How to Grill the Ultimate Tailgate Burger

Beef, Grill Tips, Grilling, Kelly B's 101

It’s football season, and your fellow fans are hungry! Impress your friends at your next tailgate with Kelly B’s tips and tricks on how to create the perfect burger.

Visit your local butcher.

He’s a nice guy, and fresh meat is the best meat! Don’t butcher your butcher, though…

Check out some ground chuck, ground sirloin, or ground beef that’s around 20% fat.

Don’t play with your food!

A lot of folks will try to smash their ground meat to mold it into a perfect burger, or to mix spices into it. You don’t need to do that! In fact, touch your meat as little as possible. Smashing and folding it loses moisture and in turn will create a dry burger. You want your patty to be relatively loose.

Get creative!

Before you grill, your burgers need some flavor. The possibilities are nearly endless here, but let’s start with the basics. Salt and pepper are your friends! Sprinkle some salt and freshly ground pepper on your meat before grilling.

Some spicy ideas to flavor your burger:



-garlic powder

-onion powder

-lemon pepper

-crushed red pepper

A combination of these spices can make for a delicious, mouth-watering burger that your guests will rave over!

Avoid the bloat.

Just prior to placing your patties on the grill, create an indent in the middle of them with your thumb. This holds the shape of the meat and prevents them from ballooning.

Grill, grill, grill!

This is the best part! Place your patties on the hottest side of the grill to create a crust on the meat and to lock in moisture to your patties. It’s important to watch your burgers cook as they can tell you when they’re done!

Never smash your patties down with your spatula. This squeezes all the juices out of your burger.

When you see juices coming through the top of the patty, that means they’re cooking in the middle. When those juices become clear, it’s time to flip! Refrain from flipping multiple times because you’ll lose moisture.

Pro-tip: Now is a good time to glaze your patty if you decide to! Most glazes contain sugar so they can burn if applied before grilling.

Would you like cheese with that?

If you decide that you want a cheese burger, it is best to use single packaged slices of cheese if you can.  After flipping your patty, add the cheese shortly before removing from the grill so that it is slightly melted.  

Suggested cheeses:



-Pepper Jack

-Blue cheese (crumbles)


Toasty buns!

Bread is good, but buttery, warm, and toasty bread is so much better! Butter your buns and toast them on the grill for that extra crunch that you were missing.

Pro-tip: While you’re toasting your buns, let your burgers rest away from the heat. If you bite into them now, all those juices you worked so hard to retain will come running down your chin…and you’ll probably burn your tongue.

Saucy, saucy.

No good burger exists without condiments! Ditch the ketchup and mustard though, you’re better than that! Try these combinations:

-BBQ sauce; try Kelly B’s Sweet, Spicy, or Sweet N’ Spicy!

-feta cheese mayo

-Sriracha mayo

-avocado sauce

-curry mayo

-roasted garlic-balsamic aioli

More Fun Things to Include

-thick cut bacon

-fried egg

-sliced avocado

Eat and eat some more!

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine sure is! Share your best burger experience with us in the comments. Enjoy!