Hamburgers are a classic meal for any barbecue, event, or even for lunch. You can even throw an egg on a hamburger and eat it for breakfast! Hamburgers are a go-to for many because they are easy to make and just as delicious.
While most people like to make their burgers on a grill, you can also broil them as an alternative. But without a broiler pan, you might have a harder time doing so. Before you get discouraged, however, rest assured that even without a broiler pan, you can still make your burgers.
Cooking Without a Broiler Pan
When you don’t have a grill, broiling your burgers is a great way to cook meat faster. There are a few differences between broiling and grilling but at the end of the day, both methods of cooking require applying a direct heat source to the food.
With grilling, the heat source comes from below, while when you are broiling, the heat source comes from above. Broiling is great because it keeps your hamburgers from getting dry, is healthy, and cooks your food fast when you’re in a hurry.
Without a broiler pan, things could get a little bit more complicated, but not impossible.
If you don’t have a broiler pan, you have a few options and chances are you already have most of these things lying around. Using a baking tray, line it with aluminum foil and then place an oven grate on top of it.
Your hamburgers will then go on top of the oven grate. If you don’t want to deal with the mess, you can always line the grate with foil as well, so long as you leave the slits open for the heat to escape out of.
Make sure that just before you put your burgers on, you spray the foil with oil so that your burgers don’t stick. Keep them spaced out apart enough so that the meat doesn’t mush together during the cooking process.
Be sure to keep an eye on your burgers so that they don’t overcook. Your burgers should be cooked for about three minutes per side, depending on how you like them cooked.
Tips to Using a Broiler
If you don’t want to go through the trouble of having to make your own broiler pan, you can always use a cookie sheet and put your food on top of it, then place it up on the highest oven grate you have. Be sure that your oven is set to 500 degrees to minimize the cooking time.
Keep in mind, however, that when using a smaller pan, you will want to leave some distance between the food and the direct heat as you don’t want to burn your food. However, if you are using a bigger pan, you can place your food closer to the heat.
Using your broiler also requires that you preheat it for a few minutes before you start to cook. This is to make sure that it is warm enough to cook your food all the way through. Be sure that you are distributing the food you are cooking evenly so that it doesn’t stick together or char while you are cooking it.
As mentioned earlier, you also want to make sure that you are keeping an eye on your oven as your food cooks pretty quickly when it’s in the broiler. In fact, most food is done in under 10 minutes when using the broiler.
Another helpful tip is to use aluminum foil any time you are using the broiler. This is to prevent food from sticking to the pan, which is then a pain to have to clean off.
When using the broiler, many people make the mistake of cooking meat that is way too thick. Doing this will result in undercooked food. If you are cooking meat in your broiler oven, be sure to slice it as thin as you can and use lean and tender meats as often as you can.
Keep in mind that your broiler is used to cook food on the outside as quickly as possible. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely on it to cook your entire meal for you. If you are cooking vegetables and meat together for example, you don’t want to place them on the same baking sheet to broil. Instead, cook your vegetables separately.
Another important aspect of using your broiler oven is to leave the oven door partially open. This may sound counterintuitive, but doing this keeps your oven from overheating. If your broiler overheats it will simply shut down, which means you can say goodbye to whatever meal you were cooking!
Simply put, a broiler is ideal for finishing off foods. This can be anything from a casserole to a crème brulee. However, you can use it to cook things from the beginning to the end. You just need to make sure that you are making the necessary adjustments depending on what you are cooking.
When it comes to broiling meats, be sure to use thin slices, no more than one and a half inches thick. If you are cooking a steak for example, be sure to slice it thin and then rub it with seasoning and oil or melted butter before placing it in the broiler for about five minutes on one side.
When the time is up, flip it. You can continue to do this until you reach the desired temperature of your steak.
To check whether or not your steak is done, you can use a thermometer, or you can also use what is known as the touch test. Press your finger down into the steak, and then watch it spring back up.
If you feel like the steak still feels a little bit too tender, you can always leave it in the broiler for a little bit longer. Again, this all depends on how you like your meat cooked.
When broiling fish or any kind of seafood, you need to be a little bit more careful as this type of food is more sensitive to the broiler and can dry out easily. When cooking fish in the broiler, be sure to season it and then brush it with olive oil before placing it into the broiler. You want to then cook it for about five minutes per half inch.
If you are dealing with a particularly thick cut of fish, you may need to flip it. Otherwise, your fish fillet should cook all the way through without having to flip it at all.
Baking Your Hamburgers
If you don’t want to grill your burgers and don’t want to bother making a makeshift broiler pan, you can always bake them instead.
Yes, baking your burgers might sound controversial. However, it’s an easy and simple way to cook your burgers when you don’t want to use a grill and don’t have a broiler pan. They end up tasting just as delicious!
To do this, you want to first preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Again, you can use the cookie sheet and oven grate method to get your burgers to cook evenly. If not, you can always follow the recipe below and use a baking dish instead.
Now, you want to start making your patties. You can use your favorite recipe, or you can follow this one. You will need an onion, bread crumbs, milk, salt and pepper, water, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and of course your ground beef.
Using a small bowl, you are going to start by combining your onions, bread crumbs, milk, salt and pepper, and your beef. Once everything is mixed in together, you will then start to form your patties, which will then go into a baking dish.
Before you put your patties into the baking dish, be sure to grease the dish so that your patties don’t stick to it during the cooking process.
Next up, you are going to want to create the dressing that you will pour over the burger patties to make sure that they stay moist while they cook.
In another bowl, you will mix up the water, brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and a little more salt too. Once everything is combined, pour it over your patties.
Place your burgers into the oven uncovered for about 40 minutes or until they are cooked all the way through. You can always check to see if your burgers are fully cooked by placing a thermometer into the patties. If the temperature reads 160 degrees F, then your burgers are good to go.
If you prefer cheese on your burgers, be sure to add the cheese slices on to your patties about two to three minutes before you plan on taking them out.
When the burgers are ready to be taken out of the oven, you can do so and then start to place the patties on a hamburger bun, adding your favorite condiments along the way.
Storing Leftover Patties
If you have leftover patties, you can always store them and eat them another day. All you have to do is place them in an airtight container and store them in your fridge, where they will last about three to four days.
When reheating your patties, you can do so by placing them into your microwave for about 30 seconds on each side. Obviously, if they are still not warm enough, you can always leave them in the oven for more time. A toaster oven is also another great way to reheat your patties.
Freezing Hamburger Patties
Many people like to plan ahead when it comes to their cooking. If this sounds like you, then you will get a kick out of the fact that you can store your frozen hamburger patties.
First and foremost, the best way to get good-tasting burgers that will remain fresh after freezing is to use high-quality meat. A burger with a high-fat content will also be much more juicy, but if you prefer your meat to be lean, that’s fine too.
Your patties will be frozen, so you want to make sure you are adding a decent amount of flavoring to them. However, if you use good-quality meat like we mentioned before, you should be fine seasoning your patties with just salt and pepper.
If you want more spice on the other hand, you can always combine the salt and pepper with onion powder, garlic powder, and a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
In a glass bowl, take your ground beef and add in all of your spices, mixing it together as you go. Once that is done, you can start to form your patties.
You will then take parchment paper and start to place your formed patties on squares of the parchment paper. This is to prevent the burgers from sticking together when you freeze them. You can layer them to save more space in your freezer.
Place your stacks of patties into a freezer bag and then place it into the freezer. Be sure not to stuff them in as this could ruin the shape of your patty. Make sure they are frozen solid before you move them around to accommodate them in your freezer.
To cook your frozen patties, all you have to do is remove them from the freezer and take off the parchment paper. You may want to let them defrost for a little bit before you start cooking them. If you are in a hurry, you can always run the frozen patties under hot water to get them to defrost faster.
Ground beef tends to lose flavor and quality over time, so it is not recommended that you freeze your burger patties any longer than four months. To keep track of how long your patties have been frozen, you can use a permanent marker to write the date that you first put them in the freezer on the freezer bag.
Sarah is the founder of Baking Kneads, LLC, a blog sharing guides, tips, and recipes for those learning how to bake. Growing up as the daughter of a baker, she spent much of her childhood learning the basics in a local bakery.