Scientifically grill your burgers to perfection

Updated: 16.08.2022 – 18:17

Grill and science
Grilling Burgers: The Best Scientific Way!

Photo: Shutterstock/ AVN Photo Lab

From a scientific standpoint, how do you prepare the optimal grilled burger patty?

According to a mathematician’s research, a hamburger needs to be turned four times to be well done in the shortest possible time. What is behind this?

As a rule of thumb, you’ll hear from most chefs that you only need to turn the grill once to make the meat perfect.

Mathematician Jean-Luc Tiffeau (University of Wisconsin-Madison) sees things a little differently and recently published his findings in the journal Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena. His work bears the well-known title: “The Mathematics of the Burger’s Burger.”

Its exact order

In his writing, Tiffeo suggests a model for a two-centimeter-thick burger patty. Another important parameter is the homogeneous, solid structure of the burger patty, with corresponding symmetrical thermal properties. In other words, the heat released from the grill is always distributed upwards at the same rate regardless of which side of the burger patty is on the grill.

Using mathematical heat transfer equations, Thiffeault uses a model to calculate how fast and at what intervals a burger patty should be grilled in order to cook it well in the shortest possible time. In this study, this means that the burger patty reached the exact same temperature of 70 degrees Celsius at every point. Considering that the core temperature is ready from 47 to 54 degrees medium fried and readiness about 56 to 60 degrees medium so this is a very well made burger patty.

Research results

According to his model, if the patties are turned only once, the cooking time is 80.5 seconds. According to Tiffeau’s calculations, however, cooking time decreases with further turns. With four turns, you will get the best results in 65 seconds. Good advice if you want to leave quickly. In an interview with the “Physics” internet portal, the scientist has another piece of advice: “Turn over when the bottom third is finished.” Although this will increase the cooking time of the other side, it will reduce the overall grilling time.


But not only the patty, but the burger bun has to be perfect. Here is the best soft burger bun recipe for you. We have many more burger recipes. Or how about a veggie burger with carrots and an oat patty? These little potato raclette hamburgers are even more unusual. And the salmon burger was also very well received by our editors. As you can see, there’s a lot to discover and with a huge selection of burgers, you’re sure to find your new favorite recipe.

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