There is nothing quite like the joy and excitement of grilling hamburgers during the summer season. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, beginners often end up with tasteless, dry and bland burgers. A few pro tips can help you to avoid common mistakes committed by beginners.
In this simple guide, we explain how to grill hamburgers on a gas grill. You can now cook delicious and juicy burgers from the comfort of your own home.
Use the Best Ground Beef
Using the right ingredients is indispensable for great cooking. Ground chuck is the most suitable beef choice for hamburgers. Its mild fat content imparts rich flavor to burgers and keeps them moist. Along with that, ground chuck is inexpensive as well.
For perfectly juicy, tender and succulent burgers, you should aim for 20 percent fat content. You can even mix ground beef with different types of meat to craft a unique flavor. For a mouth-watering new flavor, mix ground lamb with your regular ground chuck. You can also get adventurous and try out different types of ground meat, such as bison. Just remember to keep the fat at 20 percent for best results.
What to Add to Ensure Burgers Stay Intact During Grilling
The short answer is that you don’t need to add anything to your burgers. Due to the fairly high-fat content of ground chuck, it will keep the burgers together. On the other hand, other types of meat like meatball or meatloaf need bread crumbs to hold their shape.
How to Grill Hamburgers on a Gas Grill
You may be surprised to know certain tips that appear contrary to common practice. For instance, pressing the burger down is NOT a smart grilling technique because it won’t give you the perfect burger that you want.
In order grill burgers like a professional, read on to separate facts from myths and understand common mistakes that people often make when making hamburgers on a gas grill:
1. Cut the Fat
When it comes to the ideal fat level, people may have a varying and conflicting opinion on it. But one thing is for certain: low fat means significantly reduced flavor and juiciness of a burger. In addition to having a dull flavor, you also end up with tough and dry meat. It is best to maintain fat at 20 percent.
This is perhaps the biggest mistake made by people, especially health-conscious beginners.
2. Chilling Burger Patties
It is best to prepare burger patties a few days before cooking. Once you’re done with the prep, you may chill them. They will remain intact during grilling if they are chilled.
Burgers may lose their shape with excessive handling during grilling. Extreme compression may cause the juices and fat to leak out. This way, your burgers will lose their natural flavor.
Some people think it is best to make fresh hamburger patties just prior to cooking. The reality is that preparing them beforehand and refrigerating them allows for easier and smoother handling.
3. Indent the Middle of the Burger with Your Thumb
Indent burger patties in the middle to prevent bulging during grilling. Your burgers will remain flat and well-formed. Indenting is necessary to prevent the middle part from puffing up. Otherwise, it would be harder to reach the correct internal temperature. When the burger’s middle part hits the required temperature, the exterior gets burnt out and dried.
Keep your patties ¾ inch thick. Indent a 1-inch diameter area in the middle with your thumb. Depress it ¼ inch deep. This will provide the best results.
4. Olive Oil
Brush the burger patties with olive oil before you start grilling them. This will prevent them from sticking to the grill, which can be extremely annoying. The oil layer serves another important purpose. During grilling, it helps form a seared layer and prevents the flavorful juices from leaking out.
5. Pressing Burger Patties
Many people have a habit of pressing down burgers during grilling. This serves no useful purpose. Instead, it can ruin their taste. Compressing burger patties causes the leakage of juices and flavor, making them tasteless and dry. Avoid pressing burgers at all times while grilling.
6. Turn Only Once
Don’t turn your burger patties too much. It is best to turn them just once. Grilling experts suggest heating the grill prior to cooking. When the grill is hot enough, you can heat the burger patties on one side for 2 to 3 minutes. Flip them over once to keep them intact. Turning them over more than once is a waste of time and effort. It can even spoil the shape of the patties.
7. Monitor the Internal Temperature
You can follow a few rough guidelines to track the meat’s internal temperature. The safest technique for beginners is to use a meat thermometer. It should read a temperature of 160 degrees. This will ensure well-done patties. Also, keep in mind that the meat will continue to cook for a while once it is removed from heat.
8. Let the Patties Rest before Serving Them
After the hamburgers are removed from the grill, let them sit for 5 minutes before serving them. This time interval allows the flavor to develop fully. Besides, the burgers will be very hot when they are removed. Give them some time to cool down so that they are safe for eating.
Should You Grill Burgers with the Lid Down or Not?
Beginners will definitely find it easier to cook with open grills. Keeping the lid down prevents flare-ups and helps cook food faster.
If you keep the lid open, you will have to be careful about flare-ups. Use the grill’s built-in thermometer to follow temperature. Otherwise, keeping the lid down or up is a personal choice.
What Should Be the Ideal Temperature for Different Burgers?
The Instant Read thermometer will tell you if the burger is ready or not. For ground meat, the USDA recommendation is a 160-degree internal temperature.
For ground turkey burgers, the internal temperature should be 165 degrees. Internal temperature for grilled salmon should be 145 degrees.
How well done a burger is depends on the total cooking time.
- Rare: 4 to 5 minutes
- Medium-rare: 6 to 7 minutes
- Medium:8 to 9 minutes
Remember these are just rough guidelines. Results can vary with different grill models. The best thing to do is to use a meat thermometer.
Step 1: Begin with a pound of ground chuck. Divide it into 3 balls weighing 1/3 pound each. Each ball should be about the size of a tennis ball.
Shape them gently into ¾ thick patties. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper as well as some granular garlic.
Chill the patties for up to 6 hours. If you are short on time, try to chill them for at least an hour.
Always ensure that you wash your hands thoroughly before handling food.
Step 2: Clean and oil your grill and preheat it.
Step 3: Make indentations with your thumb, as outlined above. There should be ¼ inch depressions about an inch wide in the middle of the patties.
Step 4: Lightly brush the patties with olive oil.
Step 5: Cook the patties on the gas grill. As explained, grill one side for 2 to 3 minutes and then flip over to cook the other side.
The temperature should reach 160 degrees for ground chuck patties. Add cheese slices to the patties for the last 30 to 60 seconds of grilling.
Step 6: Heat buns on the grill until they turn light brown inside. Add burger patties to the bun and include lettuce, tomato, onion or anything else that you prefer.
With this recipe, you can easily make 3 patties with one pound of ground chuck. For more patties, include ground chuck accordingly. Each patty weighs 1/3 pound.
Tip: Place the lettuce on the bottom bun. Then keep the patty on the lower bun. Juices from the burger will not saturate the lower bun with this arrangement. This is better than keeping lettuce on the top of the patty.
Pro Tip. Infusing smoke flavor is easier than you think. It can even be done with a gas grill. Some people are under the impression that you need charcoal grill or other specialized grill for imbuing your barbecue with irresistible smoke flavor. That’s not true.
All you need to is place wood chips in a heavy foil on the grill. The wood chips will start smoldering with heat and impart a delicious smoke flavor to the burgers.
Our Final Thoughts
Following a few essential tips and tricks will allow you to make the best burgers very quickly. This article has explained these steps in simple language so that you can get started right away.