Should You Pan Fry or Grill a Burger?

Did you know that people started eating burgers as early as the 1890s? Back then, burgers were more of street food and they didn’t look much like the delectable burgers we can eat at restaurants today or cook ourselves. Today, we are loaded with knowledge on how to cook burgers in the best ways, although some might argue that one should always grill a burger while others argue one should always pan-fry a burger.

While both methods can produce some very juicy burgers, is one really any better than the other? Keep reading and learn more about the difference between these two burger cooking methods below. 

How to Pan Fry a Burger

No matter whether you’re frying or grilling your burgers, you should always start with high-quality beef. If you choose beef that is too fatty, you’re going to have some soggy, greasy burgers. On the other hand, if you choose meat that is too lean, your burgers have a higher chance of being dry and tough.

The happy medium is an 80:20 ratio. You will also need to form the patties correctly, otherwise, when you’re trying to go about searing a burger, the burger might end up misshapen and poorly cooked. All you need to do is form a flat paddy and press down the middle with your thumb to create an indentation.

This will ensure that the burger won’t expand too much like a balloon in the middle. A cast-iron skillet burger is one of the best burgers you can make when pan-frying. A cast-iron skillet is able to hold on to all the delicious flavors from all the foods that you previously made with it. 

This is a great way to impart a few extra layers of complexity to the flavor of your burger. You won’t have any problem caramelizing the patties and the best part is that cast-iron skillets are non-stick. But if you don’t have a cast-iron skillet, don’t worry too much. 

Any pan will be able to do the job. Pan-frying a burger is unique compared to grilling because the pan is able to hold on to all the juices and fat that the burger releases. As the burger continues to cook in its own juice, it is able to compound its flavor and remain moist all the while. 

If you are worried about your burgers drying out, try cooking with a pan first to err on the side of caution. 

How to Grill a Burger

Grilling a burger is a completely different ballgame, but that doesn’t mean you won’t end up with the best burger ever. However, the main obstacle with grilling burgers is that all the juice will drip out of the burgers and you’ll have no way to catch it. for that reason, you’ll have to be extra careful as to not let the burgers dry out. 

Otherwise, you might end up with hockey pucks instead of tender, juicy burgers. The first thing you’ll need to do is preheat your grill. If you have a gas grill, it should be able to preheat pretty fast. 

If you have a charcoal grill or another similar kind of grill, you might want to give it a head start since it might take some time to heat up. A charcoal grill is a classic choice for cooking burgers because it can create a very unique flavor and aroma. When you cook burgers over a charcoal grill, the meat will be able to absorb all the unique hints of smoky flavor that the charcoal has to offer. 

You won’t be able to achieve the same smokiness with a gas grill, but don’t fret, because you can still end up with a great burger. The flames of your grill will be able to provide your burgers with a delicious, crispy char that pan-frying will never be able to accomplish. However, as mentioned before, you will need to be extra careful to ensure that your burgers don’t dry out by the time they’re done. 

To prevent this, it’s best to keep the grill’s lid covered for most of the time. Try to keep from peeking under the lid to see how the burgers are doing. Instead, set a timer and only lift the lid only when it’s necessary. 

Which Method Is Better?

When it comes to choosing which burger method is better, it all depends on what you want out of your burger. It also depends on how you like to cook. Pan-frying is typically less effort than grilling. 

You won’t have to drag out the charcoal and the lighter fluid or wait for your grill to heat up. All you’ll have to do is take out your favorite pan and slap on the patties. Then, you’ll end up with some juicy burgers. 

On the other hand, pan-fried burgers are fattier than grilled burgers because they are cooked in their own fat. If you are trying to cut some fat out of your diet or if you don’t like the taste of too much fat, try grilling your burgers instead. While you risk drying out your burgers, if you do it right, you can create burgers with a crispy char and a juicy inside. 

Everything You Need to Know About Cooking Burgers

Whether you like to pan fry or grill a burger, if you know what you’re doing, you can always end up with a delicious result. The method you choose all depends on what you want your burger to taste like and how much effort you are willing to put into your burgers.

To learn more, check out the food section on our website.