Cooking Burgers Without the Grill This Summer

Dan Cattle, This Land of Ours

Grilling season is officially underway, but what do you do if you don’t have a grill? That’s coming up on This Land of Ours.


Cooking burgers on the grill is the most traditional method for making those summertime burgers, and with good reason. Most grills can accommodate a large number of burgers, making it ideal for feeding a crowd. It’s also quick and easy and keeps the mess, and the heat, outside on those hot summer nights.      

No grill? No problem! There are plenty of great ways you can prepare your burgers all summer long. From a cast iron skillet to a smoker, griddle or even the waffle iron cooking method trending on social media, the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. culinary team has best practices for every method.      

Cast Iron Skillet  

If you consider yourself a novice chef or need to cook a burger indoors, a cast iron skillet is the perfect method. Using a skillet allows the burgers to cook in their own juices which ensures a juicy burger with a rich flavor profile. Chef Alex Reitz of the Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. culinary team explains that “skillet cooking will also create a tasty and even crust on both sides of the burger, locking in the natural flavor.” He also recommends covering the top of the skillet to allow the burger to cook more evenly.     


Smokers and pellet grills have increased in popularity over the past several years. Traditionally known for cooking large cuts of beef low and slow, they are also great for burgers! “This cooking method will take a bit longer than normal, but always remember that time, patience and practice pay off — don’t be afraid to tweak your technique to suit your tools and tastes,” says Chef Reitz. Cooking on a smoker will give similar results to grilling but leaves room for customization of smokiness and flavor depending on what wood you choose.    


Another great cooking method to consider this summer is the “smash burger” technique. Smash burgers are commonly cooked on a griddle, and with so many griddle options – from indoor cooktops to small portable versions – this method is popular whether at home or on the go. Chef Reitz loves this technique and explains “smashing your burger into a flatter/thinner patty will result in a really crispy crust that can’t be replicated with other cooking methods. In addition to cutting down on cooking time, you can play with flavors by adding different toppings, like onions, to your patty as you smash it on the griddle.”     

Waffle Iron  

You may have seen waffle burgers trending on social media lately, so our culinary experts put this method to the test.  “This may not become your primary burger cooking method,” says Chef Reitz, “but it does work, and might be a fun way to get social media-loving kids away from the screen and into the kitchen.”

No matter what cooking methods you try this summer, make sure to follow these tips for success. First, form your patty slightly larger than your bun to achieve the perfect bun to beef ratio after cooking. Second, avoid the temptation of flipping the burger too early. Wait until the burger releases from the cooking surface and only flip once to keep all of those juices locked inside. Finally, always use a thermometer and make sure to cook your burger to a safe and savory internal temperature of 160F.

For more great burger tips and recipes, visit 

Listen to Sabrina Halvorson’s This Land Of Ours program here.

Cooking Burgers Without the Grill This Summer

Sabrina Halvorson
National Correspondent / AgNet Media, Inc.

Sabrina Halvorson is an award-winning journalist, broadcaster, and public speaker who specializes in agriculture. She primarily reports on legislative issues and hosts The AgNet Weekly podcast. Sabrina is a native of California’s agriculture-rich Central Valley.