The best way to cook burgers is not on a grill

Note: If you refuse to ditch the grill, watch the video above to learn how to make the ultimate (grilled) burger.

Conjure up your ideal summer barbecue—pineapple pool floats, sweaty cans of beer and all—and chances are burgers charring over smoky coals are part of that vision. After all, there's no more quintessential food to slap on a grill, right?

Tradition aside, turns out the ol' Weber might not be the best home for those perfectly formed patties. Before you start hurdling oversize grill spatulas our way, hear us out on how you should cook this All-American classic.

(1) Burgers Dry Out on a Grill: A well-made burger patty is ribboned with fat, which will render out while cooking. On a grill, not only do you lose this precious grease as it falls in between the grates, but it causes flare-ups. Not the kind that make you look cool, but the ones that lead to blackened, dried-out exteriors that taste like soot. Stick to panfrying—the burger will sear in its own rendered fat (look, no one ever pretended this was health food), keeping it extra juicy.

(2) You Won't Get a Good Sear: Yes, crosshatched grill marks are aesthetically pleasing. But no one's going to be paying attention to your burger's char once enrobed in cheese and sandwiched between a sesame-seed bun. A good cast-iron skillet will give you the entire patina of crispy goodness that has us lining up at the nearest Shake Shack.

RELATED: 10 most expensive burgers in America

11 PHOTOS
10 most expensive burgers in America
See Gallery
10 most expensive burgers in America

What: Fleurburger 5000
Where: Mandalay Bay (Las Vegas, Nevada)
How much: $5,000

Patty consists of Wagyu beef and foie gras, covered in black truffles and truffle sauce in between a truffle bun. Served with a bottle of Bordeaux (estimated at around $2,500) and two Ichendorf glasses as souvenirs.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: The Absolutely Ridiculous Burger
Where: Mallie’s Sports Grill & Bar (Southgate, Michigan)
How much: $1,999

Guinness World Record holder for World's Largest Burger; consists of 350 pounds of beef and requires 72 hours of notice for preparation

Photo credit: Facebook

What: 777 Burger
Where: Burger Brasserie (Las Vegas, Nevada)
How much: $777

Kobe beef burger, topped with Maine lobster, foie gras, goat cheese, and 100-year-old aged balsamic. Served with a bottle of Dom Perignon.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: 666 Douche Burger
Where: 666 Burger Trucks (New York, New York)
How much: $666

Kobe beef burger wrapped in gold leaf, topped with lobster, caviar, truffles, foie gras, Gruyere cheese that's melted with champagne steam, and barbecue sauce made from droppings of the Asian Palm Civet

Photo credit: Facebook

What: Le Burger Extravagant
Where: Serendipity3 (New York, New York)
How much: $295

Wagyu beef patty topped with aged cheddar, black truffles, white truffle butter and quail egg served on a white truffle-buttered bun. Held together by a golden diamond-encrusted toothpick.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: B&B Indulgence
Where: Beer & Buns (New York, New York)
How much: $250

Kobe beef patty, topped with seared foie gras, truffles and caviar.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: The Mother Burger
Where: Burger & Beer Joint (South Beach, Florida)
How much: $125

18 pounds in total, 10 pounds of meat and choice of two in-house toppings

Photo credit: Facebook

What: DB “Royale” Double Truffle Burger
Where: DB Bistro Moderne (New York, New York)
How much: $120

Only offered when black truffles are in-season. Ground beef patty stuffed with boneless short ribs, foie gras, root vegetables and black truffles. Topped with a second batch of black truffles.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: Grand Burger
Where: McGuire Irish Pub (Destin, Florida)
How much: $100

Ground beef and filet mignon patty. Served with side of caviar, merlot sauce for topping and a bottle of Moet.

Photo credit: Facebook

What: The O.M.G. Burger
Where: The Catch (Anaheim, California)
How much: $74.99 (can be doubled for another $30.99)

Lean ground chuck beef patty, topped with ten slices of cheddar and remoulade sauce in between a 14-inch bun. Served with 4 pounds of fries.

Photo credit: Facebook

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

(3) You Have to Overwork the Meat for It to Hold Together: As J. Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats points out, the best burger patties are ones that are just barely shaped. Their outsides get crispier, they retain juices better and, more importantly, they stay tender. By the time your ground beef patties have been worked enough to hold up on a grill grate, they'll be dense and rubbery.

So if you want the best burgers possible, start reaching for the cast iron. Yes, we know that even we've been guilty of grilling our patties in the past, but if burgers are part of your idyllic summer barbecue, just take your heavy-duty skillet outside. You can slap it on the grill grates, directly onto the charcoal or on the grill's side burner. (As a bonus, you won't be spending the night cleaning grease spatters off your kitchen backsplash.)

Do you agree with us? Yeah, we didn't think so, but feel free to chime in below.

Whether your idea of the perfect picnic is cooking in the wilderness or sipping a summery cocktail at a sidewalk café, we've got everything you need to spend your Summer in the Wild. Let the outdoor entertaining begin.

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

Search Recipes