Cooking burgers is a time-honored tradition that you can celebrate all year round. When someone else is on cooking duty, you’re off the hook, but what happens when you’re the one making the burgers? Sure, if you’re at a diner eating the best burger in NY or at a barbecue, you don’t have to worry. But there are times in life when you just can’t avoid it– you’re going to have to be the one to make the burgers.

It may seem simple, but cooking a burger correctly is an art form. Whether you have some experience but aren’t confident or you’re a total newcomer to making burgers, here are our tips to help you make the perfect burger and avoid messing it up. That way, everybody’s happy, and you don’t have to go to the grocery store to pick more up. It’s a win-win.

The first thing to do with burgers is to pick a decent burger brand. Getting burgers that are as fresh and high quality meat as possible will go a long way to creating a desirable end result. That being said, getting into the cooking aspect of it all, it gets a lot more technical from there on out.

Your primary challenge when making burgers is to avoid overcooking them. It may sound silly– isn’t the point not to burn them? Well, yes, the point is also to avoid burning them. But overcooking is nearly as bad, because it just ruins the potential of the burger to be flavorful and juicy. Overcooking reduces possible masterpieces to tasteless pucks far past well done, so make sure you’re keeping an eye on your burgers at all times.

Another common mistake is to add too little or too much spice. Some flavor is good, but too much is going to overwhelm the flavor of the beef. Not enough spice, and you’ve missed out on your opportunity to infuse some real flavor. You can use those salty pre-made mixes if you like, but throwing a simple spice mix together is simple. You can use a little salt, a little salt and pepper, or throw some different flavors in there, like garlic salt or cayenne. Yum!

Be sure not to apply too much or too little heat. You’re going to want to have your griddle, grill, pan, or whatever you’re using to be just the right temperature. Avoid having it be so hot that the middle won’t get cooked through and so mild that the burger takes forever to be done through and comes out tasting oddly. Allow your medium to work up to medium heat so you can cook the burger the way it needs to be. Undercooking the burger is not a great option, but you’ll likely be able to tell by the bright red center. Unless you want to make everyone sick, it’s a bad idea to have bright red at the center of your burger.

Last but not least, make sure you serve those burgers fresh! Hot off the grill is the way that they’re meant to be eaten, and you’ll be enjoying burgers at the peak of their flavor. So go ahead, get grilling! It’s easier than you think– and tasty, too.