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Tailgate burger tricks

A freelance writer based in Memphis, TN, Wendy Marie embraces the art of food, entertainment and laughter and is dedicated to sharing her passions with others. If she's not dining at and blogging about a locally owned restaurant, then sh...

Tips for a perfect burger

A juicy, tasty burger is the cornerstone of a successful tailgate party. Follow these foolproof tricks for a perfect burger every time.

Woman getting hamburger from tailgate

FRESH IS BEST

It should go without saying that the best-tasting burger begins with fresh, high-quality beef. Don't make the mistake of relying on pre-made frozen patties. To get that unbelievably juicy burger, start with ground chuck, ground sirloin or good ground beef with 20 percent fat.

KEEP IT COLD

Make sure your meat is securely wrapped before placing it in an insulated cooler and packing with ice. Proper food storage mandates that your meat remains at 40 F or below. The meat should be fresh and cold when you prepare it for the grill.

be gentle

Don't overwork your meat, either. Use a gentle hand with your patties. The less you handle them, the juicier they'll be. Also, don't pack your patties too tightly. This can cause your burger to dry out and become tough. Keep the patty loose.

Don't squeeze... indent

We've all seen people take a spatula to a burger while it's on the grill and squeeze it in an attempt to flatten the patty. Do not, under any circumstances, squeeze your burgers. It does not flatten them; all it does is squeeze out the moisture, leaving you with a dry, tasteless burger. Combat bloated burgers by making a small indentation in the center of your burger with your thumb as you form the patty.

DON'T FLIP OUT

Resist the temptation to flip burgers repeatedly. Flipping only once will help maintain maximum juiciness. Allow the first side to cook fully before flipping. You'll know the first side is done when the juices that come to the top are clear.

WHEN TO GLAZE

Wait until right before your burger is done before adding any glaze. Most glazes contain sugar, which burns easily over high heat.

REST, DON'T RUSH

Your burger is now grilled to perfection, but don't rush to taste your creation. Let the meat rest for a couple of minutes to allow the juices to redistribute evenly. Once you've allowed your burger to rest, nestle it into a soft, fresh bun, dress it with condiments and other toppings, and enjoy your masterpiece.

More tailgating tips

How to grill the perfect burger: Tailgate style
Tailgate party themes
Top 10 Tailgate must-haves

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