How to Keep Grilled Burgers from Shrinking

Have you ever grilled burgers and have them shrink up into small thick burgers that are half the size of the buns? I don’t know about you but I really like for the grilled burger to fit the bun or even be bigger than the bun. I actually figured out the trick to get the burgers to cook to perfection and not  shrink up and I am so excited to share my findings with all of you.

First off, get the grill cleaned, if using a gas grill , preheated to at least 450 degrees farenheit. If you are using charcoal get the coals nice and hot and evenly covered with white ash. Then you can get the burgers made while the grill is preheating.

The ingredients for your burgers can be whatever type of meat you choose, be it ground chuck, ground buffalo, etc.

I like to use ground chuck or angus beef of 80/20 ratio, any lower and the meat does not have a good flavor, too high of a fat ratio and you will have FIRE !!!

Now the first trick is… take a handful of ground meat, about the size of a tennis ball, should weigh out to about 4 ounces. Mold the meat into a ball and then flatten the meat out to the size of a saucer, approximately 5 to 6 inches across by about 1/4 inch thick, even thinner is okay, you want the meat to be thin at this point. Press the center of the burger to be just a bit thinner but don’t press a hole into the meat. Place the burger onto a baking tray and proceed to make the number of burgers you plan to cook.

Flattened burgers ready for grill- yrcg

Once all of the burgers are made, then you can season the meat. I use a homemade seasoned salt mixture which is just a mix of paprika,kosher salt,black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder. You can use whatever mixture of seasonings you like depending on the type of meat you are using. To evenly season the meat, take the seasoning and sprinkle above the meat at least 8 to 10 inches and the seasoning will be evenly distributed.  

Let the burgers rest after being seasoned, this will take the rest of the chill off the meat before you put them on the grill. 

Once the grill is hot, place the burgers onto the hot grill.

Burgers going on the grill - yrcg

Burgers almost ready to turn - yrcg

The next and most important trick is… DO NOT close the lid on the grill, if you close the lid the burgers start to shrink. Cook the burgers on medium high heat until the edges start to turn brown as you see in the photos. Don’t turn them until they get to this point. You want those beautiful grill marks. Once the edges of the burgers start to turn brown the burgers are ready to turn. Be careful at this point as the juices have been collecting onto the top of the burgers, so when you turn them they will flame up but it will only be brief as long as you do not have a high fat content burger. Have a spray bottle of water handy to spray down flare-ups until the burgers have all been turned. Again, DO NOT close the lid on the burgers.

Beautiful grill marks - yrcg

Cook the burgers on the second side to your preference… medium, medium well or well done. Don’t press the burgers with that spatula in your hand, just leave them alone they haven’t done anything to you, so why press all the goodness out of them.

 I dressed these burgers the way my family does in Missouri, slathering on some bar-b-que sauce and topping with cheese. Once the burgers are done, remove from grill onto a clean baking sheet, cover with foil and let rest for a couple of minutes to redistribute all those wonderful juices. That’s it for making grilled burgers that actually fit the buns.

Burgers getting top treatment - yrcg

 Now you can dress the burgers to your liking, grab a handful of chips and an ice cold tea and enjoy. My burger has bar-b-que sauce, cheese, homemade pickles, lettuce and tomatoes.

My burger is as big as the bun - yrcg

Yumm… Are you hungry yet!!

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3 Responses to How to Keep Grilled Burgers from Shrinking

  1. Tanner Leach says:

    Sounds great – I’m going to give it a try!

  2. TinTin says:

    This is awesome, always have the burger shrinkage problem. Can’t wait to try this out tonight.

  3. dashark5150 says:

    I have been grilling for YEARS, but always had problems getting my burgers to not shrink up. I’ve done this the last four times I grilled, and it’s PERFECT!

    Thank you!

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