Your Personal Meal Planning Assistant
October 06, 2015 / Nicole Villeneuve

3 Tips for Better Burgers from The Food Lab's Kenji López-Alt


Kenji López-Alt's Serious Eats column, The Food Lab, has given us dozens of handy tricks to improve mealtime staples. He's searched for the best way to grill shrimp, the quickest path to an enchilada, and the most flavorful carne asada.

To celebrate his new book, we're sharing our favorite 3 Food Lab tips for better burgers, to boost your next backyard BBQ:

  1. Keep it cold. Storing your meat in the fridge just before you plan to cook keeps the fat in the burger, not on your hands.

  2. Shape first, salt later. Adding salt directly to your patty mixture before you shape it, López-Alt says, dissolves the proteins in the meat and draws out moisture, creating a denser, tougher burger. Generously seasoning the patties just before cooking will leave you with a tastier result.

  3. Thermometer? I barely even know her.  López-Alt recommends a meat grinder for hard-core burger enthusiasts, but the real equipment you want to have on hand a simple meat thermometer. This will help you get your burgers to your desired doneness every time (without breaking up a precious patty).

Use these guidelines as cooking times for your burgers:
120°F - rare
130°F - medium-rare
140°F - medium
150°F - medium-well
160°F - well-done

Ready for burger night? Check out some of our favorite recipes on PlateJoy:

Nicole Villeneuve

Nicole Villeneuve is a certified Diabetes Prevention Lifestyle Coach. A graduate of Yale University, she previously worked in book publishing, with a focus on cookbooks and health, and ran the food blog Paper and Salt. Her writing has been featured in Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and The Daily Beast. Nicole lives in San Francisco and loves cooking, reading, exploring new restaurants, and running by the ocean. You can (very occasionally) find her on Twitter.

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