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-   -   Grilling Burger - First Time ?'s (http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/f38/grilling-burger-first-time-s-38936.html)

Mylegsbig 10-11-2007 03:24 PM

Grilling Burger - First Time ?'s
Do i need to brush some oil on the pit or can i just rub an onion like normally?

I've only grilled meats in the past that won't possibly fall apart when i flip them. This is charcoal grilling, btw.

Don't want to ruin my dinner.

These will not be marinated or basted, and are 75/25 meat.

Thanks in advance.

Im kind of scared to brush oil because doesn't it burn and spit flames? lol. Sorry for the noob questions.


Michael in FtW 10-11-2007 03:46 PM

Well, after you light your charcoal (I hope you use a chimney starter and not lighter fluid or self-lighting charcoal loaded with lighter fluid) and you spread your coals out and your grill is hot, and clean - take a paper towel and fold it a few times and hold it with tongs to make a disposable "brush" ... then either pour a little oil on it, or dip it in some oil, and brush the grill with it. Shouldn't be any flare-ups.

But, as much fat as your meat has - that would only be if you want to do it - I don't think it would be necessary. Having your grill clean is more important.

Use a spatula to turn your burgers and turn them perpendicular to the way the grill runs ... this will keep the edges from getting caught between the grill elements ... tongs or a fork are more likely to break your burgers.

Now, again, with 25% fat content .... have a water-gun or spray bottle with water handy to knock down the flare-ups you're going to get.

Mylegsbig 10-11-2007 03:51 PM

Michael, i'm new to Charcoal Grilling, i'm not aware of the method you speak of. I have always just soaked the charcoal with fluid, let it sit for like 15 mins, and lit it up and waited until the coals got gray and the fire had died down and then grilled.

Can you clarify this concept to me friend?

"Use a spatula to turn your burgers and turn them perpendicular to the way the grill runs ... this will keep the edges from getting caught between the grill elements ... tongs or a fork are more likely to break your burgers."

btw - what do you think about letting your grill get hot and then scrubbing with an onion until clean?

also, what do you think is the max thickness you should have on charcoal grilled burgers? are 6oz patties ok?


keltin 10-11-2007 03:53 PM

What kind of grill are you using? You say charcoal, so is it a Weber kettle or another domed type grill? The design of the dome grills prohibit flare ups while the lid is on.

If it is a square type grill, or an open pit, youíre likely to have some problems with fatty meat like burgers and chicken quarters.

For you patties, just work them really well so that the meat is pressed together good. You donít want to be able to see the individual shreds of meat, but instead want a homogeneous patty. If itís loose and you can see the individual strands, itís liable to break apart.

Donít worry about greasing the grate. When your coals are ready, spread them and put the grate on and allow it to heat for 5 or so minutes. Drop the patties on the hot grate, and then cover the grill. A good sear and the fat from the burgers will cause them to naturally release when they are ready to flip......about 5 minutes of cooking.

Flip them, then cover and cook another 5. When you flip them, it often helps to move them around to a different spot if they are real fatty. The fats can drop down and cool the coals directly under the patty (but that is likely to flare up when the lid comes off), and moving the patties to another spot where the grate is hot allows a good sear on the second side.

When you lift the lid, depending on your coals and grill, it is liable to flare up...big time in some cases. Donít sweat it. Just flip your burgers and cover the grill again. Once the lid is on, the flare up will die down. However, this only applies to a domed grill. If youíre using a square or open pit (or a gas grill for that matter) youíll want to move the patties to an entirely new location where the fat hasnít dripped down yet.

After 5 minutes on the second side, depending on the size of your burgers, youíre done or nearly done. Press lightly on the burger (donít mash on it as this will squeeze out the juices), and see if itís firm. If it is thick and feels squishy like a water bed, itís not done. A meat thermometer is your best friend at this point if you arenít used to judging doneness by feel. If they need a little more time to fully cook, flip them again, and let them cook a few more minutes.

Mylegsbig 10-11-2007 03:57 PM

Let me find a picture of my grill for you guys. It's a little fellow. It's shaped like a drum.


Its like that, but only one drum, and the drum is very small.

Mylegsbig 10-11-2007 03:57 PM

Also, there is no chimney, only two valves on the side. One valve is lower, near the coals, and one is higher, near the grate.

keltin 10-11-2007 04:03 PM

Oh, it’s a barrel grill. You’re gonna’ get flare ups no matter what on one of those.

In that case, the easiest thing to do is to spread your coals out into two piles that are somewhat separated from one another. Grill on the first side over one pile, then move the patties (with a metal spatula) to the other pile of coals. I wouldn’t suggest using a spray bottle as this can cause ash to fly up and cover your meat. It’s best to move the patties to a different spot that isn’t being fueled by the burning fat.

That grill is large enough (long from left to right) for the two pile trick, and it saves you a lot of headaches.

Mystic 10-11-2007 04:10 PM

I always lightly oil the burgers before putting them on the grill. Actually, I oil one side of the burger and put that side down. Before flipping the burger, I'll oil the second side.

I like my burgers thick and with a hot grill, it's easy to burn the outside of a burger waiting for the inside to cook. To avoid this problem, build a two zone fire with hot coals on just half the grill. Then put the burgers on the hot side, let the first side get a good sear then turn it over and sear the second side. Then move it to the side without the coals and let it finish cooking there with the cover on the grill. This way, the inside is perfectly cooked and the outside isn't burned.


Mylegsbig 10-11-2007 04:18 PM

I have no idea how to regulate the temperature on my coals.

This is like my fourth time grilling.

The first three i did fajitas.

Michael in FtW 10-11-2007 04:22 PM

This is a chimney starter and how to use it. I don't like the taste that charcoal lighter adds to my food. You can get one at Ace Hardware for about $10 .... or Lowe's, Home Depot, Sears, etc.

As for the onion - I've never tried to clean a grill that way ... but it's an idea I'll have to try.

The two "valves" are vents that control the airflow ... the more open they are the more airflow. With the right airflow you could have a flareup with the lid closed. If nothing else - have a bowl of water handy and use your fingers to sprinkle water on the flames if they are a problem.

You want to flip your burgers at a 90ļ angle to the direction the way the grates run on your grill - but if the burgers are larger than the space between the grates it's not as much of a problem. But basically - if your grates run from left to right - slice your spatula in from the side and flip it L-R ... if your grates run from the front to back - slide your spatula in from the front, turn 90ļ and flip it over. Of course - if you raise it up enough and flip it quick - that shouldn't be a problem, either.

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