You want to learn how to make burgers, but not just any burger… a juicy, delicious burger. So what is the best way to cook a burger?
We’re going to cover the two best ways I’ve found to cook a burger: on the grill or on the stove top.
It’s important to cook your burger to the right temperature so it’s nice and juicy. You can cook to whatever temp you like… except well-done, that’s just a crime against burgers =).
If you don’t know, we recommend medium, which has some pink and is very juicy. Keep in mind for food safety, it is recommended to cook a burger to 145° and let it rest 3 minutes before eating.
Tips for Cooking Burgers
First to get started here are a few burger cooking tips that apply no matter how you’re applying the heat:
- Keep your burger meat cold in the fridge before cooking. Unlike other meats which might do better if brought to room temp, the fat in burgers melts nicely into the meat when it starts from a cold temp. We recommend using 20% fat / 80% lean ground chuck, here’s why.
- Don’t press down on burgers while cooking. This might look good on TV to see it steam up, but it just squeezes out the flavorful juices and dries out the burger. The only exception to this rule is for a smashed burger in a pan where you press down only within the first 30 secs of cooking.
- Only flip your burgers once. Doing it more than that just makes it more likely that things will cook unevenly or that you’ll lose flavor.
- Place cheese on the burger shortly after the first flip to get it melted nicely without overcooking the burger.
How to Grill Burgers
Grilling is the classic summer time way to cook a burger, and can yield great results. Your burger gets a nice light char on the outside, those beautiful grill marks, and some smokey flavoring.
There are a variety of grills using charcoal or gas that will all work but give a slightly different results. Here’s a variety of tips you can use when grilling:
Tips for Grilling Burgers
- Charcoal: start large chimney and burn until covered with a layer of grey ash, spread coals and place cooking grate, let grate heat for 5 min before placing burgers.
- Gas: heat on high w lid closed for 15 min before setting to med-high and placing burgers.
- To keep burgers from sticking, coat the grate with vegetable oil. You can put some on a paper towel and use tongs to rub it on the hot grate, or use a spray to get it coated.
- Don’t cook too hot, especially if you’re doing multiple burgers. It’ll make it more likely that you over cook the burgers. Go for medium-hot temps to get a crust on the outside without overcooking the inside.
- You can move charcoal or light only half of the grill to have one cooler zone to move burgers to if there are flare-ups or to place other items that don’t need as much heat or take longer.
- Before you start cooking the burgers make sure you’ve got all your meat, veggies, cheese, or anything else going on the grill prepped and out near the grill.
- Stay by the grill as you’ll only need a few minutes per side once the grill is hot.
How to Cook Burgers on the Stove
While grilling burgers is pretty typical at home, cooking on a cast-iron pan or stainless-steel skillet is closer to how you’ll get burgers at a restaurant. These turn out just as good, meaning if the weather outside isn’t ideal you can still get a great burger.
A cast-iron pan is ideal for doing this because the temperature is very evenly distributed on the pan. Add a little butter or oil to the pan and set it to medium heat to warm up. Switch it to high and put on your burgers for a few minutes per side.
When cooking in a pan the burger will cook in it’s own juices giving it a nice crusty coating on the outside (called the maillard reaction – pronounced my-yard). If you’ve got a vent fan near your stove you may want to turn it on to avoid setting of a smoke alarm.