The Perfect Hamburger Patty: Simple Grilling Tips from the Pros

Certified Angus Beef®

The 4th of July is upon is, which means it's time to fire up the grill (if you haven't already) and hit the beach, park, and backyard patio to celebrate. But along with all of the festivities comes the common question, “How do I grill the perfect hamburger patty?”

This year, take tips from burger aficionados Michael Ollier, Executive Chef for Certified Angus Beef®, and Peter Kaminsky, award-winning chef and author of The Essential New York Times Guide to Grilling. Taken together, these grilling tips will help you produce the best hamburger patty you’ve ever served. Happy 4th of July!

Choose quality meat

Most experts recommend using 80/20 ground chuck (beef ground exclusively from chuck cuts with an 80% lean to 20% fat ratio). “Some fat, as well as the marbling (the little white flecks of flavor inside the lean meat), is necessary to deliver juicy, flavorful patties,” says Chef Ollier.

Use charcoal (versus briquettes or gas)

Charcoal is available everywhere and, according to Chef Kaminsky “really can’t be beat for the smoky, woody flavors it gives to your grilled ingredients.” Ollier agrees, noting that the two big differences between cooking with charcoal and cooking with gas are time and flavor. “Cooking over charcoal takes longer, but I think it helps impart some wonderful flavor to steaks or burgers.”

Start with a hot grill

500-550˚F is ideal. For charcoal grilling, Ollier advises “waiting until the flames have died down and the coals are glowing underneath their ash coating.”

Make a groove

Create a thumbprint indentation into each patty before placing it on the grill. This helps the patty hold its shape while cooking and ensures even doneness and distribution of juices.

Share this 
About this author

Amanda Cargill, Food Content Director

Amanda Cargill is the Food Content Director at Latina Media Ventures, where she oversees food- and spirits-related features in Latina Magazine and on and She has traveled extensively in Latin America, the Caribbean, Europe, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Her work and travel have cultivated her palate and fostered a love of food and the stories it tells. She is also a former professional dancer who writes arts and entertainment reviews for domestic and international publications. Amanda received her BA in Sociology from UCLA.

Follow her on Twitter at @amandasi and on Instagram at @amandasi1

What We're Reading
Like this post? Contribute to the discussion!

Subscribe to our newsletter