Why David Chang Is Strictly Against Burgers On The Grill

Cooking burgers on the grill is a go-to move for many chefs, but David Chang thinks, as a culinary endeavor, it's a bit of a sham. "A backyard burger is an experience that you try to convince yourself that it's better than it actually is," Chang shared on his podcast, The Dave Chang Show. Instead of dealing with the hassle of briquettes and the smoke that follows you everywhere, Chang insists burgers are better cooked on a frying pan inside your kitchen. 

At the risk of bursting your bubble about the upcoming summer party, Chang insists you keep burger meat away from the heat of a grill. A pan (or griddle) is not only easier to clean up than a grill, but the chef says there's a much higher probability of cooking burger meat to perfection with this method. And for naysayers, who claim they would miss the smokey flavors of a grill, Chang says (only half joking)  that a burger would need to be cooked over coals for the better part of a day to be properly flavored by smoke. 

The comforting taste of nostalgia

Our continued fascination with cooking burgers on the grill may have more to do with childhood memories and our nostalgia for warm summer picnics than what we're actually putting in our mouths, Chang speculates. "[I]t's the smells, it's your friends ... but if you actually take [the burger] out of the context, it's not that good."

If you do have your heart set on cooking tonight's meal on the grill, Chang advises reaching for chicken thighs, pork, and lamb chops instead. For veggies, corn is the reigning champion of vegetables to be grilled for Chang, with runners-up being squash and eggplant that are cut lengthwise so that they don't slip through the grates of the grill. Granted, Chang's thoughts on cooking burgers have prompted him to receive hate mail after he dissed the beet-covered Aussie burger, so feel free to draw your own conclusions when putting your backyard party together.