How to grill the perfect burger: 10 key tips

The iconic hamburger might appear simple to make, but a lot of times we get it wrong.

Americans consume some 50 billion hamburgers a year. What’s so hard about shaping some ground meat into a patty and cooking it?


We use the wrong grind of beef. We handle the meat and shape them wrong. We cook them wrong.

This weekend is prime burger time. 

May is National Hamburger month May is also deemed National Barbecue Month and Memorial Day is the unofficial kick-off to the grilling season and one of the most popular times of the year to grill outdoors. 

And so, as we head into Memorial Day here’s our guide to grilling burgers to perfection.

What kind of beef should I use?

Choose beef with fat in it. Most cookbooks and burger aficionados say the ideal choice is 80/20 beef chuck. This means it’s 80 percent lean and has 20 percent fat. You can go somewhat leaner if you like with ground beef labeled 85/15. Any leaner be sure to add some moisture like Worcestershire sauce or wine to prevent the burger from drying out. Ground beef labeled hamburger, according to “Weber’s Ultimate Grilling: a Step-by-Step Guide to Barbecue Genius” by grill master Jamie Purviance (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26.99). And if you can, grind your beef.