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So when I cook the burger patties on a frying pan (I lack fancier methods of cooking them), the bottom tends to get burnt pretty black. Yet when I bite into the burger, you can see that it's only a thin layer of burntness outside, but the inside was medium-rare.

Is there a way to prevent them from being burnt too dark? I'm not sure if eating too much burnt stuff is good for the body. Perhaps it's a different oil that I must use? (I'm using canola oil atm).

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See also cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/15453/…, maybe even a dupe? –  rumtscho Apr 18 '12 at 14:09

3 Answers 3

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You shouldn't need any oil when frying a hamburger, but you definitely need to lower the heat. I fry my hamburgers on Medium-Heat in a stainless skillet. Depending on the size of the patty*, I put the patty into a heated up pan and flip after about 6 minutes, then flip again after another 6 minutes, then again after 2 and then it should be done 2 minutes later. This will make a medium-well burger with a little exterior char, but still juicy and tasty.

*I usually do about a 1/3rd pound patty and I let the meat marinate in a generous amount of Worcestershire sauce before hand.

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I would try frying at a lower temperature. This will slow the burning of the exterior, but you'll need to re-assess how long to fry them to achieve medium-rare doneness.

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Also, is the meat really cold out of the fridge? You may want to leave the meat out 10 to 15 mins to warm up a bit. Really cold meat will burn or toughen in a skillet.

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"Really cold meat will burn"? Very strange thing to say. First, I can't imagine a mechanism for it to happen, second, I have cooked cold meat without problems. Do you have any sources? –  rumtscho Apr 27 '12 at 18:16
    
My own experience & Food Channel. Haven't you ever had a steak that was burnt on the outside and still raw on the inside? I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong, I'd over brown or burn it, but not caramelize, this includes chicken. The surface would be stringy, and tough. Then years ago I saw Sarah Moulton, after she said it, it was like the light bulb went off over my head. I never had a problem since. If I don't have time to take the chill off, I pop it in the micro for 10 to 30 secs. That short of time does not change the texture. BTW, I love SM. She has the greatest tips. –  Onepotmeals Apr 27 '12 at 20:45
    
Now I see what you mean. What is describe is heating the meat too quickly. And yes, if your plate is already too hot, the results will be more pronounced with a colder meat. But I don't get this problem, probably because I don't use a very hot pan for meat. –  rumtscho Apr 27 '12 at 21:24

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