A perfect all American hamburger! Here I share 3 simple ways to cook burgers (including stovetop, grill and even oven), plus tips on how to build the best burger. This includes a simple homemade bun, a variety of sauces and all the best toppings!
4hamburger buns,preferably homemade or bakery fresh, halved, sprayed with olive oil spray and lightly toasted in oven or countertop oven if desired
Saucesuch as ketchup, mustard, mayo, guacamole or spread**
Sliced cheddar cheese,American cheese, PepperJack, Colby, Provolone or Muenster
Sliced tomatoes,pickles, red or yellow onion, avocado, cooked bacon or sauteed mushrooms
Divide ground beef into 4 equal portions of 5 oz each if using 1 1/4 lbs, or 6 oz each if using 1 1/2 lbs beef. Note that a kitchen scale will work best for the most even size and therefor even cooking time among the burgers.
Gently shape each portion into cylinder like shape then smash into a round that is 4-inches wide and about 3/4-inch thick. Make a slight indent in the center of each patty (so they'll end up cooking more level rather than domed).
Season evenly and quite generously with the salt and pepper on both sides, just once you are ready to cook the burgers.
How to cook hamburgers on the stovetop
Oil the 12-inch cast iron skillet with vegetable oil (it works well to just use a balled up paper towel to spread it around), then preheat skillet over medium-high heat on the stovetop. It should heat about 5 to 8 minutes until oil is nearly smoking. (I recommend turning on exhaust fan too)
Place patties in a skillet spacing evenly apart and using a spatula press down over the top of them so the bottom of the burger makes direct contact with the surface of the pan and therefor browns evenly.
Let cook undisturbed until nicely browned on bottom, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook until opposite side is browned and burger is cooked through, about 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add cheese after turning if using so it has enough time to melt.
Note that if burger is browning to quickly as it cooks reduce temperature to medium, if using the largest burner on the stove you may find medium is sufficient for entire cook time.
I recommend using an instant read food thermometer to test internal temperature of the burgers for doneness. Medium well is 150 to 155. Note that recommend food safe temperature for ground beef is 160 degrees in center.
Serve hamburgers in buns with desired sauce and toppings.
How to grill hamburgers
Preheat a gas grill over medium high heat to 425 to 450 degrees. Clean grill grates and brush with the vegetable oil (using a balled up paper towel and tongs).
Place patties on grill (over area of flames). Cover with lid and let grill 4 minutes then turn to opposite side and cook through, about 3 to 5 minutes longer. If adding cheese place on top after turning to allow time to melt.
Once preheated remove hot pan from oven using hot pads and immediately brush oil into pan (using tongs and balled up paper towel). Add burger patties right away and slightly press down with a spatula so they make even contact with pan.
Return hot pan to oven right away (again use hot pads pan is extremely hot), reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees and bake until burgers are cooked through, about 7 to 9 minutes, turning during last 1 minute. If you'd like to add cheese add after turning at last 1 minute.
*For a flavor seasoned burger it's also tasty to include 2 tsp Worcestershire, 1/4 tsp onion powder and 1/4 tsp garlic powder to season. With Worcestershire just drizzle about 1/2 tsp over each portion and very gently toss the beef.
**For a sauce similar to burger joints mix 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 2 1/2 Tbsp ketchup, 1/2 tsp vinegar, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/8 tsp onion powder, 1/8 tsp garlic powder, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Nutrition estimate is for 5 oz. 85% lean beef patty and homemade bun only. Toppings not included as these will vary based on what is used.
Note that FDA recommends cooking to a temperature of 160 to kill of any potentially harmful bacteria. I personally prefer a fairly well done burger at about 155. Temperature should be taken internally in center of burger on an instant read food thermometer.Medium rare: 130° to 135°F Medium: 140° to 145°F Medium well: 150° to 155°F Well done: 160°F