I am not a big fan of the grill or cooking outside. I much prefer to cook hamburgers on the stove in the comfort of my cozy kitchen.
Call me crazy, but I just don’t see the intrigue of cooking outside over an open flame. (Please, don’t tell Bobby Flay.) It’s less bother, less hot, and much less buggy to cook inside. It is probably healthier too. Many studies show that grilled meat can be particularly unhealthy.
So, how do you cook a hamburger on the stove? It’s really very easy. All you need is a large frying pan or cast iron grill pan and some hamburger meat. I like to make 1-inch hamburgers using about 5 to 6 ounces of ground chuck that is about 80 to 85% lean. This makes a hamburger that is juicy but not too greasy. Of course you can make any size hamburgers you want from whatever grade of beef you prefer.
To make hamburger patties, season your hamburger meat with salt and pepper, and then gently and lightly shape each portion of hamburger meat into a round patty that is 3/4 to 1-inch thick and a bit larger in diameter than you desire because the meat will shrink as it cooks. To prevent the cooked hamburger from having a rounded bump in the center, press a 1/4-inch indentation in the center of your hamburger. (A great tip I learned from one of my favorite cookbooks)
When you are ready to cook your hamburgers rub a little oil in your pan and place the pan on the stove over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, add your hamburger patties (indentation side up), being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for about 4 minutes, flip the burgers with a sturdy spatula, and continue to cook until your desired doneness is achieved.
The total time needed to cook your hamburgers will depend on a number of things including the size and thickness of your hamburgers and how hot your stove/pan is. I find that 1-inch thick hamburgers take about 8 to 12 minutes to be done to our liking.
There are several ways you can check your hamburger for doneness. Experienced cooks can press on the meat with their finger and tell by its firmness how done it is. However, this takes some practice. You also can make a little cut with the pointy end of a sharp knife and take a peak. Or you can buy a Digital Instant Read Thermometer to insert into the center of your meat to takes it’s temperature, which is what most cooking experts suggest.