clean.
- Dry burgers. It’s a vicious cycle. Flavor drips out, flames come up, burgers dry out.
ALWAYS Spray the Griddle AND the Press
Don’t forget to spray the griddle and the press after each burger. This keeps the meat from sticking and causing a mess. You can be liberal with the spray and not have to worry about flare-ups because you aren’t spraying onto the open flame.
Seasoning Your Hamburgers
We probably season our burgers differently every time. Sometimes we keep it simple with just salt and pepper. Other times we want to try out a new burger seasoning, or sprinkle on a couple of our favorite seasonings (see some of our favorites in the picture below). When it comes to burgers, you don’t need to over complicate things. We don’t add eggs, breadcrumbs, or any other fillings to our meat. You can mix your seasonings into the beef but we have found that it’s easiest to just sprinkle the seasoning over the top while grilling. We literally just get a scoop of meat, press it straight on the griddle, and season from there.
Now here is where you can really start getting creative with your hamburgers. Do you like your burgers plain (maybe with a little mayo and/or ketchup) or do you like to load on the toppings? There has got to be a million-and-one ways to top a burger. Here are some “traditional” toppings and a few “next-level” toppings that we love:
- Onion (raw or sautéed)
- Sliced Cheese (melted onto the burger or added cold)
- Mayo, Ketchup, and/or Mustard
“Next Level” Toppings:
- Sautéed mushrooms
- Blue cheese
- Deli Ham (heated on the griddle)
- Fried Egg
- Buffalo sauce or BBQ sauce
According to the USDA, the recommended temperature is 160 degrees F for a burger to be “done”. To many people’s standards, this is considered to be “well done”. If you like your burgers to be closer to medium or medium rare, you can aim for 145-degrees F.
If you must use frozen patties, thaw them completely while keeping the meat very cold (the best way to do this is in the refrigerator). Season as you normally would and follow the recipe as directed below (you probably won’t need a press because the patties will already be flat).
As mentioned above, ground chuck is the popular choice for hamburgers. Make sure it is close to 30% fat (70% lean) for optimal flavor.
What To Serve With Hamburgers (Popular Side Dishes)
- Hawaiian Macaroni Salad (Mac Salad)
- The BEST Potato Salad
- Vinegar Marinated Cucumbers (Cucumber Salad)
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Preheat grill to medium to medium-high heat (400-450 degrees. Some grills burn extra hot so adjust accordingly.) and place seasoned griddle over the top of the grill grates. Gently divide the beef into 8 equal clumps, do not over-handle (see notes above).When griddle is hot, spray with cooking spray and place a clump of beef on the griddle, pressing down slightly with hands.
- Season with salt and burger seasonings to taste (just a sprinkle of salt and about 1/4 teaspoon seasoning). Spray the burger press with cooking spray and press down on the beef making it flat. Keep the press on for about 30-seconds to 1 minute.
- Spray the burger press with cooking spray and press down on the beef making it flat. Keep the press on for about 30-seconds to 1 minute.
- Remove the press and flip the burger. Season the cooked side with a little salt and seasoning and then press down with the press again for another minute or until you reach your desired doneness.
- Add cheese (optional) and remove burger from grill. Place burger on a plate and cover with foil for 3-5 minutes (if you added cheese, make sure the foil doesn't touch the cheese… it will stick).
- Serve with hamburger buns and your favorite burger toppings and condiments.