After making these cast iron skillet cheeseburgers, you’ll never want to make them on the grill again! They’re tender, flavorful and never dry!
Yesterday, I shared with you my new BFF in the condiment department – classic burger sauce – and now I’m going to share with you the amazing cheeseburgers that were slathered in it! Seriously, these are going to amaze you!
At our house, burgers are typically reserved for warm weather and grilling; it’s pretty much the only time that we make them. A couple of weeks ago, my husband was reading the Wall Street Journal and handed me the lifestyle section, which had a massive feature article about how burgers should be cooked in a cast iron skillet for maximum flavor, NOT the grill. I was intrigued, and since burgers and fries have been one of my only cravings during this pregnancy, no one needed to twist my arm to put it to the test.
I had only eaten skillet burgers once before – my mother-in-law made bacon cheeseburgers in a skillet and they were amazing. She actually fried the bacon first, then cooked the burgers in the bacon grease, mmmm! At the time, it never occurred to me to try it that way, and it was so long ago, I forgot about it, and we continued to just grill our burgers.
The Wall Street Journal article didn’t include a recipe, so I started poking around my favorite place for go-to recipes like that – Cook’s Illustrated. They had a recipe for old-fashioned burgers that were, in fact, cooked in a skillet. DONE. Off to the store I went for the meat and I cooked up the burgers for our parents and my sister to watch the hockey game last weekend. They were a massive hit, to say the least.
There are a couple keys to making the burgers amazing:
The combination of sirloin and short ribs provides the perfect combination of fat and tenderness. While the recipe calls for pulsing the meat in a food processor at home, if you have a great meat department or butcher, they can do a coarse grind for you, which will save you time and mess!
The shaping method – by not packing the patties tight, you keep the burgers from drying out and becoming tough.
I’m totally sold on making burgers in the cast iron skillet from now on… while you can’t make as many at one time if you’re feeding a crowd, they take such little time to cook that it’s really not a hassle at all. I doubled the recipe below and had them all made in about 10 minutes. I covered the first batch loosely in foil, and no one got a cold burger!
And because burgers weren’t meant to go it alone, here are some ideas on what to serve with them:
Place beef chunks on baking sheet in single layer, leaving ½-inch of space around each chunk. Freeze meat until very firm and starting to harden around edges but still pliable, 15 to 25 minutes.
Place half of meat in food processor and pulse until meat is coarsely ground, 10 to 15 one-second pulses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to baking sheet, overturning bowl and without directly touching meat. Repeat grinding with remaining meat. Spread meat over sheet and discard any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.
Gently separate ground meat into 4 equal mounds. Without picking meat up, with your fingers gently shape each mound into loose patty 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, leaving edges and surface ragged. Season top of each patty with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.
Place large cast iron skillet over high heat; add butter and heat until foaming. Transfer burgers to skillet and cook without moving for 3 minutes. Using spatula, flip burgers over and cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with slice of cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer. Remove burgers from the skillet and serve immediately on soft hamburger buns and toppings and condiments of choice.
Note #1: If you go to a butcher or even have a great meat department at your local grocery store, you can ask them to coarsely grind the meat for you and skip steps #1 and #2. A great time saver!Note #2: You can shape the patties ahead of time and freeze them, separated by squares of parchment paper and wrapped in plastic wrap, then placed in a freezer ziploc bag, for up to 2 weeks. Separate the burgers and thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.Note #3: If you don't have a cast iron skillet, use a heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet.Note #4: If you plan to make bacon cheeseburgers, fry the bacon in the skillet first, then cook the burgers in the bacon grease instead of the butter. My mother-in-law has done this before and it's DELICIOUS.Nutritional values are based on one burger patty with cheese