Holiday Grilling Tips!

Memorial Day is just days away and traditionally starts off the grilling season.  With so much volatile weather I hope everyone gets the chance to celebrate it outdoors with family and friends.

Many of us will be grilling hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken and although you’ve probably been grilling these for years do you really know the best way?  Is your food juicy or dry?

Here are some tips to insure you have perfectly grilled hamburgers:

  • For the most tender and flavorful burgers get the freshest meat.  In fact, have your butcher grind you a combination of brisket and chuck about 45-55% ratio.  Brisket provides the richness while the chuck, a rich beefy flavor.
  • Keep the fat content at 22% for the best taste.  Although this is higher than the leanest beef you can pick up at the stores it will provide you with superior burgers, not dry, tasteless ones.
  • Make your patties at least 1 inch thick and at least 1 inch larger in diameter than the bun.  This way, when the burger cooks down, it will end up being about the same size as your bun.
  • When forming the burgers, work quickly and with a light touch, packing the meat as loosely as possible.  You will get a lighter texture and less shrinkage if you don’t pack the meat.
  • Make a slight depression in the center of  each patty.  Burgers shrink more at the edges than in the center, so the indentation in the center will give you a patty of a more even thickness when the meat is cooked.  (Have you ever wondered why the centers take that much longer than the rest of the burger?  This is why, so don’t forget to slightly press in the center of the raw burger with your thumb. It will make all the difference).
  • Store prepped burgers in a single layer in the refrigerator and salt and pepper the tops just before placing on the grill and the other side once flipped.
  • Use a spatula to flip the burgers, but never, ever press the tops with the spatula.  Pressing the burgers serves only to squeeze out the juices, leaving you with a dry burger. Only turn the burgers once.  This give you the best crust.
  • For a rare burger cook 4 1/2 to 5 minutes; for medium-rare 6-7 minutes; and for the safest burger cook to medium for about 8-9 minutes total.  However, grass-fed beef  poses less risk of bacterial contamination and is healthier for the planet if you can find it.  
  • For the best accuracy, check your burgers with an instant read thermometer for an internal temperature of 160 degrees.   
  • Let burgers rest for 2 minutes to allow the juices to relax and disperse.
  • If you don’t want to go to the trouble of having your butcher grind the meat for you or doing it yourself, then pick up some KOBE burgers, they’re amazing and delicious!  They can be found at fine grocery stores everywhere.

In addition to grilling burgers here is a list of the recommended internal temperatures for various meats.  Using an instant read thermometer will give you an accurate reading however, remember, DO NOT leave your instant read thermometer in the grill or oven.  Take it out after checking the internal temperatures.

USDA Recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures:
Steaks & Roasts – 145 °F
Fish – 145 °F
Pork – 160 °F
Ground Beef – 160 °F
Egg Dishes – 160 °F
Chicken Breasts – 165 °F
Whole Poultry – 165 °F

For tips on How to Grill Perfect Chicken view a previous blog post.

Wishing you a safe and fantastic Memorial Day with great food and friends!

Happy Grilling!

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  1. Thanks for the tips, Vicki! I forwarded to my husband, our “Master Griller” – I think even he may learn a thing or two!

  2. Here’s a test comment.

  3. Sorry for the delay reply Maria, I was having trouble posting replies on my blog.

    I hope your husband found my grilling tips helpful and that you all had a wonderful holiday!

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