10 Hamburger Grilling Hacks For the Best Burgers Ever

Butter burger? Yes please!

Throwing hamburgers on the grill is always a crowd-pleaser. And you can level up your burgers with a few quick and easy hacks to improve the taste, texture, and overall greatness. Whether you’re grilling on gas, charcoal, or electric, you can bring your burger to pro-levels without too many tweaks. We turned to the pros to share their favorite hamburger grilling hacks and tips for the best burgers you’ve ever had. 

Keep reading for some pro-approved burger advice!


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Customize your char 

If you’re hosting a crowd, you can cater to your guests’ tastes without too much extra effort. “If I'm grilling burgers for my family and friends, I always take into consideration everyone's preferences,” says Joe Gurrera, owner and fishmonger at gourmet store Citarella. “If you like your burgers with more of a char, cook them towards the center of the grill while the flame is high. For less char, you can wait until the flame dies down, or use the outside of the grill.” 

Stay unique with your beef blend

Switching up the types of beef in your burger blend can change up the flavor and texture of your burgers. Go beyond standard ground beef for a chef-approved burger to grill. “Talk to your butcher about what's on offer as far as different blends go, and don't be afraid to try something different,” says Gurrera. He’s a fan of his ultimate dry-aged burger, which combines dry-aged sirloin, short rib, and brisket, which all tastes super meaty together. 

Keep your beef cold

Cook your burgers straight out of the fridge, or out of the cooler with ice. “Set yourself up for success by prepping burgers correctly: Keep the ground beef cold, and don’t let it come to room temperature before cooking it,” says Brad Wise, chef and owner of Rare Society steakhouse. “You’re going to pack the patties tightly together—being cold helps you shape them and keep them formed—and it will also ensure you don’t overcook the burger, and will help you get some flavor from the grill into the patty.”  

Maintain the grill temperature

“One of the major keys to grilling a perfect burger is maintaining the temperature of your grill,” says Rodney Scott, James Beard Award-winning pitmaster and owner of Rodney Scott's Whole Hog BBQ. He recommends keeping the temperature between 400 and 450 degrees, and keeping the vents open on your grill to allow for airflow.

Season your patties

Unseasoned patties leads to unseasoned burgers, and seasoning is where you can really let your flavors shine. Gurrera adds just salt, pepper, and olive oil to his patties, but Scott recommends going to another level with a spicy rub blended into your patty meat. His signature combo: cracked pepper, garlic, porcini mushroom, crushed juniper, and a special mix of herbs.

Keep meat moist with an ice cube

To trap moisture inside the burger as it grills, put an ice cube inside of your patty. Form the patty around the ice cube just before grilling, and then flatten and throw it on the grill. The slowly melting water will steam the inside of the burger and trap moisture for a juicy finish. 

Make a divot

For perfectly flat burgers (not hockey pucks), you’ll want to create a little indentation in your raw meat. “When you’re forming your own patties, remember that as the fat melts and the meat contracts, the burger shrinks. This means if your burgers are a little thicker in the middle, they’re going to transform into meatballs by the time they’re done cooking,” says chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible. “This doesn’t just look lousy. The shoddy distribution gives you a tiny amount of meat in each bite near the edge of the bun, and way too much in the middle. That’s why you want to make your patties slightly thinner in the center; use your thumbs to make a small divot or dimple in the middle. It will disappear as the meat shrinks during cooking. and you’ll wind up with a perfectly uniform burger.”  

Double up on cheese

If you’re making cheeseburgers, use more cheese than you think you need, and go for thin slices, which are easy to place and to melt. “If you’re doing cheese, nothing melts quite like American,” says Irvine. “And remember you often lose most of a single slice to melting. Like an aggressive NFL coach, I say go for two.” 

Upgrade with a butter burger

Fat is essential to cooking burgers, and adding buttery flavor is an indulgent way to make it better. Freeze a stick of butter, and then grate it into your burger blend so that the butter is mixed and incorporated into each patty. When the meat and butter combo hits the grill, you’ll be rewarded with creamy, buttery goodness.

Fake it indoors

If rain ruins your plans or you just don’t want to light up the grill for a small scale burger night, grilling burgers on the stovetop is chef-approved. “If you’re cooking inside, I prefer cast-iron. Get the pan just about to its smoking point before you add your meat,” suggests Irvine. Gurrera also uses a stovetop sauté pan. Just make sure it’s hot to get a nice sear on your meat. 

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