Preventing Burgers to “Puff Up” When Cooked

Ever hear about making a “dimple” in your burger? I heard this a few years ago, when I began to get more food savvy. So why is there a need for making an indent in the center of the burger? Let’s first take a look at how the burger cooks.

When a burger is exposed to hear above 140F, the connective tissue in the meat shrinks, and causes the burger to puff up. A medium burger is cooked between an internal temperature of 140 – 150F. Hamburger is one of those meats that I would air on the side of being done. This is because the way that hamburger is made allows for microbiota to be diversified throughout the entire burger. The surface of the meat that is exposed to microorganisms is mixed in with the sterile center of the meat that has never been exposed to microorganisms. A steak, for instance, is a cut of meat that has an exterior that has been exposed to microorganisms, with a sterile center. A steak can be cooked on the less done side, and I feel safer with this cut of meat doing so.

Alright, back to this “dimple”. By pressing a dimple in the center of the meat, it helps prevent the patty from puffing up as greatly, and allows for toppings to sit on top of the burger. The type of cooking method also affects the amount of dimpling. If a burger is cooked on a grill or broiler, the sides of the burger are exposed to heat to a greater extent. This causes the burger to shrink and puff up to a greater extent. If a burger patty is cooked on a stovetop, a dimple is not necessary, because the sides of the burger are exposed to heat at a much lower extent.

So there you have it! For your Summer cookouts, don’t forget to place a small indent in the center of your burger to prevent puffing up. It will allow you to really load on all of those delicious toppings!


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