Filed under: Dining
Don't go lean No one ever said perfect flavor was perfectly healthy. For the juiciest, most decadent cooked patty choose ground chuck with 15-20% fat. If you like your burgers very well done consider going even higher (more fat will let you cook longer without the meat going dry).
Size matters Use cold meat and clean, wet, cold hands to form patties that are 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Any thicker and you risk the outside getting overdone while you wait for the heat to reach the inside. Make the patties about 1/2" wider than the buns to allow for shrinkage, and avoid a 'poofed' finished patty by using your thumb to press an indentation in the center of each one before cooking.
Save seasonings for last Salt draws out moisture so season generously but season last minute, right before you throw the patty on the grill.
Don't overwork the meat Don't overwork the raw meat as you make patties and resist pressing on the burgers as they cook -- it only squeezes out the juices and dries out the burger (not to mention causes flame-ups). Try to flip each patty only once -- if they stick to the grill wait a minute and try again.
Don't rely on color for doneness Temperature is the only reliable way of telling if a burger is done or not -- it should be 160°F in the center.
Let the patties rest Let the cooked patties rest for 1-2 minutes before cutting or eating to let the juices stabilize. Biting in too soon can lead to a drippy burger with dry flavor.
For more great grilling options check out our Guide to Meat Cuts.