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Cheeseburger question

I've noticed that restaurants will put a metal bowl over the burger at the end of the grilling process. I'm assuming this is to add moisture to the burger and to prevent from overcooking. Am I right?

If I wanted to try this at home, what are the guidelines for doing this correctly.

Thanks in advance.

El Bandito

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  1. It's primarily to help the cheese melt more quickly and prevent overcooking the meat.

    1 Reply
    1. re: MGZ

      I agree, the steam helps to melt the cheese.

    2. The dome used is called a basting cover or cheese melting cover. It does serve 2 purposes though. The obvious one from the name is to help speed up the melting cheese process by providing heat retention. The second and as important reason is to provide more even cooking for the burger. By covering, you are essentially radiating more heat around the whole patty, thus cooking it more evenly and faster, so to not overcook it. The steam generated provides heated moist air which also helps the burger to remain more moist and to retain its juices to cook in.

      2 Replies
      1. re: madcookist

        Thanks. This was what I'd heard, but heard in an abbreviated fashion and therefore I needed clarification. Do you usually do this at the very end?

        Thanks again.

        1. re: madcookist

          Exactly my take. Moist heat to melt the cheese and finish cooking without getting dry. If you're doing a blue burger you just torch the cheese to melt it : )

        2. i've worked in restaurants all my life ( eaten in them too, lol) and have never seen this.

          1. Is the metal bowl used while the burger is still on the grill or after?

            I agree with the others that the bowl is just used to trap some heat to melt the cheese.

            I don't think it has anything to do with adding moisture to the burger or overcooking. I see the bowl as having the opposite effect, the bowl traps the heat which causes the burger to lose more moisture and continue the cooking process.

            5 Replies
            1. re: dave_c

              While on the grill, I've seen it, and I do the same. I have also seen a few drops of water added to create more steam. I do that at home, put the lid on with a few drops of water, melts the cheese pretty quickly. I also do that with my eggs, sunny side up, but I like a firm white, and a "pink" yolk... the film that covers the yolk, making it more pink than yellow (on top), basting the egg with the trapped steam.
              It does not dry out the burger. And one doesn't leave the lid or bowl on for very long at all.

              1. re: wyogal

                Are we talking about on a GRILL, or on a griddle or pan?

                1. re: Midknight

                  Like the flat top restaurant grill not the backyard grate grill.

                  1. re: melpy

                    Exactly.
                    When I use the outdoor grill, I also use the lid. I use a large cast iron frying pan to do burgers inside.

              2. re: dave_c

                If the cover helps to envelop the burger with heat on all side, it will cook more evenly and faster = it reduces the heating time = less moisture lost during cooking. Also the water content (60% water content for cooked 85% lean ground beef) evaporated from the meat is now trapped within the dome and able to "give back" to the burger a little. :-)

              3. Yah, that overturned bowl is creating an 'oven' on the grill. See?

                1. The cover is to melt the cheese. Occasionaly they will squirt a bit of water or even beer under the cover to generate more steam.

                  1. I agree with others. I see that as mostly for the steaming effect.