Should You Cook Burgers On High Heat?

If you're a hamburger lover then you've probably tried your hand at making them at home, especially if you're entertaining or hosting a barbecue. Not only are burgers easy and fun for guests to assemble themselves, but you can control every step of their construction from the quality of meat you're using and how much fat is in the blend to the temperature of your grill and how your burger is cooked. It's a simple process, but that means a small choice like using too low of heat can actually be a big mistake.

When cooking beef burgers, many people are concerned about overcooking the meat. After all, while chicken and turkey burgers must be cooked all the way through for safety, beef burgers can safely be eaten when they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're aiming for a burger that's still pink in the middle you might find yourself wanting to back off the heat, but that's the exact opposite of what you should do. Whether you cook burgers on the grill, on the flat top, or in a pan, caramelizing the meat is the name of the game. And the only way to get a nice caramelization on your meat is to use high heat.

Give them time to form a nice crust

In order to get your burgers to form that perfect crust, you want to put them over high heat and then let them do their thing. Once your burgers hit the pan, grill, or flat top, no matter how tempting it might be, don't touch them for a few minutes. The only exception is if you're making smash burgers. For smash burgers, put your balls of meat on the heat source, smash them right away, then leave them alone. Not only will a crust form, but your patties will tighten up nicely so they won't break when you flip them.

Once the top of the meat is showing some moisture and there's a nice golden crust on the bottom, flip them. How long you leave them on the grill after that depends on the thickness of the patty, so always use a thermometer to make sure your burgers are cooked to a safe temperature. If you're aiming for a well-done burger, check its temperature after 10 minutes of total cooking. For medium-well wait nine minutes; for medium, cook for seven to eight minutes; and if you want medium rare, aim for six to seven minutes. With strong heat and the correct cooking time in mind, you can feel confident that the next time you're in charge of the burgers they'll come out perfectly.