Is It Necessary To Let Your Burgers Rest After Cooking?

There are many keys to a perfect, juicy burger besides meat-to-fat ratios, grill times, burger mix ingredients, or what kind of bun you use. It's a secret that applies across the animal protein spectrum, from poultry like chicken and duck to pork and beef. And whether it's just forgotten in the commotion of folks eager for food off the grill, or a lack of patience on the cook's part, it's crucial to let the meat rest

Take steak, for example. During the cooking process, you subject the cut to high heat for an extended period. While pan-frying or grilling helps develop a nice crust and seal in the juices, it's only part of the equation. The longer a steak is exposed to heat, the more its muscle fibers and proteins constrict and begin to push the juices toward the center of the cut. Giving steak time to rest once it is removed from the heat allows those same muscles to relax and the juice to redistribute.

That's all well and good for a nice steak, but what about those burgers? Since they are an amalgamation of different cuts of beef ground and shaped into patties, is it necessary to allow them to rest? It absolutely is. 

A good rest for juicy burgers

While there are several tips and tricks for preparing the ultimate hamburger patty, unless it's a smashburger, it needs time to rest. Though small in comparison to a pot roast or T-bone, burgers still require a period to finish off the cooking process and allow the juice to diffuse into the cut while the fat drains away from it. When done, simply transfer the burgers from the heating surface to a wire rack set over a sheet pan, cover them with aluminum foil, and let them rest for 5 to 10 minutes before plating. 

This may seem like a long time, but when you think about the 20-minute rest required for larger cuts of meat, letting the burgers take five is not so bad. Another reason for the shorter rest is that burgers have less juice to distribute and tend to cook rather quickly. Patience is, nevertheless, required. Your reward is a perfectly cooked, perfectly warm, perfectly juicy hamburger that is an absolute delight to eat. 

A grill master can be characterized by how well they can cook a burger. Beyond the drama of grease-fueled flare-ups and the aroma of grilled meat, resting seems thoroughly uninteresting. It is, however, the key to a great burger. Now we've let the secret slip, it's on you to remember it.