Burger Basics: Tips to Create Perfect Patties

Guest blog post by
Michelle Baumhover, Director of Consumer Marketing 
Iowa Beef Industry Council

Burgers sizzling on the grill is a classic sign of summer.  By following a few simple steps, it will be easy to enjoy juicy, flavorful burgers this summer.

Selecting the beef:

  • Select an 80/20 lean to fat ratio for optimum flavor and juiciness.
  • If fat is of concern keep in mind excess fat drips away during grilling.  You can also blot cooked burgers with a paper towel to remove any excess fat.


  • Lightly shape burgers to ¾ inch thickness.  Overworking ground beef will result in a compact firm textured burger that could be dry.
  • Gently indent or form a well in the center of the burger to keep the burger from swelling in the middle during cooking.  The burger will flatten during cooking.


  • Cook patties over medium heat for even cooking. Burgers grilled over too high of heat could overcook or char on the exterior before the center reaches the desired doneness.
  • Use a spatula or tongs to turn burgers.  Don’t press or pierce patties during cooking as that will cause flavorful juices to escape!
  • Cook burgers to an internal temperature of 160°F. The most accurate way to determine doneness is by using an instant-read thermometer.

Get good, quality ground beef from a local locker or from a retail shop you trust, advises Sutter Homes Chef Starr. “Make sure it’s cold and fresh.  We like to use an 80/20 mix with 20 percent fat.  Fat is flavor!”

To make a juicy burger, Chef Starr cautions cooks to avoid over-handling the ground beef.  Try your hand at grilling this weekend and put a new twist on the classic American burger!  More recipes are available from www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

Thai Burger



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 cup shredded Napa cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili sauce *Hot chili sauce, an Asian condiment made from red chilies, garlic and vinegar, imparts a tangy, spicy heat to dishes. Hot chili sauce is available in Asian markets and the Asian section of most supermarkets.
  • 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 whole wheat or white hamburger buns, split



  1. Combine cabbage and 1 tablespoon lime juice in medium bowl; set aside.
  2. Combine ground beef, green onion, ground ginger and hot sauce in medium bowl, mixing lightly but thoroughly. Lightly shape into four 1/2-inch thick patties.
  3. Heat nonstick skillet over medium heat until hot. Place patties in skillet; cook 10 to 12 minutes until instant-read thermometer inserted horizontally into center registers 160°F, turning occasionally. Season with salt and pepper, as desired. *Cooking times are for fresh or thoroughly thawed ground beef. Color is not a reliable indicator of ground beef doneness.
  4. Meanwhile, combine peanut butter, hoisin sauce, remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice and sesame oil in small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  5. Place 1 burger on bottom half of each bun; top evenly with peanut butter mixture cabbage mixture. Close sandwiches.


Photo & Recipe Source: Beef It's What's for Dinner

Total Recipe Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4