I was in a debate with a friend in regards to cooking burgers if they should be close together or far apart on a grill. I searched the site but did not find anything that would answer my question so my apologies if it does exist. So my question is: Do burgers cook better on a grill if they are closer together or far apart while direct grilling on a charcoal grill?

  • 1
    Sounds like it's time for an experiment. I'd guess it doesn't matter once you've got a fairly small separation (to allow airflow around the burger). Of course, close together lets you get more burgers on the grill.
    – derobert
    Nov 15, 2013 at 14:51
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    @derobert : and it's less important than on a griddle, as you've got airflow underneath. (there's always some space in between unless you've got square burgers). With the griddle, it's more important to give the separation, as there's no airflow for evaporation underneath.
    – Joe
    Nov 15, 2013 at 15:07
  • @Joe You should make that an answer.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Nov 15, 2013 at 15:19

1 Answer 1


On the grill, most of the heat will be coming from underneath the burgers (you already knew this)

Having a gap between them will let air flow between them and increase the temperature around the meat. If they are touching, the airflow will be hindered and you won't get even cooking. When the burgers are all squashed together, you're effectively cooking one big burger and not many individual ones.

ie) The spot where the meat touches will cook slower than the outsides where there is now more heat.

Purist grillers will tell you that the "best" way to cook on the grill is with the top open, if you do this, you'll get even less heat in bunched up areas.

Separating them more than an inch apart won't really affect cooking time.

  • Also - if you're adding any kind of smoke-flavor, through wood-chips or just the smoke from drippings - you'll get more flavor from the food having an inch or more.
    – john3103
    Jul 23, 2014 at 18:01

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