When it comes to cooking hamburgers, there are several ways to do it, including grilling, broiling, baking, and frying. However, cooking hamburgers in a skillet is one of the most convenient and efficient methods. Skillet cooking allows you to prepare juicy, flavorful burgers without needing a grill or much space.
Additionally, it’s an excellent way to cook burgers year-round, no matter the weather or your location. Read on for everything you need to know to cook hamburgers in a skillet.
Choose the right meat
The first step to making delicious hamburgers is selecting the right meat. For a classic hamburger, you’ll want to use ground beef with a fat content of 80/20, which means it’s 80% lean and 20% fat. The fat helps keep the meat moist and flavorful while cooking.
You can also use ground chuck, which has a similar fat content, or a blend of ground beef and ground pork, which can add a unique flavor to your burgers. When buying ground meat, choose high-quality meat from a reputable source. Look for bright red beef without any gray or brown spots and has a good balance of meat and fat.
Shape the patties
Once you have your ground meat, it’s time to shape it into patties. You’ll want to form the meat into patties about 1/2 inch – 1 inch thick and slightly wider than your bun. To do this:
- Divide the meat into equal portions and gently form them into patties with your hands.
- Refrain from overworking the meat, or you’ll have tough burgers to eat.
- Use your thumb to create a shallow indentation in the center of each patty. This will help the burgers cook more evenly and prevent them from puffing up in the middle.
Season the patties
Seasoning is essential to making delicious burgers. You’ll want to add a generous amount of salt and pepper to both sides of each patty. To add more flavor, you can also add other seasonings, such as garlic powder, garlic salt, or paprika. Be careful not to over-season the burgers, as too many flavors can overpower the taste of the meat. If you’re using cheese, wait to add it until the burgers are almost done cooking.
Preheat the skillet
Before cooking the burgers, you’ll want to preheat your skillet. Choose a heavy-bottomed skillet, such as cast iron, which will heat evenly and retain heat well. Coat the cast iron skillet with a generous amount of olive oil to prevent the beef from sticking to it, then heat it over medium-high heat for several minutes until it’s hot enough to start immediately cooking the burgers.
Cook the burgers
Once the skillet is hot, it’s time to cook the burgers. Place the patties in the skillet, making sure they’re not touching. Don’t press down on the burgers; this will release their juices and dry them. Cook the burgers on one side for 6-10 minutes until they’re browned and crispy on the bottom. Flip the burgers using a spatula, and cook them for another 6-8 minutes on the other side until they’re cooked thoroughly. If you’re adding cheese, place a slice on top of each burger when they’re almost done cooking until the cheese is melted.
Check the temperature
To make sure that your burgers are cooked to the proper temperature, use a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature of each patty. The USDA recommends cooking ground beef to an internal temperature of at least 160°F.
Rest the burgers
After cooking, it’s essential to let the burgers rest for a few minutes before serving. This allows the burger’s juices to redistribute throughout the meat, making the burgers juicier and more flavorful. Place the burgers on a plate or a cutting board and cover them loosely with foil. Let them rest for about 5 minutes before assembling them into burgers.
Assemble the burgers
Now that your burgers are cooked and rested, it’s time to assemble them into delicious burgers. Start by toasting the buns on a hot skillet or in a toaster. Add your favorite toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, mayo, ketchup, mustard, or any other condiments you like. Place the burger patty on the bottom bun, and top it with cheese, if desired. Add more toppings and the top bun, and serve immediately.
Tips for Perfect Skillet Burgers:
- Take your time with the burgers. Make sure to cook them to an internal temperature of 160°F, and avoid pressing down on them while cooking.
- Let the burgers rest before serving. This allows the meat’s juices to redistribute throughout, making the burgers juicier and more flavorful.
- Use a heavy-bottomed skillet, such as cast iron, to heat evenly and retain heat well.
- Choose high-quality meat from a reputable source, and look for meat that’s bright red, without any gray or brown spots.
- Generously season the burgers with salt and pepper, and add other seasonings, such as garlic powder, onion powder, or paprika, if desired.
- Toast the buns on a hot skillet or in a toaster, and add your favorite toppings and condiments.
Cooking hamburgers in a skillet is an easy and convenient way to make delicious burgers at home. With the right meat, seasoning, and cooking techniques, you can prepare juicy, flavorful burgers that are perfect for any occasion. Follow the tips and steps outlined in this article, and you can cook perfect skillet burgers every time. Whether you’re grilling outside or cooking indoors, skillet burgers are an awesome way to enjoy a classic American dish all year round.