Alton Brown is famous for relying on some quirky kitchen techniques, but his trick for whipping up delicious burgers might be his zaniest advice ever. Instead of throwing the patties on a grill — which is great in summer but less viable in the cooler fall and winter months — Brown recommends frying them in oil.
We know how odd that sounds, but we’ve been proven wrong about strange things like tossing pasta into cold water before it boils or sprinkling salt in our daily coffee brew. And, just like those unorthodox tricks, there is a method behind what at first seems to be overindulgent burger madness.
Despite submerging the meat in hot oil, Brown claims this will actually result in “the most un-greasy burger you’ve ever enjoyed.” If your brain feels understandably baffled by that paradox, he explains that “as long as water vapor is escaping,” which happens every time you fry something, “oil can’t penetrate the patty.” Another benefit of this technique: It keeps the “burger juices” inside the patty while creating a delightful crispiness on the outside. Plus, as earlier mentioned, you don’t have to worry about the end of grilling season and colder weather putting a damper on your burger cravings.
Brown says the key is to keep the oil temperature between 300- and 325-degrees Fahrenheit. A quality fry thermometer, like the Polder Thermometer with Pot Clip (Buy on Amazon, $21.89), will help you keep an eye on the heat level. His recipe calls for using a Dutch oven and two quarts of peanut oil to get the job done.
After forming patties with chuck and sirloin (six ounces each, separated into four patties) and seasoning with paprika and garlic powder, Brown lets the meat chill in the fridge until the oil heats to 320 degrees. Then, using a spider strainer, he dunks up to three patties in the oil at a time and lets them cook for exactly one minute — “no more, no less.” After taking them out, he puts the burgers on paper towels to drain a bit before adding them to buns prepared with his favorite fixings.
“If I found out the world was about to end, I’d calmly walk into the kitchen and make this cheeseburger,” Brown says. Give it a try the next time you’re in the mood for a burger and we’re sure you’ll feel the same.
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