To ensure that burgers cook perfectly, preheat the grill well. When it's hot, clean the grate with a stiff wire brush and coat with oil, using a folded paper towel. Burgers will be less likely to stick and will have better grill marks.
Handle burgers as little as possible, gently mixing in any seasonings. For basic patties, sprinkle the salt and pepper on the outside rather than blending it in, so the meat isn't overworked.
Before grilling fragile seafood burgers, refrigerate them on a plate lined with plastic wrap. Chilling them makes them less likely to fall apart.
The tastiest hamburgers are made with a flavorful cut of ground beef, such as sirloin, round or chuck. Be sure the meat isn't too lean: 15 percent fat is ideal.
Steven Raichlen is the author of The Barbecue! Bible and How to Grill, and the new BBQ USA. His new TV show, Barbecue University with Steven Raichlen, launches on PBS this month.