The Meat David Chang Says You Should Stop Grilling Immediately

As the chef and owner of New York's twice Michelin-starred Momofuku Ko, renowned culinary whiz David Chang has extensive experience when it comes to all things food. But, he also has strong opinions. Chang recently shared one of them on his podcast, "The Dave Chang Show," regarding the one meat he thinks people should stop grilling immediately: burgers. (Coincidentally, it's not his only burger-related pet peeve to date.) 

According to Chang, grilling burgers only results in "carbonized crap" on the patty, which does little to enhance its overall flavor. He goes so far as to claim that "you would need to cook a burger over charcoal for 12 hours to get that smoky flavor," indicating that grilling isn't even close to the best method for achieving that much-desired taste.

Chang's stance will likely spark heated debate amongst grill enthusiasts, and probably will come as a surprise to the millions of Americans living in the 43 states where hamburgers are the most popular meat to grill. But, is there some "meat" to his opinion? Is it time to put down the grill tongs and experiment with new cooking techniques? Chang's suggested alternatives for cooking the perfect burger do sound pretty appetizing.

David Chang's case against grilling burgers

David Chang's cooking tips usually offer priceless advice, and though his case against grilling hamburgers might turn some heads, he has some strong reasoning for it. During an episode of his podcast, Chang shared that he believes the fandom over summer burger grilling is a "marketing lie" and contended that grilling results in the only flavor infused into the meat being the carbonized grease residue left on the patty. As Chang shared, that can alter and degrade the meat's texture and flavor. 

So, what's the solution? Chang said he believes that the griddle is the best cooking instrument for burgers. As the chef pointed out, the heat on a griddle is distributed more evenly, which ensures that the patty is evenly cooked throughout the process. Additionally, there's no cleanup required, which makes it all the more convenient.

However, just because Chang has advocated against grilling burgers doesn't mean he's anti-grilling altogether. In fact, the renowned chef said that the grill is a great tool for cooking other proteins such as chicken, pork, and lamb chops. So, while you might want to give up grilling burgers, you can still fire up the barbecue for other dishes.

Tips for cooking burgers on a griddle

If you want to follow David Chang's advice and cook your hamburgers on a griddle instead of a grill, you'll need to follow a few tips. To start, seasoning your burger patty is critical for the perfect taste and texture. While seasoning mixes are specific to each person's palate, try using a blend of kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to start (season both sides of the patty with it). Adding a dash of garlic powder or smoked paprika can also enhance the flavor while also adding a bit of kick.

Once your patty is ready, it's time to tackle the griddle. Start by spreading fat or butter evenly across the surface. Then, wait for the oil to form and start smoking, and once ready, sear the patties for no more than two to three minutes on each side until they're golden brown and caramelized to perfection. Don't forget to toast your buns on the griddle as well, ensuring that they absorb the same delicious oils and flavors ensure the perfect way to tie it all together.

Ultimately, you can make and season your patties however you like, but following Chang's advice and resisting the urge to throw your burgers on the grill could give you that wow factor next time. Now, on to the next question: Can you cook hamburgers in an air fryer?