It can be frustrating to be grilling a burger only to watch it fall through the grill grates and into the depths of your grill.
There are a few ways to prevent your hamburger from falling apart on the grill that are super easy and I am going to get into each way right here.
Follow my tips and you won’t lose another burger through the cracks again.
Tips to keeping your hamburger together
When you are making your hamburger patties there are a few things that you want to keep in mind that will help keep your patties from falling apart while they are cooking.
It all starts when you buy your meat. Buying quality meat is a key factor in making a great burger!
Also, how you make your patties, the temperature at which you cook your burgers, and how much you mess with them while they are cooking.
When the hamburger is cold it holds together well and when it is cooked it becomes stable and solid. It’s the in-between stage when it is brittle and likely to crumble on you.
Check out my post on how to tell when a burger is done cooking which is also important.
When you are picking out your ground beef at the store, you want to find meat that is an 80/20 blend for the best burger. 85/15 will also work.
The percentage stands for how much lean beef versus how much fat content is in your ground beef or ground chuck.
Ground chuck and ground beef with more fat will help keep your burger stay moist while also keeping it from dehydrating and becoming crumbly or flimsy.
Shape your burger
Making ground beef into patties can be a simple art. You want to roll it around in your hand making it into a ball to press all of the meat together.
Then you flatted it into your patty shape, making it the same thickness throughout which will help your burger cook evenly.
Make a small indent in the middle using your thumb. This will help lock in moisture and allow for less steam to seep out of your burger.
Once your patties are shaped you want to keep them cold until you are putting them on the grill.
Temperature of the grill
Preheating your grill will allow your burger to start cooking as soon as it hits the grill grates. You don’t ever want to start cooking on cold grill grates.
Heat your grill to 350°F – 400°F. Cooking burgers too slow can result in them breaking and falling apart.
Cooking burgers on a grill that is too hot will crisp up on the outside and be raw in the middle.
Wait to flip
The key to grilling up a tasty well-cooked burger is leaving it alone. The more you move it around, poke it or check it the less sturdy it’s going to be and more likely to fall apart.
Once you place your hamburger patties on the grill, leave them alone! Allow them to cook for 3-4 minutes before you flip them.
Look for moisture to start releasing and pooling on top of the burger before you flip it over. This allows the bottom to cook and hold it together while you flip it.
This is one of the biggest mistakes people make.
Like I mentioned before, the in-between stage of a burger, is when it is cooking and more likely to fall apart.
Let it Rest
The last, but very important step to making a good sturdy burger is letting it rest after you remove it from the grill.
Give the patty 1-2 minutes to soak up its juices back into the meat before you serve it. It will give the meat a minute to pull together making it a firm structure to place between the soft bun.
If you want to know about what kind of bun is best for burgers, check out my post!
If you are needing to bind your meat together to make a burger, you can use 1 egg mixed in for every pound of meat. Once it is mixed in it will bind all the meat together as it cooks on the grill.
If you are dealing with a wet burger mixture you have likely added in too much liquid. You can fix this by adding in bread crumbs or oatmeal to soak up the extra liquid. Start by adding 1 tbsp and add more as needed.
The most common factors that cause your burger to fall apart are low quality beef, the grill wasn’t preheated, or you didn’t allow the burger time to cook before flipping it.
Using 80/20 beef is best for making burgers and cooking them between 350°F and 400°F and let your burger cook for 3-4 minutes before attempting to flip it over.