Expert Advice For Cooking The Best Burger Patty (Without Overdoing It)

Cooking the perfect homemade burger is a balancing act. According to Sherry E. Cardoso, culinary director at Patti Ann's in Brooklyn, New York, the key to getting a delicious burger is cooking it at a "really high temperature." However, she counterbalances that point by stating that overcooking a burger is the biggest mistake people make. According to Cardoso, it doesn't matter how amazing your toppings are because "nothing will save an overcooked, dry patty."

We all have preferences for how we like our burgers. According to YouGov, 40% of Americans want their patties well done. There's even a minority (2%) of folks who like their burgers burnt, a preference likely to make many chefs weep.

Despite what the medium-rare crowd may tell you, a well-done burger can be nice and juicy — if done right. Infusing the meat with lots of moisture, either by adding water or using Gordon Ramsay's better burger trick of brushing butter over the patties, is a great way to keep your burgers from going from succulent to scorched.

Temperature and time are the keys to a great burger

How long your burger takes to cook will depend on the patty size, which cooking method you use, and how you like it in terms of doneness. Whether you prefer it pink in the middle or cooked through, be sure to follow Sherry E. Cardoso's advice on high temperatures and get your grill or pan nice and hot before you add your patty.

For that well-done finish so loved by Americans, you should only need about five minutes for each side on a grill or nine minutes in a pan. If you have a meat thermometer handy, check for a temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Coincidentally, that's also the temperature recommended by the CDC to effectively kill E. coli.

The cooking time is shorter and the required temperature is lower for pinker interiors. Medium burgers need four minutes on the grill and five in the pan, with an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. For medium-rare, take that down to three minutes on the grill and four minutes in the pan at 135 degrees Fahrenheit.