Grill Burgers Perfectly Every Time with This Timing Hack!

There’s something magical about the sound of burgers sizzling on the grill. A smoky aroma wafts in the air while folks gather around the grates, claiming their favorite patty. Grilling season is the ideal time to share with friends and showcase your skills.

It can be difficult, however, to tell exactly how long to keep your burgers on the flame. You want those trademark grill lines without overcooking the beef into a tough disc. And, everyone has their own preference for their burger’s doneness. Read on to learn just how long to grill your burger, plus get tips for the tastiest burger ever from pitmaster Rodney Scott.

How to Prep Burgers for the Grill

It’s truly all about the beef. Go with an 80/20 ground chuck for the best result — it ensures a hearty, bold flavor and a firm but tender burger.

Season the ground beef with salt, pepper, and aromatics before placing your patty on the grill. “I like to incorporate my sauce into the burger before grilling,” says Scott. “The flavors come alive when the fat, meat, and flame come together.”

Shape your patties into the desired thickness, being careful not to over-handle them. Too much manipulation before grilling will give you chewy meat.

How Long Should You Cook Burgers on the Grill?

While the USDA recommends cooking ground meat to 160 degrees F, some prefer a red or pink center. Whatever your taste, keep a meat thermometer on hand to know the moment to remove your burger from heat.

How long you should keep your burger on the grill depends on the thickness of the patty and the desired doneness. Follow these guidelines for a 3/4-inch to 1-inch beef patty.

Medium-Rare: Grill burgers for 2 1/2 to 3 minutes per side. Look for 130-135 degrees F on the thermometer reading.

Medium: Grill for 3 1/2 to 4 minutes per side, or until 140-145 degrees F.

Medium Well/Well Done: 4 1/2 to 5 minutes per side, or until 155-160 degrees F.

Thicker patties will require a longer cook time; keep your eyes on the grill and practice patience. Keep in mind that these cooking times are based on high, direct heat. Avoid grilling your burgers on low — you won’t get the beautiful, flame-kissed crust that makes the whole cookout worth it.

More Tips for the Perfect Grilled Burger

  • Scott likes his burgers “classic with a few accessories.” He adds bold ingredients like fish sauce, steak seasoning, and smoked bacon for unbelievably delicious results.
  • Try an upside-down burger. “You put your grilled burger into a bun, flip it upside down, and let the juice run down into it,” says Scott. The thick top bun absorbs the juice and makes that first bite even better.”
  • High-quality beef is your best chance at a great burger. Scott gets grass-fed patties delivered to his door via ButcherBox. “It’s makes it so much easier to get the party started,” he explains. “And you get to experiment at home first before cooking for other people.”
  • “The most important thing to keep in mind is that the process should be fun,” states Scott. “Bring the conversation to the grill and just enjoy yourself.”


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