Have you ever been to a cookout, whether it be for the Fourth of July or Memorial Day, were whoever is cooking the hamburgers doesn’t melt any of the cheese that they’re putting on the burgers? They just slap it right on the patty as they dish it out. Un-melted cheese is also very common at fast food places, although in their case I believe it to be unintentional. As much as I like their burgers, Five Guys seems to have a problem with melting the cheese on their hamburgers. And so does McDonald’s, but I’m also not totally convinced that is even cheese, ha! Or have you ever experienced the other extreme when the cheese is melted but the burger is way overcooked because it sat in the grill too long to melt the cheese? Well in this post I want to talk about how to get a perfectly melted piece of cheese on a hamburger for your future cookouts.
Burgers are meant to be served hot. This is an obvious statement; no one wants a cold hamburger. But just since burgers are meant to be served hot doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your toppings are also meant to be served hot. For instance, lettuce is always cold. Onions can be raw or cooked, same with green peppers. Tomatoes should definitely be cold. But what about the cheese? Should that be hot or cold? Well, since a burger is a hot sandwich, I think that the cheese should be hot. After all, you can’t truly appreciate cheese on a hot sandwich unless it is melted.
Now the secret to getting a perfectly melted piece of cheese on a burger is to place it on the hamburger maybe two minutes BEFORE the hamburger is done cooking. That’s right, don’t wait around until the hamburger is cooked to the right temperature to put the cheese on because if you wait that long, the burger will be overcooked by the time that the cheese melts.
That is a classic mistake. People wait until the burgers are cooked to their liking and then they put the cheese on only to find out that the burger now is overcooked. The best time to put cheese on a burger is about 2 minutes before your burger is done, depending on the thickness of the cheese of course.
So next time your find yourself cooking at a grill-out or you find yourself talking to the guy doing the grilling, give him the secret and watch the crowd go wild with how much of a different that that makes on the hamburgers.
Notice however that this doesn’t even address the type of cheese to include on a hamburger, only when to place it on the patty itself. The variation of cheese flavors is something that will be discussed in future posts as we could easily write another 1,000 words on the subject. Who ever knew that making hamburgers was such a science? Or is it an art form? You decide.