When I started grilling hamburgers I ran into the problem that most of the time they plumbed up in the middle and did not stay nice, flat, and evenly thick.
It did not make them taste bad, but keeping all the fixings such as tomato and sliced onion on it was not easy. After the first bite, all of them slid off the burger.
Leaving me with a mess on my plate. (Or on my shirt)
Grilling a burger nice and flat and not turning it into a meatball is not hard and there are a few ways you can do that.
The Wrong Way To Keep A Burger Flat
I have seen people push their burgers down on an outdoor grill or even in a skillet with a spatula to make them flat.
This works fine, but by doing this you also press all the juices out of the meat and you end up with a dried-out burger.
“In my restaurant years, I forbade my grill cooks to use this method and never had a complaint about dry burgers.”
The Indent Method
This method to keep a hamburger flat works very well when done right. Here is how this is done.
Before placing your hamburger on the hot grill you make an indent in the middle. The thought behind this is that the middle heats up a little faster and since there is less meat it will not swell up.
There are tons of discussions going on if you should place the burger on the grill with the indention down or up. I have tried both and personally found no difference.
The Ice Cube Method
With the ice cube method to keep your hamburger flat, all you do is make a small indent in the burger and place an ice cube in that indent.
The theory behind this one is that the ice cub will keep the center of the burger cooler and will slowly melt. This prevents the burger from plumbing up.
I have tried this also and it works.
The Ice Cub Flavor Bomb Method
This ice cub flavor method is the one I prefer in most cases. However, it depends on who I am cooking for.
I love my hamburgers to be seasoned before cooking. I know that others have a different opinion and say it will ruin the flavor and never to season a burger but this is my way of cooking burgers.
How Does The Flavor Bomb Method Work?
Basically, it works the same as the ice cub method with one big difference.
I freeze the ice cubes with seasoning in them.
My personal choice is to make a combination of the following ingredients.
- Worcestershire sauce
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Chili powder (Optional)
I usually have a few of these flavor-bomb ice cubes in the freezer.
The slowly melting ice cube with all the seasoning in them will penetrate the burger while it is cooking, giving, in my opinion, a few benefits.
- Not plumbing up the burger
- They are adding a ton of your personal flavors.
You have to work a little faster the normal to get this done in the summer months. Ice cubes melt fast and it seems to me that the seasoning even makes them melt faster.
How To Keep Hamburgers Flat – My Opinion.
If you don’t mind having a nice juicy plumb burger ignore this article and keep doing it the way you have been.
To be honest I do not always use my flavor ice cub bomb method all the time and just make an indent in the middle.
However, when I have the time I prefer this method since it adds much more flavor to the burger.
Just make sure that you add flavors that will combine well with the condiments you are using.
For ideas, you can have a look at the seasoning I use in my grill recipes.
Have fun using this flavor bomb ice cube method to keep your hamburgers flat and let me know the results.
Eddie van Aken
Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he is able to find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews he is doing. You can read more on the about page for Eddie van Aken