Pan fried, broiled or grilled: What is the best way to cook a burger?

Nydia Han Image
Friday, July 16, 2021
Pan fried, broiled or grilled: What is the best way to cook a burger?
Consumer Reports experts cooked burgers three different ways to see which method delivers the best bite.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- This might cause a friendly argument at your next BBQ: What's the best way to cook a burger? Pan-fried, broiled or grilled?

We turned to Consumer Reports , whose expert cooked burgers three different ways to see which method delivered the best bite.

Consumer Reports' resident chef, Paul Hope, knows there are many ways to eat a burger.

"I love a fancy dressed up burger with all the premium toppings but I'm also not above a midnight run to the drive thru," he said.

But when it comes to cooking that burger, is there one method that's best?

Determined to find out, Hope cooked up pre-made, five ounce, 80/20 ground beef burger patties three different ways: in a cast iron skillet, under a broiler and on a gas grill.

"We used an 80/20 mixture of ground beef because it has enough fat to keep the patties moist even when you cook them through to a safe internal temperature," he said.

Hope also tried out 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.

"In the broiler, I found it hard to get the timing exactly right so one side would usually end up mushy," said Hope.

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 delivered a burger with a crisp outer layer and a juicy and tender interior.

And finally, since many of us are thinking of summer cookouts with family and friends, a gas grill delivered the best burgers when you're feeding a crowd.

"The grill required a full ten minute preheat but as I often feel when I'm grilling, it was definitely worth the wait," said Hope.

And once on the hot grill, the patties cooked quickly in about three to four minutes per side.

A pro tip from Hope if you're making cheeseburgers - wait until the last 30 seconds to top the patties.

CR said 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 how to keep your grill clean and performing at its best.


Consumer Reports: How to clean and maintain your gas grill