How to Grill a Medium-Rare Burger

Sometimes the simplest food items are the most challenging to cook. Many Americans grill up charred, dry burgers that defy the medium-rare, juicy, perfectly disc-shaped burgers they set out to make. Making a perfect burger is more attainable than it seems. Gather the correct ingredients and follow a few techniques, and you will be the hero of your backyard grilling party. The leaner the beef, the fewer calories you will consume. A 6-ounce beef burger, 85 percent lean, contains 360 calories before you add a bun and condiments. A 6-ounce turkey burger contains 180 to 300 calories. Try a leaner ground meat for a healthier option.

Step 1

Turn the gas grill burners on the highest setting, and close the lid. Heat for approximately 10 minutes. For a charcoal grill, light the charcoal about 30 minutes prior to grilling.

Step 2

Season the hamburger meat with salt and pepper. Use the kitchen scale to weigh six 6-ounce portions, or separate the ground meat into six equally sized segments.

Step 3

Flatten the meat into patties approximately four inches in diameter.

Step 4

Depress the center of the patties about a half inch to prevent the patties from puffing up during cooking and creating a dome-shaped burger.

Step 5

Clean the grill rack with a wire brush, and using tongs, apply vegetable oil with a handful of paper towels. Add the hamburger patties to the grill. Do not press down on them.

Step 6

On the gas grill, allow to cook three minutes on the first side, flip, and grill approximately three-and-a-half minutes on the second side for medium-rare. On the charcoal grill, cook for two minutes on the first side, flip, and cook about two-and-a-half minutes on the second side.

Step 7

Grill the hamburger buns for 30 seconds just before serving. The Cook's Illustrated test kitchen recommends using a hamburger bun with a hearty texture that stands up to condiments and remains moist after grilling.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 1/4 lbs. ground meat

  • Kitchen scale (optional)

  • Salt and pepper

  • Wire brush

  • Paper towels

  • Vegetable oil

  • Charcoal or gas grill

  • Spatula

  • Clean plate


For a spicy burger, add seasoning, such as oregano or Cajun spices, to the hamburger meat prior to forming the patties.

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