Burger Grilling 101

With grilling season coming into full stride and our gourmet burgers filling up your shopping carts, we thought we’d let you in a few of our favorite grilling secrets. Follow these rules when grilling your favorite burgers and you will consistently serve up the juiciest, most delicious burgers in your neighborhood.

Every summer we offer countless varieties of gourmet burgers hand formed in our stores by our expert butchers. You’ll be amazed by the variety of beef, pork, chicken and veggie burgers, there’s one for every week of summer.

  1. Congratulations! You just bought a delicious gourmet burger. Now all you have to do is salt and pepper it. That’s all it needs. We’ve done most of the flavoring for you.
  2. Get the grill really hot. When you slap those burgers on the grate, it should sizzle. The idea here is to cook quickly which allows more of the meaty juices to remain in the burger instead of being evaporated and cooked out of the burger. Preheat your grill plenty of time in advance and on high. You should be able to hold your hand about 3 inches over the grate for only a few seconds. If using charcoal, the coals should be ash covered. When grilling with gas, cook burgers with the lid down. When cooking with charcoal, lid off.
  3. Brush the grate with vegetable oil to keep burgers from sticking. Place the burgers on the oiled grate and don’t move them for at least 3 minutes. This is the important time that they form a crust or char and moving them prevents a good char from forming.
  4. Flip the burgers only once. Constant burger flipping (or any meat for that matter) will result in longer cooking times and dry burgers. Cook beef burgers for about 4 minutes on each side for medium burgers, 5 minutes for well. Cook chicken and turkey burgers for 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through. If you press them with the tip of your finger (careful, they are hot), they should feel firm. Fish burgers will cook more quickly, about 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side. Veggie burgers will firm up when cooked for 3 minutes on each side.
  5. When checking for doneness, don’t press the juice out with the spatula. All that good flavor is not going to do you any good flavoring up the charcoal. Resist the temptation and just press with a finger to check for doneness.
  6. Speaking of spatulas, not all are created equal. Buy a wide spatula with a thin edge so that it easily gets under the food on the grill without tearing it apart. This is especially valuable when grilled delicate seafood burgers and veggie burgers.
  7. Don’t overcook. We have a tendency to overcook in order to make sure that something is “done”. Check frequently by pressing with a finger. That way you’ll get a feel for how long it takes items to cook on your grill (everyone’s is different) and you will become better at it as time goes on.
  8. Add cheese at the last moment and just until it begins to melt. It will finish melting as the burger rests.
  9. Allow the burgers to rest, covered with foil for about 5 minutes before serving. This will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the burger so they don’t gush out of the burger and down your shirt.
  10. While the burgers rest, grill the buns. It takes a burger from great to sublime and only takes a few moments. If you’re feeling really indulgent, butter them first.

Once you’ve grilled your burger it’s time to dress it up. Our gourmet burgers are great on their own but you can take them to spectacular heights with a few simple toppings and the right bun! Happy grilling!



  1. love your new downtown store, although I usually shop at Rocky River.
    My niece in Lake Forest is thrilled that Heinen’s followed her there!

  2. Thank-you very much for your Burger Grilling 101 tips dated June 4 2019. I have 2 questions:
    1. How should I change the cooking times according to the thickness of the burger?
    2. I worry about poultry (turkey and chicken) burgers being cooked to the proper temperature without drying them out. Any suggestions?

    1. Hi Prakash,

      Great questions! We are happy to hear you enjoyed the grilling tips.

      1. Your cooking time will vary based on the thickness of the burger. It’s important to find your grill’s hot spots (the hottest areas) to get an immediate char build on the meat. To finish the burger, move it to indirect heat until it reaches desired doneness.
      2. The above method is also recommended for turkey and chicken burgers, but to avoid drying, use a meat thermometer and be patient while the burger is cooking in indirect heat. (Well Done is 165F degrees)

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