This Is The Best Time To Salt You Burger

Summer is fast approaching and that means kids out of schools, ice in drinks, and, most deliciously, burgers on grills. Now it may seem that the burger is the simplest of dishes to just slap together. But in fact, every little factor matters when crafting the perfect burger — right down to the time of seasoning.

Any good burger lives and dies by the quality of its patty, so making sure to get the salt on the meat is pretty crucial; No one likes a bland burger patty. Timing-wise, Bon Appétit puts it succinctly: "Season one side of the patty with salt and pepper right before you place it on the grill, seasoned side down. Before you flip the burger, season the other side."

J. Kenji Lopez-Alt at Serious Eats corroborates this, suggesting that burger meat should never be seasoned before it has been formed into a patty. At most, salt should be added minutes before it goes onto a pan or the grill.

Why to salt your burger moments before cooking

The reason behind this careful separation and conjunction of salt and meat is due to the effects that salt can have on your patty. According to Serious Eats, salt breaks down the muscle proteins in the meat and can lead to your raw patties becoming gummy, which in turn will have your cooked patties resembling something closer to a hockey puck than you may want, per The Kitchn. Salt also draws out moisture from meat, which can cause inconsistent textures with the exterior and interior of your patty if left too long.

So, try to season your burger patties as close to the cooking time as possible, and definitely avoid seasoning your meat before you form your patties. The extra handling of the meat while you form patties, along with the presence of salt, will accelerate the rate at which the muscle proteins dissolve, getting you closer and closer to a pellet to the mouth rather than a nice juicy burger.