To make 4 succulent beef patties, start with 1¼ pounds of ground chuck (85 percent lean or less). Then heat your grill to medium-high.
Divide the meat and gently form it into 4 balls. (Don’t overwork the meat or it will become dry and tough.)
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Flatten the balls into ¾-inch-thick patties. Also flatten the top and sides of each patty to ensure that the thickness is the same throughout.
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Use your fingers to make a shallow well in the top of each patty (this will prevent overplumping). Season the patties with salt and pepper.
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Oil the grill grate using a pair of tongs and a paper towel dipped in canola oil. (Don’t spray on the oil or you’ll risk a flare-up.)
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Cook, with the wells facing up, until the burgers release easily, 4 to 5 minutes for medium. (Don’t press or flatten.) Flip; cook 4 to 5 minutes more.
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Check the doneness with a thermometer. (Insert it through the side so the tip is in the center.) It should register 155° F for medium.
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When to Add the Cheese
If you are making cheeseburgers, add your chosen cheese 2 minutes before the burger is done and cook with the grill covered.
To get that oozing, melted effect everyone craves, be sure the cheese you’re using is properly prepped. Firm cheeses (Cheddar, Swiss, American) should be sliced or grated; soft cheeses (fresh goat, Feta, blue) should be crumbled.