Cook A Perfect Hamburger Or Hot Dog With These Expert Tips

With the weather heating up, it's prime time for making hamburgers and hot dogs, whether you're throwing them on the barbeque or cooking indoors. Take these classic foods to the next level with our top 10 burger and hot dog tips.

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#10 Marinate hot dogs for a flavour boost

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

You already probably marinate chicken and perhaps steaks for extra flavour, but hot dogs? Yup. Cut cross-hatch patterns in the hot dog so a marinade consisting of tomato sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and some spices can seep in.

#9 Be gentle when forming burger patties

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

Pack mince like you're cradling a newborn baby and you'll get a better crust when you cook the burger, because the surface won't be completely smooth.

#8 Steam buns while boiling hot dogs

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

Kill two birds with one stone: while your hot dogs are boiling on the stove, use the steam to warm up the buns in a strainer or straining pot lid on top of the pot.

#7 Get the perfect burger shape with a shallow indentation

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

If you're a stickler for the perfect burger form and want to avoid the common but sad bulging-in-the-middle shape, make a shallow thumb imprint in your burger patty before cooking. It produces a more evenly cooked burger compared to other burger-shaping methods (deeper indentation, no indentation, or one with little slits). Or for a very different kind of burger, turn burger patties into edible bowls so you can skip the bun.

#6 Smash burgers properly

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

Maybe you're a fan of the smashed burger rather than a fuller patty — lots of delicious browning! In that case, know how to smash your burger for maximum flavour and juiciness: Smash just once within the first 30 seconds, Serious Eats' Food Lab informs us.

#5 Salt burger patties right before cooking for the perfect texture

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

Just as you don't want to pack the beef mince too much, you shouldn't put salt in too early, because it will make the patty tougher. Wait to salt the patty until right before it hits the pan or barbeque and you'll be rewarded with juicier burgers.

#4 Flip burgers as often as you'd like

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

As with steaks, burger flipping strategies can be somewhat controversial. Flip just once? Every couple of seconds? Well, data suggests that if you flip the burger multiple times, it will cook more evenly and much faster.

#3 Use water to keep burgers moist

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

One of the secrets of cooking a perfect burger is actually water. Add water to the pan in the barbeque and the steam will cook the sides of the burger perfectly. And ice water added to the burger could keep the burgers juicy and seasoned evenly.

#2 Spiral cut hot dogs before grilling

Top 10 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Burgers and Hot Dogs

Regular hot dogs are great at the barbeque, but if you want to take it up a notch, make a spiral cut into the sausage. You'll get more surface area to capture that great grilled flavour and toppings.

#1 Grind your own burger meat

With nothing but a food processor and a freezer, you can grind your own burger meat for healthier, safer, tastier and better quality burgers. When it comes to making the best burgers and hot dogs, it's all about controlling the fine details.

Bonus: Turn burger patties into edible bowls, weave your bacon burger topping and cook hot dogs in a Pringles can.


    One tip for the chronically lazy who can't be bothered to do anything on this list.

    Cooking frankfurts or pop-dogs, bring the water to the boil, turn off and put the weenies in and put the lid on the pot and the weenies don't burst.

      This indeed. I do this now, after being taught a while back by a relative. Works so much better!

    Especially with thick patties, use a meat thermometer to get burgers that are perfectly cooked in the middle. The amount of browning/char on the outside can be misleading.

    This also allows tailoring burgers to your rare/done preferences ... just like steak.

    you can nuke hot dogs in the microwave. personally i hate the skin and peeling them can be a pain. personally i find pulling them from the freezer, chucking one in a plastic freezer bag, wrapping it tight and nuking it for 90 seconds or so will stop it bursting but also remove the skin

      That doesn't sound like a hot dog. Are you talking about those bright red things from the deli?

    Standard beef mince is fine for burgers (they should be 10% fat for the flavour), but to stop them crumbling and drying out when you cook them you need to "work" the meat (sounds rude). Let the mince come to room temperature in a large bowl, then knead it with a big wooden spoon until it's more like a smooth paste. Add a raw egg and whatever seasonings you go for, then form your patties and cook. The proteins in the meat hold together much better when they've been worked. Juicier burgers that hold together and are pleasing to the bite.

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