How to Grill the Perfect Burger

Chef Spike Mendelsohn of D.C.'s Good Stuff Eatery shares a few pointers to get that perfect, juicy bite. How to choose your meat, the smartest cooking times, and the best method to top it off with cheese...

THE ART OF GRILLING THE PERFECT BURGER

Besides the vegetarians and health nuts among us, who doesn't love a juicy burger during the summertime? But, like frying the perfect egg, grilling up the perfect burger isn't as easy as it might seem. The secret? It's as much in the preparation as it is in the cooking.

Spike Mendelsohn, rock star chef of D.C.'s Good Stuff Eatery (and of Top Chef fame), shared a few key burger-making pointers at a Philly event on August 7.

  • Choose your meat. At Good Stuff, Mendelsohn makes his burgers out of short rib, chuck and brisket.
  • Season ground meat mixture with salt, pepper and any other herbs and seasonings, then wrap patties in wax paper so ingredients can mesh together.
  • Let meat rest at room temperature to ensure more even cooking. A too-frigid patty can mess with that perfectly pink center. 
  • Cook burgers several minutes. Flip, then cook a few minutes more. Don’t press patties while they’re cooking—it only squeezes out precious juices, and why would you want to do that?
  • Remove from the grill a few minutes before they're done and place on a metal sheet to rest for five minutes. This lets impurities drain off without leaving a soggy bun. 
  • Return the burgers to the grill.
  • Perfect the order. If you're topping burgers with cheese and bacon, lay the bacon on top of the patty then top with cheese, then cover for a few minutes. This melts the cheese into the bacon and the patty, essentially fusing them together.