I'm sitting at a diner and I'm curious if there is a reason as to why the fry cook cooked my burger the way he did.

The process is different from the one I'd use at home. The cook put the burger on the flat top, the covered it with a metal domed item that looks like a cloche, the cook used a squirt bottle of water to squirt water onto the flat top and covered the burger and the now-steaming water. I've seen this done to quicker melting cheese onto the tops of burgers, but it's never something I've done at home.

Why is this the process that seemingly every diner cooks with? Why is it not commonly done at home or am I wrong, and it is?

  • 1
    Many restaurant practices don't make it to the home cook... usually because professional cooks learn best practices that home cooks don't. This is hardly an outlier.
    – Catija
    Mar 13, 2015 at 17:25
  • 1
    Also, they're not using water... they're using steam.
    – Catija
    Mar 13, 2015 at 17:43
  • I'd guess it's for some combination of it's quicker, more consistent and/or leaves less of a crust. I wouldn't necessary assume it's best practice. Most diners use cheap food service patties that are half soy and other filers.
    – Ross Ridge
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:00

1 Answer 1


I often use this technique at home to cook proteins. It shortens cooking time by using steam as a heat transfer medium to cook the top of the item at the same time as the bottom.

You can also use this method on frittatas, dumplings, etc.

You can also use flavored liquids to impart flavor as well. I particularly like hard cider with chicken and pork.

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