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Boost Your BBQ IQ: 14 Juicy Tidbits About America's Favorite Pastime

July 01, 2019

Want to know how to make the perfect burger every time? Should you keep the lid on or off while grilling? HGTV Magazine has all the answers and more.

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Grill Lid: On or Off?

For both gas and charcoal grills, leave the lid on for thick food, as that allows trapped heat to cook it on all sides, but remove the lid for thinner items, says Jeff Savell, a professor of meat science at Texas A&M University.

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Photo: lgoodwin80107

Did You Know?

Seventy percent of American grill owners fire up year-round. (Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association)

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Photo: Claudia Totir

The Dos and Don’ts: Make an Amazing Burger Every Time

Sure, you can make the perfect patty! Take it from Myron Mixon, a chef and four-time world barbecue champion:

  • Do: Use a medium flame; too hot and the outside will char before the inside cooks.
  • Don’t: Add cheese too soon or some will melt right off the sides. Apply slices a minute before pulling the burgers off the grill.
  • Do: Make a shallow thumbprint in the center of each patty to prevent them from puffing up while cooking.
  • Don’t: Slice patties open to check for doneness or press down on them—you’ll lose the juices that keep the meat tender.
  • Do: Get ground beef with an 80% lean to 20% fat ratio. Leaner blends are less flavorful.

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Photo: North Wind Picture Archives / Alamy Stock Photo

Say It With Us: Bar·Be·Cue ('Bär-Bi-Kyü)

The word is believed to have originated with 17th-century Spanish explorers in the Caribbean, who encountered natives drying meat and fish on a wood rack called a barbacoa.

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