Wednesday, June 8, 2011

How to Cook Hamburgers So That Someone Like Me Would Like Them

I normally don't care too much about how absolutely accurate the color profiles of my photos are. I'm the video guy, so if the pictures are a little off, or my grammar's ain't perfect, I get a pass.

But here I was concerned that my average-at-best photography skills would give readers a false impression of exactly how cooked this hamburger was. You'll have to take my word for it, but this was a pretty perfect medium. It may have been the bright light, but the photo makes this look a little rarer than it was.

I'm not a big fan of rare burgers, as I've always believed the beef fat therein should be hot and flowing, not cool and flabby. If I want raw meat I'll make a tartar. At the same time, I do want to keep the burger somewhat pink, if possible, so it stays moist and tender.

The technique you're about to watch is fairly straightforward, but like any cooking methods, it takes a little practice. The good news is, once you get a feel for this "cook it just over halfway up" system, you should be a perfectly pink hamburger making machine.

By the way, I won't engage in any inane debates on the wisdom of eating less-than-well-done burgers. The topic's been covered online, ad nauseam (pun intended). Is it potentially dangerous to eat a pink burger? Of course, but so is crossing the street. Enjoy!

35 comments:

Nishant said...

I think you meant to embed this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZpDzROtxIc

The one in the post is from 2008.

Chef John said...

Sorry, but i just check and the correct video is embeded. You must have a browser bug or something. Thanks!

dcivera said...

Chef John? Is this brie that I see on top of the burger? Brie? BRIE??? Oh please tell me it's brie!!! oh Chef, you've made me oh soooo hungry!

Anonymous said...

Ever since I found your food blogg I am totally and utter addicted! Love it! And am passing it on to everyone! Only two things I could wish for is more frequent updates and and your take on something wild likenwild boar,myeahbIm serious lol. Best from Sweden! X

Monica said...

please what is the internal temperature? Please make again on a gas grill!!!

Chef John said...

Probably 140 internal. Enjoy!

Talek said...

Thank you for this, I usually have to visit Toronto or beg my local burger bar to cook it to medium which unfortunately doesn't always pan out the way I want it to...

Simple question... Do you prefer stove top or grill method for this? I would think stove top would give more consistency when it cooks but the grill does give that nice smoky flavour...

Anonymous said...

Could you please post your toppings and type of break. I love this video your creations are awesome. Thanks.

Chris K. said...

Do you have a preference regarding the fat content of ground beef for hamburger? I'm guessing you want a nice amount of fat in there.

Chef John said...

I like btwn 15-20% as do most

André said...

Im a little confused. In Germany I learned, that Americans like their beef for Hamburgers in a very plain way, without any spices like salt and pepper. But nevertheless, that's the way I always made my own Hamburgers. Go on, Chef John! American Food is better than it's reputation. I love this American classics!

Rita said...

"Is it potentially dangerous to eat a pink burger? Of course, but so is crossing the street."

i LOVE it! that is so hilarious and true. and, yes, i love pink burgers.

Anonymous said...

Interesting..what Andre said. I'm from the indian subcontinent so a lot of food here in America is quite simple compared to our's in which almost everyone of them you'll find, onions, garlic, ginger, cumin, salt, chile powder, lots of oil, etc. You can even buy some bags that come with all the spices mixed for a certain dish. But I enjoy American food; though maybe slightly altered.

Jackson said...

Looks amazing Chef John. I think referencing pulp fiction is appropriate here; "That is a tasty burger!"

Asian malaysian said...

Chef John, isnt the burger already seasoned before being formed into patties?

Dirk said...

This looks great! Just one question: Rocket surgery? Really? :)

Anonymous said...

Speaking of perfectly juicy burgers, they should only be put on the right type of bun.
I hate hamburger buns that are either so soft that they turn into a soggy mess the moment they make contact with the juices from a properly cooked burger, or so "rustic" that you spend enough time trying to chew through them that your jaw starts to tire before you finish. I would love a recipe for buns that are somewhere in the middle.

Asian Malaysian said...

Anon, a burger bun should ALWAYS be toasted and lightly buttered or mayo-ed on both sides, IMHO.

Asian Malaysian said...

Anon, a burger bun should ALWAYS be toasted and lightly buttered or mayo-ed on both sides, IMHO.

Mililus said...

i love the way you use your words on your blog and in the videos, it's very special and inviting and just plain fun :)

Food Junkie said...

Chef John, does the heat coming up the sides method work for the barbecue as well or just a frying pan?

Kim

Chef John said...

yes, but not quite as exact, but still a good guide.

Anonymous said...

Where's all the banter about well vs rare (the way I like it)?

Great video

btw - It WAS a slow day for the inaugural event - noted later.

(slow day again!)

Chris said...

Gorgeous burger, Chef John! The caramelized onions and thick cheese are drool worthy. (Or maybe that pesky neighbor, Pavlov, is playing his hand bells again.)

Carey said...

You just made me so hungry for a juicy burger. Curse you, Chef John, curse you!

Julie L said...

Love your videos, Chef John!
You're an AWESOME Chef!!
I'm in Korea, can't easily have this kind of gooood video recepies.
Thank you so much! And could you plspls do some more dessert?
Merci!

Anonymous said...

may i ask why july 27th?
it's my birthday btw, would be an awesome present!
love ur blog Chef! dont stop posting!

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

July 27th has long since come and gone. When are you going to post the burger video you promised? Did you forget?

BTW - I love to cook now because of you and this video blog.

Thank you for all your hard work.

Chef John said...

I did! Thanks! http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2011/07/my-great-northwest-cheeseburger.html

Anonymous said...

You did not steer me wrong Chef John! Used your exact technique to make my burger tonight and it came out perfectly ! Thanks for the great videos.

-Bridget

Kelly Kha said...

Hey Chef John!
I know this is an old post but I was wondering if you had a method of cooking a burger well done on a stove top without burning it?

I would love to eat it as a medium but because of health reasons, I can't eat raw meat.

Thanks!

Chef John said...

Just use lower heat. Eventually the meat will cook thru. BTW, medium meat is not rare, and is NO danger to anyone. Even med. meat that's pink has reached a temp of 140+, and everything potentially dangerous is killed. Not sure why people still don't know this. It's science! :)

Paulo Tregier said...

Chef John,
what combination of meat do you use on your burgers?
how do you always get that amount of fat ? (15%-20%)
Thank you.

Taeko Shimada said...

HiChef John, how are you??
I have the same doubt of Paulo....
What combination of meat do you use on your burgers?
how do you always get that amount of fat ? (15%-20%)
Thank you.

Chef John said...

I always use 85/15 ratio of meat to fat. The butcher sells it that way!