The great thing about cedar plank cooked hamburgers is that you get supremely moist results thanks to the initial indirect cooking phase and then here's the secret to getting the most out of the flavor too...
You'll see below that there's a second stage to the cooking process and it has to be said that if you combine these two steps you pretty much get the perfect way to cook a hamburger, certainly better that straight grilling it.
The benefit of cedar plank cooking is the moisture and flavor of the wood is imparted into the food but at the same time you are cooking indirectly. This means that the burger cooks more gently and so remains moist all the way through. Compare that with cooking directly on the grill where the outside can get dry and burnt while you're waiting for the inside to cook through.
The negative to the indirect heat applied to cedar plank cooked hamburgers is that they don't deliver any of the crispiness or brown caramelization that direct grilling gives as a result of the Maillard reaction:-
The Maillard reaction takes place at 300°F (150°C), not so easy to achieve when indirect cooking so the combination of a two stage process really works well:-
Step 1. Indirect cooking on the plank
Step 2. Direct grilling over the coals
You'll also note that the recipe below has quite a bit of fluids in it. You can afford to do this because the cedar plank is a more robust substrate than the cooking grate and there's less chance of the patties breaking up in the early stages of cooking
Serves:- 8 people
Preparation Time:- 15 minutes
Cooking Time:- 20 minutes
Total Time:- 35 minutes
This recipes contains a number of allergens in the following ingredients.
Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl, refrigerate for an hour and then you're ready to shape.
Place the hamburgers on a preheated plank and cook indirectly for 15 minutes at 125°C (260°F). After the initial cook flip the burgers so that they cook directly over the heat for a further 3 minutes on each side to brown.
TIP - The burgers need to cook at a high temperature to mobilize the sugars so don’t be tempted to continuously flip the burgers – all this will do is lower the cooking temperature.
Plank cooking (and indirect cooking in general) will brown the inside of the burger but just because it is brown doesn't mean that it's cooked through. Always double check with a temperature probe that you've hit the safe core temperature.
When your burgers are cooked take them off the heat and put them to one side to rest for two or three minutes. This resting stage is important and make the difference from biting into and juicy burger in a crisp bun and one that oozes juice and creates a soggy affair.
Cut your buns in half and lightly toast them over the coals just so that you get a little crunch to the surface.
Now you can layer up. I usually go lettuce, sauce, burger, tomato and top off with an onion ring but it really is up to you.