Here's Why You Shouldn't Grill Cold Burger Patties

Imagine it's a balmy summer evening and you're craving a juicy cheeseburger loaded with all the fixings. Rather than rush through a burger joint drive-thru or resort to a delivery order, you decide to fire up the grill and attempt to make your ideal burgers at home. Even if you can easily answer the big-picture questions, like whether you want classic beef rounds to indulgent patties stuffed with cheddar cheese, there may be basic safety concerns that raise questions you're not sure how to answer or never asked in the first place. For example, what temperature should your burger be when push comes to shove and meat meats grill grate?

Regardless of the method you choose, one thing is for certain: You'll need to store your burgers in the refrigerator until they're ready to be cooked. After all, the USDA recommends storing ground beef at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below to prevent foodborne illnesses. But once it's dinner time, should you toss those cold patties directly on the grill? Probably not, according to experts — here's why you may want to let them warm up first.

Temperature makes a difference in how they cook

Putting cold burgers on the grill isn't the smartest idea, says Jason Goldstein, a "Food Network Star" finalist who has developed recipes for Chop Happy. Goldstein told Mashed how grilling fridge-temperature burgers affects the texture: "It will make beef seize up, because of the sudden temperature change from cold to hot." Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay would agree, and not just because his kitchen is hellishly hot. "Let the meats relax a little bit, don't take them out of the fridge ice cold, otherwise they will be dry on the outside and raw in the middle," he told ABC News. And obviously, eating raw beef would pose a safety risk.

The solution is simple. Goldstein recommends letting the burgers reach room temperature before cooking them. He says that should take about an hour, so plan accordingly. Just be careful not to leave them out too long. According to the USDA, you should never leave ground beef at room temperature for more than two hours or you risk it becoming contaminated.