Classic Beef Burgers

Create flavorful steakhouse-style burgers at home with this recipe for Classic Beef Burgers. These juicy burgers have plenty of smoky BBQ flavor.

A beef burger with cheese on a plate with a beer in the background.

Burgers on the grill have been a part of every single summer of my life. I’m sure it’s the same for many of you. You grab some ground beef, maybe add a little seasoning, squish it around, form patties and pop them on the grill. They’re always yummy but in all honesty, they don’t quite compare to a burger from a local pub or steakhouse.

Recently I came across a new method for making beef burgers that peaked my interest. I put my own flavor twist on it and friends, there’s no going back to my old ways. This Classic Beef Burger recipe has earned a permanent place in my collection.

A closeup of a beef burger with cheese on a white plate.

When you cook ground meats to a safe temperature it is easy to end up with a dry result that is lacking flavor. This method completely resolves that issue. These grilled beef burgers have great texture and that old fashioned summer BBQ flavor that we all crave.

I’m sure I’ll hear from you burger purists out there and all I can say is you’ve just got to try this recipe for yourself.

Ingredient Notes

The ingredients to make Classic Beef Burgers with overlay text.
  • Ground Beef – For the best burgers go with 80% to 85% lean ground beef. Anything leaner will not yield a juicy, flavorful result. You should figure on 4 to 6 ounces of ground beef per patty. I use 2 pounds of beef to yield six 1/3-pound patties. You can scale this recipe up or down to feed more or less people.
  • Bread – A slice of plain white sandwich bread is the basis for the panade (see more on this below).
  • Milk – 2% or whole milk.
  • BBQ sauce – Choose your favorite store bought or homemade BBQ sauce.
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Minced garlic
A cheeseburger with onions, tomatoes and lettuce on a sesame seed bun.

What is a Panade?

A panade is a mixture of a starch and a liquid that are mixed together to form a paste. Sometimes seasoning is added and then it is combined with ground meat before cooking. It is the secret to creating juicy, moist, flavorful burgers and other ground meat recipes. If you’ve ever made meatloaf or meatballs, you’ve likely made a panade.

For this recipe I cut a slice of white bread with the crusts removed into small pieces and combined it with milk. I added a little BBQ sauce, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt and pepper to infuse the burgers with classic BBQ flavor.

How to Make Classic Beef Burgers

Bread, milk, bbq sauce, and ground beef are combined to make hamburger patties.
  1. Mash the bread and milk together with a fork until it forms a chunky paste.
  2. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, BBQ sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
  3. Add the ground beef. breaking the meat up with your hands as you add it. Mix everything together until just combined. Avoid overworking the beef.
  4. Divide the mixture into equal portions and form balls. Flatten the balls into patties about 3/4-inch thick. Form a slight depression in the center of each patty to prevent the burgers from puffing up on the grill. This recipe as written will make six good sized burgers.
Hamburger patties with melted cheese on a platter with buns.

Grilling Instructions

  • Prepare the coals in your BBQ or preheat the grill to medium-high heat if using a gas BBQ.
  • Coat both sides of the patties with nonstick cooking spray (I used avocado oil spray) or alternately, oil the grates on your grill.
  • Grill the burgers, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, about 2 to 4 minutes. Flip the burgers and continue cooking until the internal temperature of the patties has reached a minimum of 160 degrees F.
  • Brush with additional BBQ sauce towards the end of the grilling time, if desired, and top with sliced cheese. Cover and continue to cook until the cheese melts.
  • Serve on toasted buns with your toppings of choice. They are delicious with my Awesome Burger Sauce!
A burger on a silver platter with corn on the cob.

Valerie’s Tips

  • Don’t use ground beef that is leaner than 85%. The fat in the beef will render as it cooks and help ensure a moist, juicy burger.
  • Raw ground beef should not be stored in the refrigerator for longer than two days for food safety reasons. Time your grocery shopping accordingly or see freezer instructions below.
  • Don’t overwork the ground beef as it can change the texture once cooked.
  • Form patties about 3/4-inch thick at the edges and press your fingers in the center to form a depression to help prevent the patties from shrinking.
  • Use an inexpensive instant read thermometer to avoid dry, overcooked burgers.
  • Don’t press down hard on your burgers patties with a spatula while cooking or you’ll lose a lot of the juices.
  • Add some wood pellets to your grill to add rich, smoky flavor. We are hooked! They can be used with any type of grill, including charcoal and gas.
A closeup of a burger on a metal platter.

Make Ahead Instructions

  • To save time, place formed raw burger patties on a foil lined baking sheet, separating the layers with parchment paper. Cover tightly with additional foil, refrigerate promptly and cook the same day.
  • Unlike other cuts of beef, you don’t want to allow ground beef to come to room temperature before cooking. Keep the patties chilled and transfer them directly from the refrigerator to the grill. Chilled burgers will stay together better and retain more juices.
  • Cooked, reheated burgers will not be as juicy as freshly cooked burgers so I don’t recommend cooking them in advance.

Freezing Burger Patties

  • To retain quality you should not re-freeze meat that has already been frozen. Use freshly bought ground beef to make freezer burger patties.
  • Follow the make-ahead instructions above and then transfer the baking sheet with the raw burger patties to the freezer. When the the patties are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic storage bag with a small piece of parchment paper between each patty. Press out as much air as possible, seal and label the bag with the date, and freeze.
  • Use frozen hamburger patties within 3 months.
  • Cook frozen burger patties right from the freezer or thaw safely in the refrigerator before cooking. Frozen patties will take about twice as long to cook to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F.
A cheeseburger on a metal platter with corn on the cob.
A cheeseburger with onions, tomatoes and lettuce on a sesame seed bun.
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Classic Beef Burgers

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Create flavorful steakhouse-style burgers at home with this recipe for Classic Beef Burgers. These juicy burgers have plenty of smoky BBQ flavor.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 588kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 piece white sandwich bread crust removed and cut into ¼-inch pieces
  • ¼ cup milk 2% or whole
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons BBQ sauce plus additional for basting
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 pounds 80% to 85% lean ground beef
  • 6 good quality hamburger buns
  • 6 slices cheese

Optional Toppings

Instructions

  • Prepare the coals in your BBQ or preheat the grill to MEDIUM-HIGH heat if using a gas BBQ.
  • In a large bowl, mash the bread and milk together with a fork until it forms a chunky paste. Add the salt, pepper, garlic, BBQ sauce, and Worcestershire sauce and mix well.
  • Add the ground beef. breaking the meat up with your hands as you add it. Mix everything together until just combined. Divide the mixture into 6 equal portions and form balls. Flatten the balls into ¾-inch patties. Use your fingers to form a slight depression in the center of each patty.
  • Coat both sides of the patties with nonstick cooking spray (I used avocado oil spray) or alternately, oil the grates on your grill.
  • Grill the burgers, covered, until nicely browned on the first side, 2 to 4 minutes. Flip burgers and continue cooking for a few minutes more until the internal temperature reads at least 160 degrees F. Brush with additional BBQ sauce towards the end of the grilling time, if desired, and top with cheese. Cover and continue to cook until the cheese melts.
  • Before serving, toast the buns on the cooler side of the grill or under your oven’s broiler, if desired.
  • Serve on the burgers on buns with desired toppings.

Notes

Nutrition information was calculated with 85% lean ground beef and 1 ounce of cheese, per burger. Additional toppings will change values.
Make Ahead Instructions
  • To save time, place formed raw burger patties on a foil lined baking sheet, separating the layers with parchment paper. Cover tightly with additional foil, refrigerate promptly and cook the same day.
  • Unlike other cuts of beef, you don’t want to allow ground beef to come to room temperature before cooking. Keep the patties chilled and transfer them directly from the refrigerator to the grill. Chilled burgers will stay together better and retain more juices.
  • Cooked, reheated burgers will not be as juicy as freshly cooked burgers so I don’t recommend cooking them in advance.
Freezing Burger Patties
  • To retain quality you should not re-freeze meat that has already been frozen. Use freshly bought ground beef to make freezer burger patties.
  • Follow the make-ahead instructions above and then transfer the baking sheet with the raw burger patties to the freezer. When the the patties are frozen solid, transfer them to a freezer-safe plastic storage bag with a small piece of parchment paper between each patty. Press out as much air as possible, seal and label the bag with the date, and freeze.
  • Use frozen hamburger patties within 3 months.
  • Cook frozen burger patties right from the freezer or thaw safely in the refrigerator before cooking. Frozen patties will take about twice as long to cook to a safe temperature of 160 degrees F.

Nutrition

Serving: 1burger | Calories: 588kcal | Carbohydrates: 28g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 133mg | Sodium: 991mg | Potassium: 587mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 311IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 331mg | Iron: 5mg

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

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