Grilling Hamburgers on Charcoal

How to Make the Perfect Burger on a Big Green Egg

Nothing beats a perfectly grilled backyard burger. The smell of charcoal and sizzling beef will put a trance on your whole neighborhood - when you know how to do it right. Want to confidently say you’ve grilled your last charred-out pocket puck, and make the transition to king or queen of your Big Green Egg? Here’s how to make the perfect burger on your charcoal grill.

Get Your Charcoal Basket and Your Divider Ready

The first step is to fill your Big Green Egg charcoal basket with new charcoal and set up your Kick Ash Basket Divider so you can have a cooler surface area on one side of your grill.

Then Prep The Meat

When it comes to the perfect backyard burger, fat is your friend. A juicy burger starts with fresh-ground beef (we prefer ground chuck) with a high-fat content. Opt for 80/20 or 73/27 beef, which will result in more flavor and juiciness in your finished burgers.

Want to get fancy? Put on your best tuxedo T-shirt and opt for ground brisket, sirloin, or short ribs instead.

Don’t Forget to Be Gentle

One mistake a lot of up-and-coming grillmasters make is overworking their meat. You want to handle the meat as little as possible, only enough to form the burger patties so that they won’t fall apart on the grill. Too much squeezing and mixing will make your end result tough and dense.

No More Than a Handful

Burgers that are too small or too big for the buns are for amateurs. And you, future king or queen of your Big Green Egg, are no amateur.

For an impressive burger that looks as good as it tastes, form your patties at about six ounces, or just a bit larger than a baseball. Shape the ball with as little handling as possible, then smash it down to about 3/4 inch thick.

Next, take your thumb and make an indentation in the middle of the burger. This indentation will prevent your burger from turning back into a ball on the grill.

“I love you as meat loves salt.” - Old English Folktale

A heavy sprinkling of salt and a dash of pepper is really all the seasoning you need for a great backyard burger. The flavor from high-quality, high-fat ground beef mixed with charcoal smoke is all you need to achieve mouth-watering flavor. Yes, that’s what chefs in the best restaurants in the world use to create the best burgers you’ve ever had - just salt and pepper!

We prefer coarse salt like kosher salt over small-grained table salt. Large-grained salt gives you better control over how much you add, and the large grains penetrate deeper into the meat, adding more flavor inside your burger.

Prepare Your Big Green Egg

For cooking burgers over your Big Green Egg, you want to create a two-zone cooking surface with coals only on one half of the grill. This is the perfect task for your Kick Ash Basket Divider! This way, you’ll create a searing surface on the hotter side, and a cooler cooking surface on the other side.

King Sear

The perfect sear is key to making the perfect burger on your charcoal grill. Too much, and you’re eating a hockey puck. Too little, and your burger tastes like it came out of a fast-food warming pan.

Man holding burger

Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

To achieve the perfect sear, place your burgers on the hot side of the grill until they’re just brown and crispy on the outside, about four to five minutes. You’ll know they’re ready to flip when you start seeing juices bubbling up to the top on the uncooked side.

Then flip, and sear on the other side for the same four to five minutes. ONLY FLIP ONCE and for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT FLATTEN YOUR BURGERS WITH A SPATULA! All you’re doing when you do that is squeezing the juices out. Stop it. Flip and step away from the grill!

Sauna Time

Once the burgers are seared, move them to the cooler side of the grill and cook them to the desired doneness with the lid of your grill closed (a meat thermometer can help). We prefer medium or medium rare. If you’re going for well-done burgers, just throw everything in the trash and order a pizza. Well-done burgers are a waste of good meat and will make your friends hate you.

Cheese It Up and Serve

Once you’ve reached the desired doneness, slap those perfect charcoal grill burgers on a tasty bun and serve. If you want to cheese, add it about a minute before the burgers are done and close the lid for ideal cheesy meltiness.

In Conclusion

There were several vital components of getting these burgers ready: