I'm new to cooking and I saw that there is several ways to fry/cook a burger. Saw it with a stone grill, pan, iron griddle; Would like to hear other types also.

But what is the difference in the flavor? What is the influence in the preparation, all I can see is the time that it takes to get it done. Could I get a more juicy or rare burger choosing one over another?

1 Answer 1


There are many styles of burger, so there is no single answer. Steamed sliders are going to have different constraints than a smashed burger compared to a pub style burger.

For burgers that are griddled (for the purposes of this post, cooked on a hot, flat surface), the main issue is how much heat can get into the burger, and how fast; secondarily, there are issues of sticking and general maintainability.

Some hamburger cooking methods rely on sustainable, very high heat to sear the outside of the burger, and give a good crust, even while maintaining a less cooked intererior. This is dependent mostly on the total thermal mass of the pan.

  • Stone - Lots of mass, but low thermal mass. Doesn't transmit heat very fast. Also requires considerable care and maintenance to prevent sticking.

  • Pan - There are so many types, it is hard to give a single characterization. Thicker, heavier metal tends to be better. See Navigating the different types of cookware - new kitchen advice for some general advice.

  • Cast Iron - Generally has high weight, and very good thermal conductivity (compared to any non-metal), so often ideal for high temperature searing of hamburgers. Requires seasoning and maintenance.

  • Charcoal (or propane) grill -- can develop extremely hot radiant heat, which is ideal for some forms of burger cookery, but cannot be done inside.

However, there are so many different types of tools and styles of burger, the quality of outcome is going to depend on your skill, what you are trying to achieve, and how you use the equipment you have as much as the specific pan that you use.

Similarly, the flavor is going to depend, not only on how you cook (which can develop the seared, brown, meaty flavors), but how you season the meat, and the quality of meat you start with. This is again as important as the particularly pan that you might use.

  • Charcoal can be done inside. While it produces nearly twice the CO2 of a LP (propane) burner, this is still a manageable quantity for inside. The normal process is to start the charcoal outside, as starting is a smokey process, and starter fluids can be violent, and then the coals are brought inside and the fun begins. e.g. My favourtie Shanghai HotPot Cafe has about 60 tables all with charcoal burners
    – TFD
    May 12, 2014 at 22:49
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    I don't know about where you live, but it is practically impossible for a home cook to have a charcoal fire inside without violating many building and fire codes. Even restaurants have to demonstrate that their ventilation and fire safety are specifically up to the task.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 12, 2014 at 22:53
  • If it's your house, you can do what you like (in a free country). Open fires are very common here, but you don't hear houses burning down from them, it always electricity faults or gas leaks. I am sure a restaurant has to have adequate ventilation for charcoal burners, even in China, otherwise they would have no customers
    – TFD
    May 12, 2014 at 23:12
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    Even in a free country, but that doesn't mean you won't be convicted for a fire.... and it doesn't mean it is not a stupid behavior.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    May 12, 2014 at 23:18
  • I've used my cast-iron pan on my (outdoor) charcoal grill before. That way you get both the nice even sear of the iron-pan, plus the smokiness of the charcoal. Preheating the pan on your stove helps, and note that you'll need to re-season the bottom more often, but other than that it's a solid technique.
    – john3103
    Jul 17, 2014 at 18:55

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