How do u make very good burger in a pan?

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Joined Apr 25, 2011
I’m assuming you are a home cook working in a residential kitchen so I will advise for that scenario.

First thing is make sure you have great ventilation. Turn on fans, open windows, be ready to deal with fire alarm(s). Some people say to take batteries out prior, but I disagree as many people forget to put them back in. Just be ready to silence if necessary.

Get a stainless or cast iron pan. The heaviest one you have. I believe you can use anodized steel pans also, but I am not as familiar with their high heat tolerance in this capacity. Put it on a burner on med and let the pan get real hot. You can tell if it is hot enough by running a little water over your fingers and flicking it in the pan. If it sizzles and evaporates immediately, it is ready.

I like using 80% lean 20% Fat ground chuck, but there are many discussions on both type of cut for the grind and fat percentage. Ask your meat guy when purchasing it.

I will loosely roll into a ball the size of a baseball. Don’t handle too much or pack too tight. I then put a pinch of kosher salt, cracked black pepper, and granulated garlic on a plate. I roll each ball in the seasoning.

Drop ball into hot pan flatten and press to desired thickness with spatula. Burner set to med should now be turned up to med high) It will smoke, scream, and pop. This is good. Let it sit until you see the juices rise to the top of the patty. Then flip. Depending on thickness and desired doneness will determine time on second side.

One of the cool things of a pan burger vs grill is you can press patty and fry it in its own fat.

If you want cheese add it when near done, cover pan, remove from heat. Wait 1-2 minutes depending on how melty you like your cheese. Enjoy!
 
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Joined Jan 4, 2011
I much prefer 85/15 ... but everyone gets an opinion. I also prefer cast to stainless. I squish the meat into a burger first and season it with black pepper and my steak seasonings. I paint the skillet with oil and then salt that (frying on the salt). When the burger has cooked to the point I can slide it with a fork I flip it and cook it half again as long. I remove the burger and wipe the skillet with the bun and gently toast it for a minute or so. The burger has rested for this minute so I serve it up. If you want cheese ... add it the last minute of cooking, covered if you wish, but cook less if covered.
 
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These are excellent suggestions. However, if you want to make a really, really, really great hamburger in a pan, use the pan to carry your burgers to and from the grill. :)

In all seriousness, heavy pan + super hot + well seasoned = great burger. For best results, i think well seasoned, heavy cast iron is best.

Oh, and its not a good burger unless it has equally good, smoked bacon on it. Everything should have bacon on it!!
 
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Joined May 30, 2015
For burgers, I prefer thin patties cooked well done, old-fashioned diner kind. Here's how I make them:

For a thin, seared, meaty burger, I prefer 93/7 since it has an excellent meaty taste. The thicker the burger, the more tough and chewy it will be if you use very lean meat, So, adjust accordingly (thicker burger = fattier meat). I mix the seasoning in the meat (but don't overwork the meat) and add extra on the outside after pattying. Keep it simple - I usually just use Morton's season salt.

I heat a heavy duty pan with a little oil until it's VERY hot. Add the burger, cook until seared (3-4 minutes) and flip. If you want cheese, add it now. Then, I add a little de-glazing liquid (about 4 tablespoons of water, beer, aus jus, etc), put a lid on immediately to trap the steam and lower the heat. I then cook another 3-4 minutes. Then, I remove the lid, turn the heat back up and cook another 2-3 minutes.
 
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Joined Dec 30, 2015
One of the cool things of a pan burger vs grill is you can press patty and fry it in its own fat.
Everything everybody said above except pressing the patty, since imo that also pushes out the juices.
Good luck and post a picture of your burger for us!
 
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I too will chime in with the idea that great burger starts with great meat. I prefer mostly chuck, sometimes will add in some sirloin to the grind. And I also like about an 85/15 ratio for pan fried, 80/20 if cooking over charcoal, where more of the fat will be rendered out. Sometimes I like just catsup, mustard and pickle, sometimes with lettuce and tomato, one favorite is mayo, a thin slice of red onion and some roasted red bell papper strips.

mjb.
 
636
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Joined Apr 25, 2011
Everything everybody said above except pressing the patty, since imo that also pushes out the juices.
Good luck and post a picture of your burger for us!

You don’t agree with pressing patty in pan? I’ll agree it’s a big no no for grilling burgers, but on a flattop or cast iron, I believe it is essential to get the good crust
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
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Joined Mar 29, 2002
Everything everybody said above except pressing the patty, since imo that also pushes out the juices.
Good luck and post a picture of your burger for us!

You don’t agree with pressing patty in pan? I’ll agree it’s a big no no for grilling burgers, but on a flattop or cast iron, I believe it is essential to get the good crust

I think you're talking past each other. You both agree that pressing a burger during cooking is a bad thing. Planethoff's techniques happens when the patty is still cold and hasn't rendered juices yet. It's essentially the patty forming process done in the pan, immediately on introducing the meat to the pan. Seems to also be what the Culvers burger chain does. They do get a very crusty burger compared to the competition. And it's not dry.

I've not tried planethoff's technique myself, but I'd give it a go and see.
 

pete

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Staff member
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As phatch said, in general, pressing a burger is a big no-no except during the first 30-60 seconds of cook time. While I prefer to grill my burgers, if I am cooking in a pan then it is always a smash style burger. Make up a loosely packed 3-4 ounce ball of ground beef, but it in a smoking hot cast iron pan. Let is sit for about 20-30 seconds then smash the heck out of it. I like this technique because the edges of the burgers get "frayed" so you end up with a lot of crispy bits around the edge as well as a nice, crispy top.
 
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Joined Jan 31, 2012
Lots of opinions and expertise in this thread.
I'll add that when cooking burgers in a pan,
especially with 20% or more fat content,
I cook the first side, then drain off most of the
grease of to avoid reabsorption, which can be gross.
The second side always seems to get a nice crust
this way.
 

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