Grilling burgers is a top American summer must-do, but if you haven’t mastered the perfect burger yet, you’ve still got plenty of Summer left and we’ve got some burger grilling tips to help you out.
The best way to get a super juicy burger is going to surprise you because it involves, wait for it, ice. Yes, apparently putting a bit of ice in your burger patty before it goes on the grill is one of those little-known burger grilling tips, so let’s look into how it actually works.
Master Chef judge Graham Elliot explained the trick to Fox News. “Make your patties, then put your little ice cube in there and then when you grill it, it keeps it moist and keeps it from getting dried out.”
As the hamburger patty cooks, the ice melts slowly, keeping the burger moist. Now, if you want to kick the basic burger up a flavor notch, you could freeze some other kind of liquid (beef stock or mushroom stock, for example) and use that instead of a plain ice cube for more flavorful juices.
If you’re worried that the ice will keep the burger from reaching the right internal temperature, you don’t have to. Some burger recipes actually call for keeping hamburger patties cold before grilling so that the fat doesn’t melt before the hamburger reaches the fire.
For a demonstration of how this trick works, check out a video from the folks at Tesco:
The ice helps keep a burger juicy, but for the best-grilled burgers, here are a few other burger grilling tips.
Of course, the best burgers start out with the right meat. You want to use good quality ground meat, but don’t just go for the package at the grocery store marked ground beef. Look for ground chuck with between 15 and 20 percent fat content.
Regardless of whether you’re using a gas grill or charcoal grill, make sure the grate is clean and well oiled. You don’t want your burgers to stick when you flip them over (and flip them one time only).
Watch the high heat if you have a high-fat burger. Fat dripping onto the fire can cause flare-ups, which although it gives you a nice crust on the burger, can cook the outside while the inside is still cold.
A great burger is a juicy burger, so in addition to the ice cube trick, don’t press, flatten, or cut into the burger while it’s cooking. Leave it alone except to flip it (one flip only); to check doneness, use a meat thermometer. Cook’s Country gives this handy guide to internal temperature/doneness and cooking time:
MEDIUM-RARE: 125 to 130 degrees, 2 to 3 minutes per side
MEDIUM: 135 to 140 degrees, 3 to 4 minutes per side
MEDIUM-WELL: 145 to 160 degrees, 4 to 5 minutes per side
WELL-DONE: 160 degrees and up, 5 minutes and up per side
Once you’ve cooked the beef, don’t forget the rest of what makes a better burger. You want a hamburger bun with the right texture, something that can stand up to a juicy hamburger patty but doesn’t overwhelm the taste of the meat. And don’t forget good condiments. Whether you’re going with the classic American cheese, Heinz 57, lettuce, and tomato combo or something more adventurous like smoked cheddar, barbecue sauce, and red onions, put the good stuff on your burger.