America may be a divided nation right now, but there’s one thing that unites us all: grilling during the summer. And what food product is a more iconic grilling item than the classic burger? So when Business Insider included burgers on their third annual “Do Not Grill” article, released on the cusp of the July 4 holiday, people — already stressed out by politics and life in general in 2019 — simply, as they say, could not even.
Mind you, the original article didn’t actually say you can’t have burgers during cookouts. The three chefs they spoke to who singled out burgers as a grilling no-no didn’t cite, say, health hazards, nor were they mere killjoys. Instead, they warned against putting burgers directly on the grill, advising people to instead put them on planchas or heavy duty pans, which can be used as makeshift griddles.
“Perfect burgers are all about the crust but equally the umami rich fat and natural juices,” says Tae Strain, chef at Momofuku CCDC in Washington. “On the grill, you lose that because the fat drips down onto the coals, and you need those juices.”
Gray Brooks, chef and owner of Littler and Jack Tar & the Colonel’s Daughter in Durham, North Carolina, concurs:
“Do <em>not</em> grill burgers. Way too much of the delicious beef fat winds up in the fire. When burgers are seared on a flat top, or in a cast-iron pan, that fat renders out and becomes a cooking medium and helps form a really nice beefy crust. If you really want to cook burgers on the grill—which I totally understand, grilling is one of the coolest things to do in life—put a cast-iron griddle on the grill. You can also grill the onions, which are a great way to still get the smoky grill flavor on the burger.”
Fair enough! Sounds reasonable! Not to mention delicious!
But perhaps this was a case where people simply didn’t click through, instead going entirely off of a Business Insider tweet that made it sounds more alarmist than it is.
And so people pounced.
Still, some did not, recognizing that this was sound advice.
Other items chefs advised against placing on grills were [deep breath] peeled shrimp, lettuce, skinless chicken breasts, sausages, thick-cut bacon, top round and bottom round steaks and roasts, tortillas, pineapples, and peaches.