Why You Don’t Need a Grill to Make the Perfect Burger

published Jun 30, 2014
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I know that the beginning of summer is agony to those of you who love to grill but lack the outdoor space for a (legal) spot to cook your food over an open flame. You’re left with the dubious prospect of grill pans in hot kitchens. Can this really give you your grilled food fix?

In the case of hamburgers, yes. In fact, you shouldn’t ever be cooking your burgers over an open flame. Here’s why.

Did you read the article in the Times last week about the perfect burger? Sam Sifton takes on that most American food of all, tracking down the best mix of meat and cooking techniques for the ultimate burger.

I’m no burger expert, so I confess I was somewhat shocked by his main point:

Cook on heavy, cast-iron pans and griddles. Cook outside if you like, heating the pan over the fire of a grill, but never on the grill itself. The point is to allow rendering beef fat to gather around the patties as they cook, like a primitive high-heat confit.

What? A grill isn’t necessary for a great burger? Sure, I love that flamed taste, especially when cooking over charcoal, but I do find it easier to cook a burger on a grill pan than on an open grill, so this was a welcome set of advice.

And fat gathering around patties? High-heat confit? Sign me up.

→ Read the full article: Deconstructing the Perfect Burger by Sam Sifton at The New York Times

Are you cooking your burgers indoors this year? Or is your grill already well-used?