With Memorial Day comes the return of backyard grilling season, which means plenty of burgers are on the horizon. Ensuring that warm spring and summer nights bring tender, juicy burgers and not dry, dense hockey pucks has to do with both sourcing and technique. Chowhounds have shared a few simple tricks and tips over the years, starting with buying the right ground beef.
Tip #1: Avoid extra-lean grinds. The higher the fat content, the moister the patty. A burger with beef that's 80 percent lean (i.e., 20 percent fat) is luxurious and juicy, Brandon Nelson explains on Chowhound.
Chowhound's Bull Market Burger
Tip #2: Minimal handling is just as important. Form the patties gently, compressing as little as possible. Just as overworking pastry and dough will make it tough, so will over-handling your meat.
Tip #3: Make an indentation in the middle of each patty. Just press your thumb (not too firmly) into the meat and the divot will prevent it from puffing up and will allow it to cook evenly, mike0989 says. This one is also endorsed by Jon Lemon, culinary director of Bareburger; see more BBQ tips and tricks from chefs.
Tip #4: Don't press the patties with a spatula as they cook—that just forces out the juice. Your spatula is strictly for flipping, and only once.
Tip #5: Keep in mind there's carryover cooking time, so pull the burgers off the grill just shy of your target doneness. They'll be just right when they hit the table, cstr says. Conversely, pull them off when they already look perfect, and by the time they hit your bun, they'll be overdone.
Tip #6: If you just can't resist buying lean ground beef, try adding a bit of water to it, valerie says. A little extra moisture helps even well-done burgers stay juicy and tender, even if they're made from 90 percent lean ground beef. Mix in 1/4 to 1/2 cup water per pound of ground beef before forming your patties to reap the tenderizing benefit of H20.
Tip #7: Try stuffing it with cheese and adding fat via toppings. The classic Juicy Lucy is a great option for anyone who wants a really luxurious burger, since it's full of molten cheese:
Chowhound's Juicy Lucy Burger
Along those lines, adding fatty, moist condiments like aioli, bacon jam, ripe tomatoes, and sliced avocado will help boost your burger's juicy factor (and flavor), but can't totally save a bone-dry patty, so follow the tips above to ensure your burgers stay perfectly moist on the grill, and then go to town with the toppings. Check out 15 Non-Traditional Burger Recipes for Summer BBQs for ideas.
Related video: Hack Your Cookout
- Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Return "Every Grain Old is New Again"See an exclusive clip of Alton Brown's Good Eats: The ReturnPeople
- Target launches new flagship grocery brand"Good & Gather” will include over 2,000 products by the end of 2020.Food & Wine
- What on Earth is a long neck avocado?And why does it look like a gourd?My Recipes
Hack Your CookoutChowhound2:06
Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Return "Every Grain Old is New Again"People3:05
Target launches new flagship grocery brandFood & Wine0:48
What on Earth is a long neck avocado?My Recipes0:45
This BBQ spot serves vegan versions of your favoritesINSIDER5:08
Grilled Pork Chops with Honey Garlic GlazeFood & Wine5:26
How to freeze cakesBetter Homes and Gardens1:19
Fudge M&Ms and Skittle Dips: Sheinelle and Willie try new candiesTODAY3:40
Tips From The Test Kitchen: How to Cut CitrusSouthern Living0:43
How to make fajitas like an authentic Mexican restaurantThe Daily Meal2:29
Queen Elizabeth brings a piece of this food wherever she goesBuzz601:06
Would you eat this crab fried in Hot Cheetos?INSIDER3:58
Trying all-vegan soul food in HarlemINSIDER4:00
This Turkish chef uses ostrich eggs to create giant dishesINSIDER1:17
BLT? Grilled cheese? This is America's favorite sandwichTODAY1:57
Grilled garden vegetable salad with Ludo LefebvreFood & Wine6:42
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Grilling & BBQ?
All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission. For more great hand-picked products, check out the Chowhound Shop.