Weighing the meat on a kitchen scale is the most accurate way to portion it. If you don’t own a scale, do your best to divide the meat evenly into quarters. Eighty percent lean ground chuck is our favorite for flavor, but 85 percent lean works, too. If you start with a chuck roast or steak, ask the butcher to grind it twice and expect some weight loss - 2 to 3 percent in our experience - to the grinder. Toasting the buns is an easy extra flourish; just split them open and lay the halves cut-side down on the grill rack for the last 45 to 60 seconds of the hamburgers’ cooking time.


  • 1 1/2 pounds 80 % lean ground chuck
  • 1 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling grill rack
  • 4 buns and desired toppings


Turn all burners on a gas grill to high, close the lid and heat until very hot, 10 to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, break up the ground chuck with your hands in a medium bowl. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the meat; toss lightly with your hands to distribute the seasonings. Divide the meat into four 6-ounce portions. Gently toss one portion of the meat back and forth between your hands to form a loose ball. Lightly flatten into a patty 3/4-inch thick and about 4 1/2 inches in diameter. Gently press the center of the patty down until about 1/2-inch thick, creating a slight depression in each patty; repeat with the remaining portions of meat.

Scrape the hot grill rack clean with a wire brush. Lightly dip wadded paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe the grill rack. Grill the patties, uncovered, without pressing down on them, until well seared on first side, about 3 minutes. Flip the burgers with a metal barbecue spatula; continue grilling about 3 minutes for rare, 3 1/2 minutes for medium-rare or 4 minutes for medium. Serve immediately.

Recipe reprinted by permission of America's Test Kitchen. All rights reserved.

RecID 8500

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