Hamburgers are one of the nation’s favorite foods in the summer, the BBQs are rolled out to great fanfare, and the burgers begin to sizzle as the weather does the same.
That’s great, but what about all those burgers that are cooked indoors, all that grease splatter can be a pain to clean up afterward.
Well, don’t worry, in this article, I will tell you just how to cook that perfect burger in the oven but still leave the oven spotless, and the burger cooked just as you like it!
So, if you want to keep your oven looking like new and still keep the family happy on days when the outside grill just isn’t an option, then you have come to the right place.
I have put together a handy guide full of tips and techniques that will have you serving perfectly cooked, mouthwatering burgers.
Choosing The Right Burger To Cook In An Oven
While the techniques I will show you work equally well with all burgers, the fat content should be considered when selecting your burger.
Burgers need fat; without it, a burger just isn’t a burger. Much of the flavor of the burger comes from the fact that it cooks in its own fat.
However, too much fat produces more grease, which in turn increases splatter. When purchasing your burger, check the label to find out the fat percentage of the burgers. There is a compromise to be made here.
Too lean, and the burger will be dry and flavorless, too fatty, and the burger will be swimming in its own grease.
I like to choose a burger (or ground meat to make your own) with a fat content between 15 and 20%.
A quick tip: If you want to add some fat to ground meat that’s too lean, then some finely diced bacon mixed in with the meat works wonderfully well.
If you are making your own burgers, another tip is to handle the meat minimally, and this helps to ensure you don’t end up with tough burgers.
Cooking The Burger
Now we get to the crux of the matter, just how do you cook a perfect burger in the oven without all the mess usually associated with the process? In this section, I will cover some methods that will achieve just that!
Method 1 – Use a Splatter Screen
Whilst these are usually associated with stovetop cooking, many splatter guards work well in the oven. Splatter guards are designed to capture grease splatters while at the same time letting the steam escape so your burgers don’t become soggy.
But before you rush out and try this method, there are a couple of points that need consideration.
Is the splatter screen safe for the oven? Many splatter screens have plastic fittings or handles, not a great idea for the heat of an oven.
There are some models of splatter screens that are designed specifically for oven use, like this Silicone Model from Beckon Ware. The SKEMIX is a round splatter screen that is also made for a heat-resistant silicone material that can withstand temperatures of up to 445 degrees Fahrenheit.
Does it fit in the oven? The problem with many stovetop splatter screens is that the handle doesn’t fold. These models will struggle to fit into a domestic oven.
Pizza trays are another great option for using as a splatter screen. They are designed specifically for dealing with high temperatures and will fit in all ovens, check out this example from Beasea.
Other items you will require to cook mess-free burgers in the oven using this method include:
- A deep baking pan
- A wire baking rack
The method is to line the baking pan with the foil (cutting out even more mess), place the baking tray into the pan, and arrange the burgers on top of the wire mesh. To further save cleaning, use a non-stick baking tray and give it a quick wipe with some cooking oil before placing the burgers.
Once done, cover with the splatter screen, and they are ready to pop in the oven.
The wire baking tray is great for letting the grease drip from the burger and keeps it away from the meat, making for a healthier meal.
The oven should be preheated to 425° F (220° C), and depending on the thickness of the burger, and the oven will usually cook in about 5 – 15 minutes.
For a cheeseburger, simply turn the burger, place the cheese on the top and return to the oven for a further 5 – 10 minutes.
Method 2 – Mess-free burgers without a splatter screen
If you haven’t got a splatter screen handy, don’t worry. In this section, I will let you know how to cook a fantastic burger without having to use a splatter screen.
Using this method, simply follow the instructions as listed for the splatter screen method, and instead of placing a splatter screen on top, simply stretch some foil over the top of the baking tray and perforate with a sharp object.
You don’t want the perforations too large, and the more, the merrier.
With this method, it is best to remove the foil completely for the last five minutes or when melting the cheese topping, as this ensures a crispier burger.
Tips For Making A Great Burger
Now that you know how to cook a perfect burger in the oven, here are a few tips to help create that perfect homemade burger.
- Add Iced Water – Blend the burger meat with one teaspoon of iced water for every 6oz of beef. The water trapped in the beef turns to steam during the cooking process and cooks the beef faster, and also helps ensure a juicier burger.
- Indent the burgers with your thumb – Use your thumb to make a slight indent in the center of the burger before cooking. This ensures the burger doesn’t shrink too much in cooking and also stops it bulging in the middle.
- Let the burger rest after cooking – I know this can be tricky, we all want to get munching as soon as they come out of the oven. But be patient, resting the burger lets it continue cooking on the inside and lets the juices distribute evenly within the patty resulting in a juicier burger.
And there you have it, a guide to preparing the perfect oven-baked mess-free burger.
Of course, burgers don’t need to be cooked in the oven, but they can still be splatter-free, check out our other article that details how to cook a burger indoors with no grease splatter.