The Ultimate Guide to Grilled Burgers

We'll walk you through the entire process of making juicy, tender burgers on the stovetop.

Yields four to six patties

Five-Minute Setup

Six to ten minutes of cooking time

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You need to try the stovetop method if you want a burger you can really sink your teeth into: juicy, tender, and topped with cheese. All wet hockey pucks here! This burger is identical to those that cost a fortune at upscale eateries.

Let's talk about burgers today. A comprehensive guide to making the best burgers you've ever had, at home or anywhere else, from selecting the right ground beef to shaping the patties. Ready

After experimenting with different additions to the ground beef, I realized that the key to a great burger is the beef itself. If you want a tasty burger, invest in high-quality beef. As easy as that. (Be on the lookout for sales on high-quality ground beef; buy in bulk, form into patties, and store in the freezer for easy access. )

  • Although 80% lean and 20% fat is recommended for burgers, I usually only find 85% lean and think it makes great burgers nonetheless.
  • Burgers made with leaner than 90% meat can easily become dry and crumbly.
  • Get your ground beef straight from the meat case if at all possible. This is not only less compressed than the packaged meat, but it also tends to be a bit fresher. Tender burgers are the result of a light touch.
  • A good burger can be made from frozen beef, so don't fret if that's all you have on hand. When it comes to defrosting ground beef, we know a thing or two.

Using a light touch, in my experience, makes a bigger difference between a burger I enjoy eating and one that becomes tough than the fat content or quality of the beef.

  • More compact and tough the finished burger, the more you handle and mash the beef as you shape the patties.
  • Make as few patties as possible by handling the beef as little as possible.
  • Create rough patties by pounding large fistfuls of ground beef against your work surface with your palm.
  • Pat the edges down until they form a perfect circle. Don't feel pressured to make the patties look perfect by smoothing out any cracks or lumps in the edges. All those flaws in presentation are worth it for such a juicy burger.

Christine Gallary, the food editor for Kitchn, showed us all the dimpling trick, and I haven't been the same since. Burgers won't shrink in half and dome in the middle if you press a shallow "dimple" in the center of the patty. This is like magic after years of eating those tiny, round burgers. Make a dimple in your burger by patting the center of the patties to make them thinner than the edges, by as much as a quarter of an inch. The final patties always remind me of little frisbees.

Burgers are best when cooked in a flat pan over medium heat. When dropped into the hot pan, the patties should sizzle, and when flipped, the underside should have a nice dark, golden-brown sear. A good burger should have that effect.

When flipping, a wide, very thin spatula is ideal because it allows you to easily slide under the burger without damaging the crust you just formed. It prevents the burgers from disintegrating during the flipping process. (However, if any pieces break off during cooking, simply press them back together, continue cooking, and cover with cheese. )

The spatulas designed for use with baked goods or pancakes are my favorite. In a pinch, a fish spatula would also do the trick.

Burgers cooked on a stovetop are a lightning-fast weeknight dinner option. The burgers will be ready in no more than 10 minutes, even if you like them well-done. If you ignore the aforementioned advice and continue cooking, you will end up with dry, crumbly hockey pucks.

Although it may seem odd, I often use a timer when cooking burgers so that I don't get preoccupied with other parts of the meal and forget about them.

Medium-rare burgers are ready when you see just a hint of pinkish-red in the very middle; once that pinkish line disappears, your burgers are medium-done.

To ensure your beef is cooked to the appropriate safe internal temperature, an instant-read thermometer is your best bet.

  • Red in the middle (medium rare): 6 minutes
  • Pink in the middle (medium): 7–8 minutes
  • 9 minutes total for medium-well (a little pink in the middle)
  • 10 minutes for well done (no pink)

We'll walk you through the entire process of making juicy, tender burgers on the stovetop.

  • shellfish-free
  • fish-free
  • alcohol-free
  • peanut-free
  • pork-free
  • tree-nut-free
  • soy-free
  • egg-free
Calculated on the basis of 4 servings (Percent of Recommended Daily Allowance)
  • Calories 747
  • Fat 50.7 g (78 0%)
  • Saturated 21.9 g (109 7%)
  • Carbs 27.3 g (9 1%)
  • Fiber 1.3 g (5 2%)
  • Sugars 3.4 g
  • Protein 42.9 g (85 8%)
  • Sodium 609.0 mg (25 4%)
  • 1 1/2 pounds

    80%-85% lean ground beef

  • Cracked black pepper, just ground

  • 4 to 6
  • Cooking fat of choice: butter or oil

  • 4 to 6 slices

    cheddar, swiss, American, or provolone cheese (if desired).

  • Tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, BBQ sauce, pickles, relish, and burgers.

  • A griddle, a stainless steel or a nonstick large frying pan

  1. Cut the ground beef in half If you want to make four or six burgers, portion the ground beef accordingly.

  2. Mold the burgers. Form a disk of ground beef about an inch thick out of each serving. Make a shallow "dimple" in the center and pat the edges into a round shape to create a patty that is slightly larger than your burger buns and resembles a frisbee. It's okay if the patties have a few splits along the edges; just try not to mash the beef too much as you form them.

  3. Preheat the pan Put some butter or oil in a large frying pan and warm it over medium heat.

  4. Broil the buns When the butter or oil is hot, place the bun halves, cut-side down, in the pan. Toast until the exterior is crisp and golden. Place the warmed buns on a serving platter.

  5. Raise the temperature to medium-high. Raise the pan to a medium flame, keeping a close eye on it. The burgers are ready to cook when you see the first wisp of smoke.

  6. Burgers should be cooked for about five minutes. Spread the burger patties out in the hot pan so there's some room between them. Do the work in shifts if you have to. If the burgers don't sizzle when you touch them, you need to turn up the heat. Cook for three to four minutes with liberal salt and pepper.

  7. After 3–5 minutes, flip the burgers. Flip the burgers with haste by sliding a spatula under them. The underside should have a dark brown sear; if it doesn't, your heat isn't high enough. Liberally salt and pepper the other side, and cook for another 3–5 minutes, until cooked to your liking. Don't worry if the burger crumbles when you flip it; just press the edges back together and continue cooking.

  8. In order to construct hamburgers with cheese Cheese should be added to burgers as soon as they are flipped if you are making cheeseburgers. If the cheese isn't melting quickly enough, place a lid or other dome over the pan.

  9. Put the burgers away When the burgers are done, place them on the toasted buns and top with your preferred condiments.

Cooking for a large group? Make a double batch of burgers and cook them in batches until they are slightly underdone. Put the finished patties on a baking sheet and into a 300°F oven to keep warm while you finish the rest of the batch.

Keep leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the fridge.

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