Here's Why Your Grilled Burgers Are Always Dry

The difference between a good burger and a great burger? Ask anyone who loves them, and they'll say it's the juiciness of the patty. There's nothing quite as unappetizing as a burger that's dry and crumbly. If you're making burgers from scratch, you may have run into this issue before, but fortunately it's easy to avoid.

According to Eat This, Not That, the main reason burgers dry out is simply that they're overcooked. This typically occurs when you cook the patties straight out of the fridge, or worse, the freezer. This causes the burgers to cook unevenly, and by the time the patty is cooked in the middle, the outside is already tough. Eat This, Not That therefore recommends letting your patties reach room temperature before you place them on the grill.

The Pioneer Woman adds that burgers continue to cook even after they're removed from the heat, so if you don't want your burgers to end up being well-done, you'll want to take them off just before you think they're finished. 160 to 165 degrees is ideal, she states.

The more you handle your burger meat, the drier it'll be

You may assume that your burger turned out dry because of how it was cooked, but Taste of Home explains that it can happen even before it reaches the stove. If you're adding extra spices to your ground beef, try not to do any more mixing than necessary. The same goes for when you're forming it into patties, because over-handling runs the risk of toughening your meat. Instead of tightly packing the meat together, gently shape it into patties that are four inches around and half an inch thick. If the patties are too thin or too fat, you'll end up with a dry burger either way — too thin and it'll lose moisture, too fat and the outside will overcook faster than the inside.

But if you're sure you're not over-handling your meat and your burger is still dry, chances are you're working with 100% lean beef. For optimal juiciness, you'll want to use meet with a 70-30 lean-to-fat ratio (Taste of Home). Anything higher, and you might as well be eating a turkey burger.