grilling light-colored meat on a gas grill
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Learn Your Burger Basics


Achieving a juicy, delectably charred burger requires a certain degree of skill. Grillmaster Martin provides some pointers.

Think thin. The best burgers are three-quarters to an inch thick. Too plump and they tend to char on the outside and undercook on the inside.

Make an impression. Use the back of a spoon to make a shallow, inch-wide dent in each patty (unless it's stuffed). That'll help them cook flat so they don't look like oversize meatballs.

Pat your patties. Dab each burger with a paper towel and sprinkle with salt. Both will wick moisture from the surface, allowing for better browning.

Start hot. A temperature of 450 degrees is just right for cooking burgers. Place patties over direct heat.

Go easy on 'em. Stabbing burgers with a fork when turning them drains their precious juices. Instead, use a spatula and flip when you see moisture rising to the surface.

Know when to stop. Grilling times vary, so getting a temperature reading is key. Medium-rare burgers are ready at 130 degrees, medium at 140 degrees. For safety, Martin recommends the USDA guideline of 160 degrees—well-done.
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