How to grill a restaurant quality hamburger at home

Have you ever been disappointed by a hamburger made at home?  You know, you’re expecting it to taste like something fresh of the flat top of the local dive bar, but it taste like… nothing.  There are some things you can do to make restaurant quality burgers at home.

Restaurant Quality Hamburger

If you’ve been around a while, you know I prefer a burger off a flat cast iron griddle versus off the regular grill.  I also do enjoy a stuffed burger once in a while too.  This post is all about grilling burgers.

Better meat?

Most people would say in order to have the best burger, you have to start with the best meat.  I’m pretty sure that dive bar isn’t using the best of the best.  Given that, better meat does taste better.  I just don’t think it’s as important as one might think.

Seasoning counts:

When seasoning a burger, use plenty of black pepper.  Burgers need a little bite.  As far as salt is concerned, stay away from table salt.  It’s too, um… salty?  You really want to use finely ground Kosher salt or sea salt.

One patty or two?

This one is somewhat debatable but I prefer 2 thin patties versus 1 thick one.  They cook faster and there’s more surface area for searing.  Thick patties also tend to look more like meatballs than burgers after they come off the grill.

Hot zone!

When grilling your burgers, set your grill up for a 2 zone fire.  This gives you a hot zone and a safety zone.  Cook your burgers over the hot zone for 3-5 minutes per side.  If you notice they are cooking a little too fast, move them over to the safety zone to finish cooking at a lower temperature.

Butter your buns:

Take the extra time to slather some melted butter on the inside of your bun.  Put them on the grill face down for 10 to 20 seconds until they are lightly toasted.  Watch them closely because they go from golden brown to scorched in seconds.

It’s all in the details:

Use a good melting cheese on your cheeseburgers like Colby jack, or Swiss, or Havarti. Grill some onions of any variety to put on top.  A little hit of mayo on the toasted bun adds a nice background flavor.  Lettuce and tomato are always nice.  I like to finish off with a couple of bread and butter pickles.

What’s missing from your burgers at home?  Chances are this list covered it.  What are your secrets to grilling the best burger at home?  Did I leave anything out?

Print Friendly

About Raun Lauterbach

Optimistic realist, life enthusiast, outdoor cook, Midwest traveler, husband, father... Follow me: Twitter | Facebook | Get updates in your email
This entry was posted in Camping, Outdoor Cooking and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
  • Raun Lauterbach

    They will keep cooking for a little bit. There’s not a ton of mass to a burger so the carryover won’t be quite the same as with a turkey or a roast. (Full blast is fun, by the way.) :)

  • Jim

    Love the charcoal photo!