Divine Dinner Party

A Perfect Barbecue Hamburger Recipe for the Grill
(or Griddle or Skillet!)

To a meat lover, nothing tastes quite like that perfect barbecue hamburger recipe, perfectly cooked on the grill. The crisp, slightly charred crust. The juicy, meaty interior. The tang of mustard and the rich creaminess of a slice of melted cheddar cheese. A perfect cheeseburger is just that: perfection.
Grilling Burger Patties to PerfectionUnfortunately, however, a lot of people have trouble executing the perfect burger... because something that seems like it should be uber simple is, in reality, all-too-easy to screw up. You have the wrong hamburger patties recipe. The burger cook time or temperature is off. Or you don't use the best burger meat you can find. And while even a bad burger almost always tastes good, it's disappointing to put the work into a barbecue hamburger recipe and have your burgers come out only so-so.

With a few tricks, though, cooking a perfect hamburger on the grill is easy. With the right meat, the right cooking methods, and the simple hamburger cooking tips below, your burgers will come out perfect every time. Just you watch.

Got your burgers down pat (or "patty" -- haha), and want some help choosing hamburger buns, condiments, and more? Check out this page.

Hamburger Patties Recipe Ingredients:

Packages of Perfect Ground Meat for HamburgersThe Beef: Of course, the perfect barbecue hamburger recipe is all about the beef. If you choose the right cut of ground beef, the flavor of the meat will really shine through, and you won't want to add a thing to your burger. Ideally, you want to choose ground beef with 15-20% fat. Any lower in fat, and the burger will be dry. Any higher and it'll be greasy.

Different cuts of beef are going to have different amounts of fat, as well as different flavors and textures. In general, ground chuck has around 20% fat, ground sirloin has around 15% fat, and ground round has around 11% fat. The best is probably a combination of ground chuck and ground sirloin, though if you prefer one over the other, it's fine to go with the meat you like best. Chuck has the most flavor, sirloin the meatiest texture.

If possible, have your meat ground by the butcher fresh on the spot. The fresher and the higher quality the beef, the better your barbecue hamburger recipe will turn out.

The Spices and Additions: This is where you get into some controversial territory. Many burger pros insist that nothing goes into a truly gourmet burger but excellent beef and a sprinkle of salt right before it goes on the grill. Others are more flexible, allowing for hamburger patties recipes to contain onion, garlic, spices, and sauces. Truth is, you can do whatever you like with your burger... just experiment until you find a flavor you love.

Perfect Hamburger Patties Recipe:

Making Beef Patties for Barbecue HamburgersThe Mixture: To your ground beef, add any flavoring ingredients you like (I find a tablespoon or so of minced or grated onion makes them taste divine), and form. You'll want to add the salt right before you grill your hamburgers. If you add it too soon, it'll leech some of the juices from the meat.

The Patties: The key to creating a perfect, juicy barbecue hamburger recipe is to handle the meat as little as possible, while keeping it cold until ready to cook. Run your hands under cold water to cool them, and form patties with cool, wet hands. Form the patties quickly and gently, handling them as little as possible. And don't pack them-- overly packed beef burger patties result in tough, dense burgers when they're cooked.

Remember that the fat in your ground beef will mostly melt away, causing your burgers to shrink up. You'll want to make your raw-meat patties a bit wider than your burger buns to make up for any shrinkage during cooking.

Barbecue Hamburger Recipe for the Grill:

1. Follow the instructions above to create your hamburger patties. 1-inch burger patties are tastiest on the grill, though they may be too big for more conservative eaters (we don't have any of these in my family!).

2. Heat your gas or charcoal grill to a high heat. (Need help lighting and using a BBQ grill?)

3. Starting with clean, oiled grill grates/grids, sear your patties on each side over a high heat until a crust forms. This should take about one to one-and-a-half minutes. If you try to loosen the your hamburger patties before they're properly seared, they'll stick to the grates.

4. Move your beef patties to a cooler part of the grill and cook to desired doneness (see our barbecue hamburger recipe timetable below), flipping once during cook time.

"Barbecue" Hamburgers on the Griddle or Stove-top:

1. Don't have a grill, or the weather's too cool to be cooking outside? You can make wonderful burger on a griddle or in a skillet, too. Start by forming patties a little thinner than you would for the barbecue-- half-inch hamburger patties are generally best for the griddle or stove-top.

2. Heat your griddle or skillet over high heat until quite hot. Add your burger patties.

3. Sear both sides of burgers about one minute, until sealed.

4. Reduce heat to med-low and cook (don't press down on them!) until desired doneness (see timetable), flipping once during cook time.

Hamburger Cooking Time Timetable:

There are several different way to tell if your burgers are cooked to your taste. One is by giving them quick a poke with your spatula (real scientific, right?). Medium-rare burgers will feel somewhat soft, medium burgers will feel somewhat firm, and well-done burger will be quite firm. The juices will also change color. When you see juices begin to ooze out of the top of the burger patty, the burger is cooked about medium. When those juices become semi-clear and cooked, the burger should be medium well.

Sound a little iffy to you? Use this simple timetable to time your barbecue hamburger recipe just to your liking:


Thickness of Patty Desired Doneness Cook Time
One inch Rare 8-10 minutes
One inch Medium 10-15 minutes
One inch Well Done 15+ minutes*
Half inch Rare 7-9 minutes
Half inch Medium 10-12 minutes
Half inch Well Done 12+ minutes*

*Cut open to check level of doneness





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