How to Cook a Medium Burger

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A hamburger with tomato and lettuce.
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Ground beef must be cooked carefully to avoid food-borne illnesses. Ground beef can turn brown before it reaches a safe temperature, and it can also stay pink until it is not only safe to eat, but starting to dry out. It's best to avoid rare or medium-rare hamburgers unless you grind the meat yourself, and, unless you're a fan of dry burgers, well-done is too done. Medium-cooked burgers retain flavor and juiciness without sacrificing safety. To ensure optimal safety, medium burgers should be cooked to a specific internal temperature, not simply until the meat looks done.

Step 1

Spray your grill, frying pan or broiler pan with a generous amount of nonstick cooking spray. This is especially important when you are cooking the meat on a grill to keep the burger from sticking or breaking apart and falling through the grill's rack.

Step 2

Heat the grill or frying pan to medium, or turn the broiler on.

Step 3

Place the burger onto the cooking surface.

Step 4

Cook the burger for about six minutes per half-inch of thickness. Do not press down on the burger with your spatula while it's cooking as this causes the juices to run out.

Step 5

Flip the burger carefully and cook it for another six minutes for every half-inch of thickness or until your instant-read thermometer reads 160 degrees Fahrenheit when inserted into the meat.

Things You'll Need

  • Nonstick cooking spray

  • Pancake turner

  • Instant-read thermometer

Tip

Stack very thin burgers and insert the instant-read thermometer through the top of the stack to receive an internal temperature reading.

Warning

Never judge doneness by the color of the hamburger meat.

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