If your idea of an ideal summer day is to grill burgers outside, then you really must master how to grill burgers. Every grill aficionado has their idea of what a perfectly grilled burger should be like. Most would consider a medium rare burger as the sweet spot – still juicy and tender. When the burger gets too dry, it’s not enjoyable to eat anymore.
The secret is knowing how to properly grill the hamburger to achieve the ideal internal temperature. Use this guide to find out how to master grilling so you can enjoy burgers all summer long – or any time of the year.
What is the Ideal Temperature for a Medium Rare Burger?
If a medium rare burger is what you are aiming for, then you need to know the ideal temperature to aim for when grilling. A medium rare burger is sought after because the meat is juicy and tender.
The ideal temperature for a medium rare burger is 130 to 135 degrees F. The ground beef, when cooked until medium rare, will have a pinkish-red center. The outside of the burger patty looks golden brown with only a slight charring.
The best way to achieve a medium rare burger is to use a meat thermometer. This is the only way that you can accurately achieve the temperature of the meat to get the grilling results you want.
Is a Medium Rare Burger Safe to Eat?
When it comes to grilling any kind of meat, especially burgers, safety is always a concern in terms of achieving the desired internal temperature. A lot of people find themselves dealing with meat that is too tough or dry because they are afraid to eat burgers that are cooked to medium rare.
There are several factors that can affect how safe it is to consume a burger that is cooked to medium rare. The first step is to pasteurize the meat by cooking it for roughly 12 minutes until you achieve 140 degrees. This is only a little bit higher than the recommended internal temperature for a medium rare burger, which is 130 to 135 degrees F. It is close enough that you won’t be able to tell a significant difference in terms of the texture of the meat, yet it ensures that any bacteria that might be present in the meat is killed in the grilling process.
When buying pre-made patties from the store, take note of the pasteurization process so you can safely consume your burger.
What are the different levels of doneness in a burger?
If you don’t like to eat medium rare burgers, there are different ways to cook your burger to achieve your desired level of doneness. You can use the tips below in order to get the cook right depending on how you like your burger.
Grilling a Rare Burger
First thing’s first, a rare burger is something that is not recommended for everyone. You must only grill your burger to this temperature and level of doneness if you use premium beef that you ground yourself.
To achieve a rare burger, you need to grill the patty for 2- 3 minutes on each side. This will cook the exterior of the beef while keeping the inside rare. The result you get is a warm red color in the center that feels soft and spongy.
Grilling a Medium Rare Burger
To grill a medium rare burger, you can sear the burger patty for 3-4 minutes per side. This will help you achieve that pinkish-red center and a golden brown finish on the outside with slight charring.
The internal temperature you are aiming for here is anywhere from 125 to 135 degrees. The meat should feel juicy and tender with some resistance.
Grilling a Well-Done Burger
There are a few people who enjoy a well-done burger because of safety reasons. To make sure that the meat is cooked all the way through, you must grill the meat for 12 minutes on each side. You know the meat is cooked when it turns brown without any trace of pink or redness.
The internal temperature of a well-done burger is 160 degrees F.
Best Grilling Tips for Burgers
Now that you know the temperature chart for grilling burgers, the next step is to know how to grill burgers like a pro. These tips will get you started so you can make the perfect burgers every single time.
- Make your own burger patties. There are a lot of pre-made burger patties on the market these days, but if you want the best burgers, it is recommended that you make your own patties. This will enable you to select the best kinds of meat to ground and then you can choose the spices you want. When making your patties, resist the urge to over handle the meat as it can cause the fat to melt – and fat is flavor!
- Make sure there is an adequate ratio of fat to meat. Lean meat is healthier, but you need fat if you want your burger patty to be as flavorful as possible. The ideal ratio is 85% ground lean beef and 15% fat. Make sure that the fat is also evenly distributed throughout the patty.
- Brush your grill with oil before grilling. This will help keep the burger from sticking to the grill. Also, the addition of the oil will help create a more beautiful sear on the outside of the meat.
- Flip your burgers once only. It can be very tempting to flip your patties a few times while grilling; however, you must resist the urge. This will test your patience, but it is important that you refrain from fiddling with the meat too much.
- Check the burger’s internal temperature. This is the most important secret to achieving the perfect burger – getting the internal temperature right. You must check your burger to see if it has reached the internal temperature according to your desired level of doneness.
Whether you want a medium rare burger or something that is well-done, it is important that you have the right tools at hand to check the desired level of temperature.