Pan-fried hamburgers, what temperature?
I am trying to cook hamburgers in a 12" pan on my stovetop. I am attempting to replicate some hamburgers I have had at a "local" place around here (read: 1.5 hours away), where the burgers are not well-formed patties but kind've jagged patties that get nice and crisp and also are relatively thin and spread out, cooked by the burgermeister on a large commercial griddle.
My question is, what temperature should I use for with this type of burger? My thought is that I will roll out 1/3 lb balls of 80/20, flatten out on the pan with a spatula, roughen up a little, then let cook until done. At some point, I'll add some cheese (monterey jack or muenster, no comments on the cheese!).
What I'd like is a bit of meaty flavor, greasy of course, but also crunchy to a degree (but not a lot). Should I pre-oil my pan?
Jared, you owe me a new keyboard. "Bürgermeister" is the German word for "mayor". I was briefly exposed to the mental image of some conservative Bavarian politician in a three piece wool suit flipping patties and telling pleasant lies to the customers in broken English.
To me, it doesn't matter (well, maybe I'll have to explain to the neighbour why she was woken by a seemingly unprovoked laugh burst from my flat). To a stiff CSU politician, it is a grave insult.
On a more burgery note, the temperature is not the only factor to consider when pursuing a specific texture. Read here for another important factor: http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2011/04/the-burger-lab-whats-the-best-way-to-grind-beef.html
The way to make a proper griddled hamburger:
Start with beef that is between 70/30 and 80/20. You need to use a fatty beef because you are going to be doing a few things that will restrict the amount of juice in the burger and the extra fat will mitigate that.
Season your beef and roll into balls less than 1/4 of a pound. Let the size of your patties be determined by the size of your pan, you need them small enough that once you smash you won't be touching the sides of the pan.
You then want to preheat your pan. You want your pan to be as hot as possible. A commercial griddle can range in heat between 375 F and 650 F, so the temp here can vary quite a bit between places, I find hotter aids crust formation and allows the interior stay closer to medium.
Do not use oil. I can't stress that enough. Your beef will put out plenty and oil will fry the burger instead of allowing a seared crust to develop.
Place your balls of meat on the pan and smash them flat with a spatula. You might need a second spatula to remove the patty from the smashing one, as you lack the space space to heat it like you would on a griddle to prevent sticking. Allow it to cook about two to three minutes, then flip and top with cheese, if desired. Two more minutes and remove.
As an added bonus, you can toast/fry some bread in the beef juices to create a patty melt style burger that will be oozing beefy goodness. You can drop the bread in right after the flip and it will be perfect by the time the patty is done.