Grilling perfect burgers is easy if you follow these simple tips:
- Use beef with the right amount of fat. I recommend 80% to 85% lean ground beef. The fat is what makes your burgers juicy.
- I also recommend grass-fed beef, if you can find it (Whole Foods carries it; you can also find it at farmer's markets). Grass-fed beef not only tastes better, it's also leaner and has a better nutritional profile.
- If your ground beef is frozen, thaw completely in the refrigerator before using. Do not try to cook beef from a frozen state.
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- To see if your burgers are done, check using an instant-read thermometer. Insert it in the side of the burger through to the middle. Burgers should be cooked to 160 degrees F.
- Color is not an indicator of whether or not your burgers are cooked thoroughly. Burgers that are brown inside may not be cooked to 160 degrees F, and burgers that are cooked through may still be pink inside.
- Handle the beef as little as possible while shaping the burgers. Overhandling results in toughness.
- Form patties that about 3/4-inch thick. Press your thumb in the middle of each patty to prevent it from bulging during cooking.
- Refrigerate your burgers while preparing the grill. Preheat the grill long enough to get it nice and hot, about 15 minutes should do it.
- Season the burgers with salt and pepper on the outside, just before grilling. I recommend Maldon sea salt (compare prices). Its large crystals really bring out the flavor of the burgers. And by seasoning the outside of the burgers, the salt, which enhances the beef's flavor, will hit your mouth first.
- Place the burgers on the grill, and leave them there. Do not press down on the burgers during cooking.
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- Flip once, after 3-6 minutes.
- Let your burgers rest at least 5 minutes before serving.
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