Why You Shouldn't Press Burgers While Cooking

The arrival of warmer weather means that grilling season is fast approaching (and in some places, already here). It also means it's time to get out the grill, give it good clean, making sure to scrub off any remnants from last season still sticking to the grates. You've also checked that you have enough charcoal briquettes or propane so your food actually gets fully cooked.

Chances are, you'll be cooking up some burgers on that grill. Whether you're a purist and make your burgers with just ground beef and some seasoning, or you like to add extras like eggs and bread crumbs, or even some coca cola, to your patties, remember not to mix your meat too much, use wet hands to form the patties, and add a dimple to the center of your patties so they keep their shape. Don't salt those patties just yet, as the best time to salt your burgers is just before you place them on the grill. Once your grill is hot enough, you place your patties on to a satisfying sizzling sound. Now you wait. And as you wait, you may feel the urge to press on the burgers with your spatula, but whatever you do, don't give in to that temptation!

Do not press down on your burgers if you want juicy and tasty burgers

Maybe you think pressing down on your burgers with your spatula will make them cook faster, or add the perfect grill marks. It doesn't do either, according to The Kitchn. Worse, what you are really doing is pressing out all the delicious juices and flavors from your patty, explains The Spruce Eats. This is particularly bad if you're using coals, as the juices dripping onto your coals will not only cause a flame, but it will also add a carbon taste to your burgers, according to Eat This, Not That!.

Pressing down on your burgers also make it more likely for the patties to stick to the grill (via Reluctant Gourmet), making it difficult to flip the burger (which you should only do once during the cooking process for the best results). So, depending on how well done you like your burgers, be patient for that two to five minutes per side (or use a meat thermometer if you're unsure), flip once, and leave those patties alone. The payoff will be juicy burgers full of flavor well worth waiting for.