The 1-minute secrets to grilling the perfect burger. Yums! Yums! Yums!
It’s the day of the burger and we are hungry! How can we get our grill hot fast so that we can start grilling, cooking and eating our burger?
The burger patties we are grilling are cooked by both the radiant heat from the coals and the rising hot air convection currents.
Radiant heat is heat transferred from the glowing charcoal or coals by electromagnetic radiation to the burger. Much like microwaves and toasters, this happens because every heat source also radiates light waves (a type of electromagnetic radiation). When atoms in the meat absorb some of this light energy, they move and vibrate more vigorously. On a macroscopic scale, this is heat that cooks our food.
In convection, air heated by a charcoal fire expands and rises. As the hot air rises and cooks the food, colder air is drawn quickly toward the fire. This cold air brings with it a fresh supply of oxygen to feed the fire, making the fire hotter. The cold air subsequently heats up and rises too, to be replaced by more cold air and oxygen, thus repeating the cycle.
This flow of hot and cold air creates a draft (just like how a chimney works). Adjusting this draft changes the speed and temperature of grilling. The greater the draft, the more oxygen is drawn in, and the faster the fire will burn. The coals will also become hotter. The increased convection and radiant heat cooks our burger more quickly.
In a charcoal barbecue grill, you can control the draft by adjusting the vents under the grill. In many parts of Southeast Asia, however, street food hawkers use a handheld fan to “fan the flames” when they are grilling meats. Either way, the draft stokes the fire to give us our perfectly grilled burger!
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photos: in order – depositphotos/kubais; lenathewise; istockphoto/brittak