The Shaping Technique For Perfect Grilled Burgers

It seems simple enough: Use hands to shape ground meat into a patty, season, and place on grill to create a juicy, flavorful hamburger. But anyone who has made a hamburger knows there is a lot more technique required to make sure the patty stays together, cooks evenly, and remains juicy on the grill. The secret to shaping the patty to help it become the grilled burger you are picturing means not making it too large or too small — both being common mistakes made by home cooks. A large, thick patty is more likely to fall apart on the grill, while a patty that is too thin poses the risk of getting lost amidst the bun and toppings.

Before shaping the ground beef — or a blend of meats — into a patty, it's important to have the right ratio of fat to lean meat. Ideally, the meat will be at least 70% lean and 30% fat for a medium-well cook, while closer to 80% lean and 20% fat would be better suited for a medium cook. Once you have the meat ready to shape, remember to make it a little bigger than the bun because the patty will shrink as it cooks. A patty around 5 ounces is ideal so it fills the bun but isn't so big and juicy that the bun gets soggy and falls apart in your hands. 

But there is one more step needed to help those burgers be everything you dreamed.

Dimples are more than cute

To help your patty maintain its size and shape as it sizzles on the grill, give it a little dimple. The reason being that as the meat is heated on all sides, the patty's edges shrink, resulting in a smaller patty that may no longer fit as nicely on your bun as you'd like. By using the tip of your thumb or the back of a spoon to create an indentation in the center of the hamburger patty, it will cook more evenly, and will help to limit the amount the patty shrinks. Without the dimple, your patties are at risk of getting inflated as the juices expand, causing it to curl up and become rounded.

After you have your round, dimpled patty, it's ready to go on the grill, which must be hot when the meat hits the metal. Once the patty is on the grill, let the heat do its magic and resist the temptation to press down on them, which only serves to release the juices that make the grilled hamburger so amazing to sink your teeth into. 

Finally, set the patty on the bun and stack on the toppings to make a scrumptious hamburger you and your friends will talk about for a long time.