What’s a BBQ without burgers? OK, you can still have everyone over for a cookout even if burgers aren’t on the menu, but they’re one of grilling’s most notable staples. Knowing how to grill burgers can help you feed large crowds in a hurry, not to mention they’re the perfect food to throw on the grill for a relaxing Sunday afternoon with the family.
Begin by preheating your grill to around 450–500 degrees Fahrenheit. You may even want to create dual cooking zones to help prevent the flare-ups that dripping burger grease sometimes produces. Once you’ve formed your burger patties, place them on the grill back to front and left to right. You’ll also flip them in this order so you’re never reaching over flames, which tend to leap up when a burger is moved. Speaking of your spatula, never press your burgers when they’re on the grill. All that does is send fat and juice spilling out, leading to dry burgers and flare-ups (we’re not sure which is worse).
Let your burgers cook for about 1–1½ minutes with the lid up, then close the lid for another minute. Open the grill, flip the burgers back to front and left to right, and repeat the process. That’s about 6 minutes total, good for medium-rare burgers that still have a nicely seared exterior. If you prefer patties that are a bit more cooked inside, leave them on the grill for an extra minute per each increasing level of doneness. See the chart below for a quick guide on grilling burgers.
|Beef Doneness||Minimum Internal Temperature
|Approximate Cook Time|
|Rare||120-130 degrees||2½ minutes per side|
|Medium-rare||130–135 degrees||3 minutes per side|
|Medium||140–145 degrees||4 minutes per side|
|Medium-well||150–155 degrees||5 minutes per side|
Keep in mind that the times listed above are just a guide — what really matters is the middle column showing minimum internal temperature for safe consumption as recommended by the USDA. In fact, the USDA states that all ground meat should be cooked to at least 160 degrees, but we know many people like their beef with at least a little pink on the inside. Turkey burgers and veggie burgers, meanwhile, must be cooked to 165 degrees to be considered safe for consumption. To ensure your burger is safe to eat, stick it with a food thermometer when it’s nearing completion.
No matter how you prefer your burgers cooked, let them rest for about 3–5 minutes before serving. If you want melty cheese, place them on your patties when there’s about a minute left on your cook. And don’t overlook the power of toasted buns, which also need approximately a minute per side to achieve perfectly golden goodness.
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