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Happy grilling season! I can’t believe (American) Independence Day is in just a couple of weeks. Summer is flying by. One of my favorite ways to enjoy it is with a good barbecue. Especially when a juicy burger is involved!
Fire up the grill, get a round of drinks going, and engage in some deep conversation as the breeze blows through your hair. Or chase your little girl running around in circles in the grass. Either way. That’s my kind of summer afternoon. This year we’ll be up north for a wedding for the fourth, but we still plan to grill many times before that… and after.
How To Make a Juicy Burger, Part 1: Two Secret Ingredients
With grilling season in full swing, what better way to celebrate than with the perfect juicy burger recipe? This one is simple. Good burgers are not about complexity. What does make this recipe special is two secret ingredients. Can you guess what they are?
Olive oil and Worcestershire sauce! Who knew?
Surprisingly, I actually like to use relatively lean ground beef (90/10 or 85/15) for my burgers. Mainly it’s because the organic brand that I like comes in these ratios. It actually doesn’t matter, as long as the meat you use is nice and fresh.
With this recipe, you’d never guess they are lean. Mixing olive oil and Worcestershire sauce into the meat prior to cooking locks in the moisture and flavors amazingly well.
As for seasonings, I like to keep it simple with sea salt, black pepper, and a little garlic powder. Feel free to add other spices if you’d like!
The salt is actually the most important from a flavor perspective. A good rule of thumb is to use one teaspoon per pound of meat.
Of course, there is more to a perfectly juicy burger than the ingredients. The preparation is actually the most important part.
How To Make a Juicy Burger, Part 2: Preparation Tips
The most critical thing to avoid is overworking the meat when incorporating the ingredients and forming the patties. Mixing or mashing too much pushes the juices out and leads to a tough burger. Instead, use a gentle kneading motion to mix the ingredients into the ground beef.
Ideally, use cold hands to work with the meat, which will prevent it from heating up and becoming rubbery. Form the patties gently too, again to avoid driving out the juices.
Make a large thumb print in the middle of each patty, which will prevent the burgers from puffing up as they cook. This happens because the heat pushes the juices to the middle, so if you start out with a cavity in the middle, the burger will be nice and flat when they are done.
How To Make a Juicy Burger, Part 3: Cooking Tips
You can actually make these burgers in a frying pan if you’d like, but of course nothing beats smoky burgers straight off the grill. What that really means is a grill (or pan) that’s hot, hot, hot. Don’t be afraid to turn up the heat! The burgers should be seared nicely for maximum flavor, so make sure the grill is preheated well before adding the burgers.
Whatever you do, don’t keep checking on them by lifting the lid or moving them around. Once you add the patties, leave them undisturbed for five to six minutes, then flip only once. Cook undisturbed again until they are done to your liking. Avoid squeezing the burgers with a spatula, unless you like dry burgers. (Come on, who likes dry burgers?)
With experience, you’ll know how long it takes until the burgers are done on your grill. Until then, use a meat thermometer to test for doneness, and let them rest for a few minutes before eating.
Resting the meat allows the juices to settle, so they stay in the burger – where you want them. If you cut the burgers open to find out if they are done, all the juices will leak out and you’ll end up with a dry burger. Nobody wants that. One other way to check that a burger is medium-rare is to touch it gently to see if it’s slightly springy yet, but don’t overdo this method, because again you’ll squeeze the juices out.
Follow these tips, incorporate the secret ingredients, and you’ll end up with a perfectly seared, juicy burger every time. I serve mine over lettuce with some tomato, avocado, and whole grain mustard, but often times I love to add cheese, too.
And even though this blog is low carb, I’m sure some readers may not be – so it goes without saying that you could easily add your favorite bun. (Update: If you’re looking for a low carb bun option, try the flattened version of my 4-ingredient almond flour biscuits!)
Who’s ready for a barbecue?
Juicy Burger Recipe & Tips – Grill or Stovetop:
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Want more low carb, gluten-free ideas for beef? Try these: