Burgers are amazing in that they taste good, plain or elaborate. However, getting the perfect burger every time may be a challenge. How do you determine whether a burger is cooked to perfection? Where can I find the secret to making juicy, medium-rare patties or well-done ones that don’t look like hockey pucks? Continue reading to find out!
A necessary first step is to prepare. It’s best to use a thermometer to determine when a burger is done cooking, whether it’s an instant-read model or a high-tech digital point-and-shoot. No matter what you’re dealing with, a thermometer may help you make sense of the vast expanse between rare and well-done.
The next step is to decide on a burger recipe. Like the one Ree Drummond recommends, a smashed burger is a good example of a thin burger that can be easily checked for doneness. They’re as finished on the inside as they appear on the exterior, which is to say that they’re thin and flat. Meatier dishes, like Ree’s Green Chile Cheeseburgers, require additional techniques to get the desired char on the exterior and medium rare within. Ree’s Hawaiian Burgers, Salisbury Steak Burgers, and Sausage and Peppers Burgers are great places to test your newfound knowledge of burger cooking temps.
At what point in time and at what temperature should burgers be cooked?
The United States Department of Agriculture advises a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit for ground beef. Doing so will produce a beef burger that is well done, with no pink remaining in the middle. When preparing burgers, keep the following in mind: Take the patties off the grill about 5 to 10 degrees before they achieve your desired doneness to account for the residual heat. The burgers are done to perfection when an internal thermometer reads 150 to 155 degrees F in the thickest portion.
But if you want your burgers rarer, aim for one of the temperatures below (and remember to remove the burgers from the heat a little before, as the internal temperature will continue to rise).
- Cooking temperatures between 130 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit are considered medium-rare.
- Temperatures between 140 and 145 degrees Fahrenheit are considered “medium.”
- Medium: between 150 and 155 degrees
One helpful hint is to insert the thermometer horizontally from the side to get to the thickest area of the burger.
How long should burgers be cooked for?
Depending on the thickness of the burger patty, personal desire for doneness, and the heat source, the answer is between 2.2 and 5.0 minutes per side. Naturally, thinner patties will be done sooner (maybe as little as 1 to 2 minutes on each side for a smashed burger!), while thicker patties may take a bit longer. To avoid the cheese from becoming overcooked, add it to the patties at the end of cooking time.
Can your burgers be somewhat pink in the middle?
Yes, if you want your burgers done faster, go ahead. Whereas a rare burger will be pink in the middle, a well-done one will be brown. The centre of a burger cooked medium-rare will still be pink and juicy, whereas a burger cooked medium-well will be largely brown.
Is a thermometer necessary to determine when something is cooked?
It is possible, but it will take some time to master and will not be as precise. Feel how soft the burger’s centre is by pressing it gently. Like the fleshy part of your hand that lies between your thumb and palm, a rare burger will have a mushy texture. If you want your burgers on the firm side, grill them longer. A medium burger should feel like the space between your thumb and ring finger when you press your thumb to your ring finger on one hand.
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