How To: Grilling the Perfect Burger (Indirect 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 direct 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 to 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 1-inch thick or more: Building your fire to one side of the fire bowl creates two temperature zones: one for searing over high direct heat (This is how you get a crunchy, carmelized crust.) and one for bringing the burgers up to your desired degree of doneness using moderate indirect heat.
  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: Sear over direct heat for 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your burger. Searing can be done with the grill lid on or off.
  7. Step 7: After searing, move the burgers to the opposite side of the grill to cook indirectly until done (with the grill lid on for a smokier flavor).
  8. Step 8: 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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