Burger Quest: prep and cook

For any burger fan it comes down to grill or fry.  I enjoy both and like to change it up now and again.  For either technique you want the same thing: a nice crust on the outside and a juicy center: pretty much the same thing as steak.

Which leads to patty formation and what actually works.  I’ve tried leaving the meat loose and barely forming the patty but that leads to the burger being so loose when you eat it there’s no cohesive mouth feel.  That doesn’t mean go the other way and abuse the meat like you were kneeding dough.  Get your meat, form it into a patty that doesn’t crumble and give it the thumb indent.  With enough fat in the meat and a little pressure the patty will stay together nicely.

I use a gas grill for burgers: for some reason burgers on the Big Green Egg seem dry to me.  Medium to high heat, adding salt and pepper to the top side and then again after the flip.  Don’t press on your meat or all the juices run out: Just like steak a hamburger should be left alone to cook.

Cooking burgers inside requires a cast iron pan, medium high heat and no oil.  Get that pan hot so that a little smoke starts and then get your burgers in there.  Don’t crowd the pan or the sizzling juices will get all over and you won’t get a nice crust on the burger.  I have a Le Creuset 9″ cast iron skillet I picked up at one of their outlet stores: two hamburger patties go in at a time, and once they’re done I put them on a wire rack to cool.  Catching a theme here?  Steaks and hamburgers should be cooked the same way since we want the same results: a nice crust and a juicy center.

I’m going against the burger aficionados here but I like my burgers medium well.  I just can’t each a medium rare burger: I want the crunch of the crust and a good feel from the beef inside and medium rare seems too soft for me.