A good grill-cooked burger is America’s favorite guilty pleasure, and yet, so many of us don’t know how to properly cook them. But fear not: we’ve lined up the top five mistakes people make when cooking burgers at home and how to fix them.
Buying Expensive Lean Meat
The first mistake people make is thinking they need to buy an expensive cut of meat for their burger. If you want to eat a flavorless hunk of beef and cry about $15 down the drain, be our guest. Generally, you will want to look for meat with roughly 15-20 percent fat to avoid dry, flavorless burgers. Ground chuck is ideal for tender, juicy burger patties, though ground sirloin is another option.
Not Seasoning Your Meat
We don’t mean adding all of the spices from your cupboard, but we do recommend at least using salt (and maybe a bit of pepper). This is going to give your meat a nice crispy coating after cooking. The best way to season is by forming the meat into round patties and seasoning generously with salt and pepper on one side. Place the patties on the grill and then season the other side.
Placing Meat In A Cold Pan
Never do this. Set the heat to medium, add your fat (olive oil and butter work great here), and let the skillet heat up to the desired temperature. Only then should you add your seasoned patties, as this will keep a tender, juicy interior while also achieving a crusty sear on the outside.
Flipping The Meat Too Much
Rule of thumb: don’t overhandle your beef. We understand you’re impatient, famished, or whatever it may be – but by always poking and prodding you’re going to end up with a tough piece of meat. And while you’re at it, stay away from the knives – use a thermometer instead to check the internal temperature of your burgers. You’re going to want a temperature of about 155 degrees for well-done meat and 140-150 plus a 3-minute rest for medium well.
Pressing Down On The Burger
There’s something weirdly satisfying about the sound of a burger sizzling away in a pan. That is further complemented by one of the worst mistakes you can make while cooking a burger – pressing down on the meat as it cooks. Think of it this way… all of the flavor and juices heating up inside that seared crust are now oozing out of your burger and into the pan. Goodbye, flavor. Hello, tasteless burger.