clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fang Food: Well Done Hamburgers

Hamburgers are one of the quintessential BBQ foods. The question is, how do you cook them? A lot of people, especially those with younger kids, want to cook them to well-done, due to health concerns. There's just one problem with that. Frequently, that turns them into dense, flavorless, patties of meat similar to hockey pucks.

Philip Whitaker - Fang Food

So how do you address this problem? Well, it's actually pretty simple. The solution, at least according to the recipe I use from America's Test Kitchen, is called panade. Panade is a paste made primarily from milk and bread. It provides moisture for the burgers, so that when you cook the meat to well done, it doesn't dry it out. Add to that some judicious seasoning, and you've got incredible well done burgers, that aren't dried out hockey pucks.

Well Done Burgers Done Well

Thanks to America's Test Kitchen


  • 1 large slice of quality sandwich bread, chopped and with the crust removed
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¾ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tsp. steak sauce
  • 1 ½ pounds 80/20 ground beef
  • Vegetable oil for cooking grate
  • 6 ounces of cheese sliced (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns


  1. For Gas Grill: Turn on all burners to high, close lid, and let it warm up until it is very hot. Scrape the cooking grate clean with a grill brush. Then take a wad of paper towels, dip them in vegetable oil, and, using a pair of tongs, wipe the grate down. Leave the primary burner on high, and turn all others to low.
  2. For Charcoal Grill: Use a large chimney starter to light six quarts (100 briquettes) or charcoal and burn until covered with a thin layer of gray ash. Empty coals into the grill and build a modified two level fire by putting all the coals on one half of the grill. Place the cooking grate over the coals, cover, and heat for five minutes. Scrape clean with grill brush. The coals are ready when you can only hold your hand two inches over the grate for three or four seconds.
  3. For all grills: Put the milk and bread in a blender, and blend until it's a fine gooey mess. You should get about a quarter of a cup. Add in salt, pepper, garlic, and steak sauce.
  4. In a bowl, pour the panade (bread-milk mixture) over the beef and use your hands or a fork to mix into a cohesive whole. Divide the meat into six ounce portions, lightly roll into a ball, and press into a ¾ of an inch thick patty that's about four and a half inches across. On one side, put an indention about a quarter of an inch deep.
  5. If you haven't done this already, take a wad of paper towels, dip them in vegetable oil, and, using a pair of tongs, wipe the grate down. Grill the burgers on the hot side of the grill for about two to four minutes, depending on the desired doneness. This recipe is designed for well done and maybe a little less than, so please don't be expecting medium or lower. Flip the burgers, and then grill for another three or four minutes. Add the cheese two minutes before the burgers are done, if you're using it, and, if desired, you can toast the buns on the cooler side of the grill. Serve with lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mayo, mustard, onion. Really anything your heart desires!

Now I would be remiss not to recommend that you use use Whit's Apple Bacon Burger recipe that he posted as one of our original articles. Hope this helps with the potential conundrum of well done burgers. Enjoy!

Fang Food is a series of weekly baseball food articles written by prwhitaker1 (Whit), imstillhungry95 (Blake) and Turambar (Patrick). Check out the archive of past articles! Questions, comments, suggestions, concerns? Email us at or contact us on Facebook..