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Grilling Burgers - The Best Guide to Backyard Grilling

Grilling a burger for yourself or someone else comes with lots of high expectations. If there’s something, aside from hotdogs and baseball, which can describe America in one single sentence – that’s a good juicy burger.

It takes a lot of skill to grill one properly, but it’s truly a master’s calling to make it crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside. This skill comes at a price – lots of attention, some personal feel and proper preparations.

We’ve probably grilled over a metric ton of burgers over our collective experience and today the Griller Dude team decided to create a well thought out guide on backyard grilling burgers.

In it we’ll be answering the most important questions like “How long to cook burgers on grill?” and “What temp to cook burgers on grill?”.

How Long do You Cook Burgers on The Grill – No, but Really

There have been many disputed over the amount of time a burger needs to stay on the grill. Some prefer them medium-well, others prefer them well-done. The length of time which you should cook a burger depends on three main factors, which are:

  • The type of the burger meat mixture (pork and beef, pork only and beef only);
  • The heat source (charcoal cooks faster);
  • The amount of fat the meat contains.

If you have control over these three things, you have control over the time it should take for a burger to reach a safe edible state. According to the USDA, as published in their “Food Safety for Hamburgers and Tailgating” guide, burgers should be:

“...cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present. Use a food thermometer to be sure they have reached a safe minimum internal temperature of 160 °F.  If you’re cooking turkey burgers, they should be cooked to 165 °F.”

The most common meat used for burger mixtures, is cut from beef chuck. Due to it’s marbling and well-balanced protein to fat ration, it provides an overall great taste profile which is easy to recognize

Meat from beef chuck takes anywhere between 4-5 minutes to cook on one side – check if the burger has started to get a silver color on the side. The silver color should be followed by the well-known golden-brown crust – that’s the sign your burger is ready to flip over for 3-4 minutes.

For burgers made from a pork-beef mixture it important to know which part of the animal the meats come from.

Most pork burgers are made from the fatty shoulder cuts – when combined with the beef chuck they create a fantastic fat profile which has lots of great flavor, even without ketchup or mustard.

40% pork shoulder to 60% beef chuck burgers cook for 4-6 minutes depending on the heat (should be around 400F) and the thickness of the burger (recommended 1 inch burger). Look for the well-known visual cues which indicate the protein in the meat has started to break down.

Best Way to Cook Burgers on a Grill According to the Meat

Grilling full beef burgers (typical of most store-bought beef paddies) should be done once the meat has reached a temp around 41(F) or 5 degrees Celsius. The temperature of the burger determines the way the meat will react to the heat (grill should be at 425F to 450F).

Frozen burgers are harder to judge for readiness and finish because of the escaping moisture. Warm burgers will be more likely to fall apart even if you’ve used a bonding agent like bread crumbs and an egg yolk.

The best proven Griller Dude method is to slightly chill the burgers before placing them on the hot grill then follow the recommended grilling time. If you are still wondering how to cook burgers on the grill, if the burgers are entirely made from pork, then you’d need to grill them for 6 minutes on one side and 4 on the other.

More Specific Grilling Cases – Frozen Burger and Turkey Burgers

Home made burger mixtures are generally easier to cook than store-bought mixtures because:

  • You know the fat contents and the meat types used for the paddy;
  • You control the spices and the thickness of the paddy.

There are other types of burgers and more specific cases which still beg the question - how long to cook burgers on the grill? The two outliers are turkey burgers and frozen burgers. To make it easier for people with different preferences, we’ve prepared a short guide for both cases.

How Long to Cook Turkey Burgers on Grill

Turkey is a dry meat which is notoriously difficult to make nice and moist – everyone who has ever tried to bake a Thanksgiving turkey knows how challenging it is.

The first thing to save you from a dry mouth when eating a grilled turkey burger is sourcing the meat for the paddy – the best turkey cut for burgers are from darker meats as those have more non-saturated fats.

Turkey is the preferred choice for those with high LDL cholesterol, since the meat the bird provides has a 45% lower saturated fats profile.

If you want to know how to cook turkey burgers on grill – your best option is to grill it for 10 minutes total for both sides, flip 1-minute halfway through your timer. Internal temps should reach 165F at which point it’s safe to eat even if it’s still pink inside.

How Long to Cook Frozen Burgers on Grill

To cook frozen burgers on grill is a bit harder than 41F burgers because you immediately lower the grill heat once you place the frozen paddy. The best way how to cook frozen burgers on a grill is to bring the temperature up to 465F and place the paddies paper side up.

Total grilling time is 15 minutes with three flips required to fully cook the inside of the frozen burger. This also answers the question “how long to cook burgers on charcoal grill” since charcoal grills have higher temperature profiles and allow for better thermal regulation.

Once the burger has started to let some of its natural fats out, you know it’s at a medium-rare state on the inside. You can check with a toothpick for center readiness.

Using our Smart Flip Grill, you can more easily control the cooking temperature and the overall finish of all types of burgers – turkey, beef or frozen.

Hope this Griller Dude guide helps you have a wonderful grilling session.

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