Consumer Reports

What's the Best Way to Cook a Burger?

NBCUniversal, Inc.

This might cause a friendly argument at your next barbecue: What's the best way to cook a burger? Pan-fried, broiled, or grilled? Consumer Reports is good at settling disputes, so it cooked lots of burgers in three different ways to see which delivers the best burger.

To find out, CR cooked up premade 5-ounce patties three ways: in a cast-iron skillet, under a broiler, and on a gas grill. They used an 80/20 mixture of ground beef because it has enough fat to keep the patties moist even when cooked through to a safe internal temperature. They also included two meat alternative burgers, the Beyond and Impossible.

Turns out, whether it's meat-free or beef, broiling your burgers is the least messy method. But it leaves you with little control unless you want to keep opening the oven door to check. It's hard to get the timing exactly right.

On the other hand, with the skillet method, you can easily flip or rotate your burger without having to open a grill or oven door. It also delivers a burger with a crisp outer layer and a juicy and tender interior.

And finally, many of us are thinking of summer cookouts with family and friends. A gas grill delivers the best burgers when you're feeding a crowd. CR's grill required a full 10 minutes to preheat, but it was definitely worth the wait. And once the patties were on the hot grill, they cooked quickly in about 3 to 4 minutes per side. If you're making cheeseburgers, wait until the last 30 seconds to add the cheese.

CR says if firing up the grill isn't an option, don't be too bummed. The added condiments and accoutrements definitely help. Even the plant-based burgers were satisfying with the right toppings. And remember: You'll get the best from your grill if it's well maintained, so check out our website for a video on how to keep it clean and performing at its best.

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