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How to Cook a Perfect Burger: Tips on Achieving Burger Greatness

How to Cook a Perfect Burger: Tips on Achieving Burger Greatness

Did you know that the hamburger was invented in 1891? Ever since then, people all over the world have been obsessing over the delicious flavours that burgers have to offer. People have also been wondering how to cook a perfect burger to achieve those flavours. 

When it comes to learning how to cook a burger, you should know that there are two main options: cooking it on a grill and cooking it on a pan. Some argue that cooking a burger on a pan is the best way to go while others argue the complete opposite. In reality, both of these cooking options have their pros and cons and you will have to try both to see which result is tastier for your taste buds.

Keep reading and learn more about how to cook the perfect burger with these burger tips.


How to Grill a Burger Like a Pro


Grilling a burger isn't hard at all, although it will take some time. First, you will need to wait for your grill to heat up. The last thing you want to do is put on the raw patties before the grill is hot enough. 
Otherwise, the burgers won't start sizzling right away and, as a result, they won't have a good sear. While you wait for your grill to heat up, you will need to start forming your patties. The thing about grilling patties is that you will need to make sure that they hold their shape. 

This means that you'll need to put in some more breadcrumbs to hold the patties together. This can somewhat compromise the texture of the patties. Overworking ground meat can end up making the patties a bit tough or dry, but you may not notice too much if you cook them right. 

Once you shape the ground meat into patties, you will want to put a thumbprint into the middle of each of the patties. This will help keep the middle of the patties from bulging too much. When this happens, it is harder for the burgers to cook evenly and the moisture of the burgers will be compromised as well.
Then, it will be time to toss the burgers on the grill.


What You Need to Know About Cooking a Burger

You won't want to overcook the burgers or they'll end up very dry. The main downside of cooking on the grill is that burgers have a tendency to dry out because all of their juices will fall down to the bottom of the grill. 

To make sure that the burgers still have plenty of moisture once you're done grilling them, you'll want to take them off the grill before they cook all the way, usually about 30 seconds before. Once you take them off the grill, they will continue cooking for about a minute longer, but once you set them on the plate, they'll no longer lose any more moisture and the meat will have a chance to rest. 

As a result, you will have a perfectly grilled burger. Grilling a burger is also a great way to give the meat a delicious smoky flavour and aroma depending on what kind of wood or charcoal you use for your grill. 


How to Cook a Burger on a Pan

Cooking a burger on a pan is more or less the same as cooking it on the grill. However, there are a few important differences you should know about. First, you will need to pay more attention to the burgers or they might burn. 
Cooking burgers on a pan means that the burgers will be much closer to the heat source compared to a grill. With a grill, the flames will touch the burgers from a certain distance and will cook the burgers evenly. When cooking on a pan, you may need to shift the pan around to make sure the burgers cook in an even way. 
You may also need to lift the pan off of the stove from time to time in case the pan gets too hot. The biggest benefit of cooking on a pan is that the burgers won't lose any moisture. The fat from the meat will drip into the pan and the patties will have a chance to marinate in that grease as they cook. 
This will give them a delicious flavour and glaze. But before you put the patties in the pan, you will need to shape them a little differently compared to how you would shape them when grilling them. As mentioned before, when grilling hamburgers, you need to overwork the meat a bit, otherwise, the patties might fall apart on the grill's grates. 


The Details of Cooking a Burger


You won't have this problem when cooking on a pan. For that reason, you won't need to work the meat very much at all. In fact, it is said that the best patties are those that are barely put together. 

This makes it so the meat is especially tender and juicy rather than tough and rubbery. This will also save you a lot of time when making the burgers, especially since you won't need to wait very long for the stovetop to heat up. Another great thing about cooking burgers in a pan is that they will get a unique sear that a grill could never provide. 

A grill might be able to produce appealing grill marks on a patty, but they can produce the dark and even sear that a pan can. This is not to mention that you can experiment more with the flavours of the burger when cooking in a pan. You can splash in some wine or butter for extra flavour and moisture, for example. 
You couldn't do that when cooking on a grill or the wine would end up in the coals. Again, when cooking on a pan, you won't want to overcook the burgers, otherwise, they might end up a bit tough, especially on the exterior which could easily burn if you're not careful. 


How to Tell When a Burger Is Cooked


There are many ways to cook a burger and inserting a temperature inside the burger will tell you how cooked it is. Some people like their burgers well-done, but this can render the burger dry and tough. On the other hand, some people like their burgers rare in which the meat is still a bit bloody and quite red in the middle.

While using a thermometer on the burgers can tell you quite a lot, don't worry if you don't have a meat thermometer on hand as there are a few other ways in which you can tell whether or not the burgers are done. In particular, you can poke the patties with your finger. If the burgers are very firm and don't bounce back at all when you poke them, they are likely well-done and perhaps a little overcooked. 

If you want a juicy and flavourful burger, you will want to keep this from happening by cooking the burgers for less time. If you poke the burgers and find that the meat has some give, it is likely cooked medium or medium-well. Keep an eye out for any juices that the burger releases when you put pressure on it. 

If the juices are clear, that means that the burger is completely cooked. If the juices are still a bit pink or even red, that means that the burger is still quite rare. While rare hamburgers can provide a lot of flavour, you should keep in mind that they also carry the risk of food poisoning. 


The Doneness of the Meat


If you have a meat thermometer on hand, you will be able to be much more accurate when telling how cooked a burger is. Be sure to insert the thermometer from the side of the burger rather than from the top. This will ensure that the thermometer doesn't go too deep into the burger and give you a false reading.

You can also tell a lot about the doneness of a burger by its colour. After flipping a burger for the first time and letting it cook for a bit, create a small cut so you can look inside the burger and see what colour it is. A well-done burger should be light brown in the middle and it shouldn't release much juice. 

A medium-well burger will have a very faint hint of pink in the middle while the rest is brown. A medium burger will be similar but it will have more pink in the middle. A medium-rare burger will be mostly pink with only a bit of brown around the edges. 

Finally, a rare burger will be mostly red in the middle except for the edges which will be seared. 


How to Cook a Perfect Burger 


Learning how to cook a perfect burger isn't as difficult as you might expect. All you need to know is the differences between cooking burgers on a grill compared to a pan. Both are good, but they each have their pros and cons that can affect the juiciness and texture of the burgers.

There are also several ways to tell whether or not your burgers are done such as by poking them or using a thermometer. To learn more about burgers, check out the beef mince options we have here