Alton Brown's Trick For The Best Cheeseburgers Is Unsurprisingly Surprising

Hint: you’re going to need an oil thermometer.

Alton Brown
Photo: Araya Doheny/Getty Images

Alton Brown has made a career out of challenging our culinary assumptions. From adding salt to coffee and mayonnaise to scrambled eggs, his eyebrow-raising tricks have yet to lead us astray in the kitchen.

Yet the first time we came across Brown's secret to delicious cheeseburgers we found ourselves questioning his sanity once again. And, for the millionth time, the food science wiz proved us wrong.

According to Brown, the best way to cook a burger isn't by throwing patties on the grill, but by frying them in oil.

Gasp.

We know, you're thinking that sounds like a recipe for a big greasy mess. But there is a method to his madness. Brown claims this technique will actually result in "the most un-greasy burger you've ever enjoyed." That likely won't surprise the people of Memphis, Tennessee, where deep-fried burgers are a regional specialty.

The television star, who revisited his original fried burger recipe in episode five of season one of Good Eats: Reloaded, explains the science behind this seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon.

"When you fry, heat evenly surrounds the entire patty, keeping those crust-enhancing, protein-saturated fats (those tasty burger juices) inside the meat, where they belong," he says in the updated preparation from 2018. "As long as water vapor is escaping, oil can't penetrate the patty, so you don't have to worry about fat logging your burger. Just trust me."

The key to pulling it off is keeping the oil temperature between 300- and 325-degrees Fahrenheit, so make sure you have an oil thermometer.

And boy is it worth it.

"If I found out the world was about to end, I'd calmly walk into the kitchen and make this cheeseburger," Brown says.

Consider us sold.

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