If grilled hamburgers look like flying saucers- you’re doing it wrong

Last year our gas powered barbecue grill met its end in a pretty lackluster affair  no giant flames or the like- we simply had to  move on.  Because of it our backyard grilling has never been better- more on what change we made in a second, but first a ‘hot’ spring time grilling tip:

Stick a Thumb in your uncooked meat and get a better burger

Chef Bobby Flay has some great advice in his article Chef Secrets: Bobby Flay On Making The Perfect Burger.  Simply make a 1/2″ depression in your 3/4″ meat patties with your thumb- almost all of the way through . This keeps them from growing too much in the middle- and helps your husband not to squash them down and dry them out.

You see, because the meat prep and the actually grilling are often done by two different people in our house (I prep, Matt grills) with this tip I get to do a perfect preparation on the meat – and HE feels like he did a great job grilling-we’re ALL happy, and he feels like a man…. Don’t you just love how the guy gets all the credit for making dinner if he flips the burgers on the grill and you do all of the real work?

In the article, Flay says:

One it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers – you know the ones I am talking about: all puffed up and bulging in the center. What’s the thing you want to do when you see one of those? Press it down with a spatula as it cooks. And what happens when you do that? All the juices run out and you end up with a compacted, dry hockey puck. So, two, making the indentation in the patties helps keep your reflexes in check and ensures juicy, moist burgers. As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers.”


This mom blogger’s charcoal Grill of choice

Anyway we bought a round charcoal grill at Lowe’s last year kind of like the one below in shape (but not style) and without the gas ignition system (which would be nice).

Why we switched to charcoal:

  • You can smell the charcoal burn- and they’ve got flavors if you check out the selection at the store!
  • It takes a little bit more time to light up – making it more of a social event
  • No ‘dangerous’ propane tanks
  • The hot coals are a visual treat (well they are!)
  • The coals burn AFTER your meat is off- so you don’t feel like you are wasting natural gas when you’re burning residuals off the grill
  • The meat is infused with a great smokey flavor that you can NOT get with propane
  • The neighbors smell it and get jealous because you’re all retro


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Founder and Lead Blogger at Akron Ohio Moms
Cindy is the top Akron Blogger with her own take on awesome brands for families, where to vacation for families, a beat on local activities and family fun, a knack for getting moms to share , and a house that is always 2 weeks away from a complete remodel!
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5 thoughts on “If grilled hamburgers look like flying saucers- you’re doing it wrong

  1. Jan Messali says:

    I never would have thought of a depression in the center. I’m always reminding my husband not to push down on the burgers… I’ll have to give this a try. Thanks!

  2. Lori A. says:

    I will have to try this next time I grill burgers! Mine always end up puffing up and now I know why. 😉

  3. Beth says:

    Can’t wait for those outside grilling days! Just a tip for freezing ground beef–I freeze them in pound-size sections, and like Bobby Flay, stick a finger in the middle, making a large indentation. This helps the meat defrost more evenly and quickly in the microwave. 🙂

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