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How To: Grilling the Perfect Burger (Direct Heat Method)

Burgers of every variety are one of the most popular items for grilling. To be safe, ground beef—or ground meat of any type, for that matter—requires some special handling, different from steaks, roasts, or other solid-muscle cuts.

Raw ground beef should never be allowed to reach room temperature—use it chilled, directly from your refrigerator when forming patties. Put the patties in the refrigerator to chill until ready to grill.

Burgers can be any size—from mini- to mega-sized. A typical burger is about 4 ounces of meat or more, about 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick and 3 to 4 inches in diameter—about the size of the palm of the average hand.

Burgers up to 3/4 inches thick may be grilled using indirect or direct heat. Burgers 1 inch thick or more should be grilled using indirect heat. Click here for a how-to on grilling burgers with indirect heat.

We also have pre-selected packages available with all the ingredients you need to follow this tutorial.

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The Steps :

  1. Step 1: Take a lump of ground beef and, with cupped hands and a light touch, coax the meat into a ball. Place the ball in one hand—with palm flat. With your other hand—palm facing the other palm—gently press down on the ball, forming it into a disk.

    Rotate the disk between your palms, pressing the side with your thumb to keep the disk round and the sides straight. Work the beef as little as possible to keep from compressing the beef too much, which will make the burger tough.
  2. Step 2: Stack the burger patties on a platter in a single layer. Separate additional layers with parchment or wax paper, and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Step 3: For burgers up to 3/4 inches: Building your fire in the center of the fire bowl creates a single temperature zone: hot. This will help develop a crunchy, carmelized crust. The temperature will taper slightly toward the outer edges. Generally, however, when cooking to specific preferences, burgers over the center of the fire will be medium-rare, when the burgers on the outer edges are rare. It takes a little choreography to get them all to come out to the same degree of doneness.
  4. Step 4: After removing them from the refrigerator, assemble the chilled patties with the olive oil, sea or kosher salt and pepper just before putting them on the grill.
  5. Step 5: Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with fresh-cracked pepper and salt.
  6. Step 6: Cook over direct heat for 2 to 4 minutes per side, depending on the thickness of your burger. (Grill with the lid on for a smokier flavor.)
  7. Step 7: After removing the burgers from the grill, allow them to rest 3 to 4 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute within the meat for the juiciest burger you've ever tasted.


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