Many people are always on the search for out-of-the-ordinary dinner options to avoid recreating the same 5-10 meals every night. If that sounds like you and you’re a fan of ground beef, hamburger steak might fit the bill.
Hamburger steak is a combination between a hamburger, meatloaf, and steak. It’s versatile, fun, and comforting and could become a new family favorite. Explore this guide to learn various methods for cooking hamburger steak, along with tips for buying hamburger steak, seasoning the meat, and more.
What is Hamburger Steak?
Hamburger steak is much like it sounds. It’s made similar to a hamburger using ground beef and various seasonings to add flavor, then shaped into a patty and pan-fried or grilled. However, rather than putting the patty on a bun like you would for a hamburger, a hamburger steak goes on a plate to be eaten more like a steak. Some people also use ground steak, like ground chuck or ground round, rather than ground beef to create their hamburger steaks.
Many people top it off with grilled onions and gravy or serve the steak over mashed potatoes. Although it makes for a savory, satisfying dinner, hamburger steak can also work for a fulfilling lunch or unique breakfast option.
What to Know When Buying Hamburger Steak
First, it’s important to understand that you usually won’t find hamburger steaks pre-made at your grocery store to buy, although they are sometimes available. Instead, you’ll need to buy ground beef or ground steak to make the steaks yourself.
When looking for ground beef, consider the fat content. This is one of the most important parts of keeping your hamburger steak juicy rather than dry. A 70/30 or 80/20 mixture is usually best for flavor and texture. If you prefer ground steak for your hamburger steak, look for ground sirloin, chuck, or round, which typically hold together well when formed into patties.
Aside from the meat, you’ll also need whatever mix-ins you want to add, such as salt and pepper, Worcestershire sauce, or barbecue sauce. We’ll dive into seasoning in this guide, so be sure to take notes of seasonings you want to add to your list before heading to the store.
Different Methods of Cooking Hamburger Steak
The following methods are all potential options for cooking hamburger steak, so feel free to experiment with the cooking methods you like best.
Hamburger Steak on the Grill
Make sure the grill grates are clean, and consider coating them with oil to prevent sticking. Then, preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Add the steaks, searing them for about 3-4 minutes on each side. Turn down the heat and continue cooking on low until the meat reaches 160 degrees.
Hamburger Steak in the Oven
Spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the steaks on the baking sheet and transfer them to the oven’s middle rack. Cook for 25-30 minutes, flipping once during the cooking process. If desired, place several rings of onion on the tray drizzled with oil and lay the steaks on top before cooking. Serve the roasted onions atop the steaks.
Hamburger Steak on the Stove
Preheat a skillet to medium-high with a drizzle of oil. Carefully place the steaks in the pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side, then lower the heat. Continue cooking for another 5-10 minutes until the internal temperature of each steak reaches at least 160 degrees.
Hamburger Steak in the Crock Pot
Slice mushrooms and onions to add to the bottom of the slow cooker. Sear hamburger steaks in a preheated skillet for 2 minutes on each side. Then, place them in the slow cooker on top of the mushrooms and onions. Combine one cup of beef broth and one packet of brown gravy mix and pour the mixture over the meat. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
Hamburger Steak in Air Fryer
Preheat the air fryer to 350 degrees. Spray the air fryer tray with cooking spray before adding the steaks. Make sure the steaks do not touch each other; if needed, cook them in batches. Air fry the steaks for 5-6 minutes; flip each steak to the other side and continue cooking for another 5-6 minutes. Use a thermometer to ensure that the steaks reach 160 degrees.
Hamburger Steak on a Smoker
Prepare the smoker with your choice of wood pellets, and preheat it to 325 degrees. Cook the steaks for about 30-40 minutes. Then, sear on the grill for 1-2 minutes on each side. Alternatively, you can sear the steaks first before finishing the cooking process in the smoker.
How to Season Hamburger Steak for Best Flavor
Hamburger steak typically gets lots of seasoning for exceptional flavor in the end product. Before working the meat and shaping it into steaks, season the meat with a generous portion of salt and pepper. We also like garlic powder and onion powder added to ours, but feel free to add other spices, like cayenne pepper, chili powder, or ground mustard. Also, consider incorporating a sauce, like Worcestershire sauce, barbecue sauce, or ketchup, which can help bring out some additional flavors.
Tips to Perfect Hamburger Steak
Making hamburger steak is pretty straightforward. The most difficult part is getting the meat to stay together well so it doesn’t crumble when cooking. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll be well on your way to making delicious hamburger steak. Here are a few tips to help you:
- Chill the meat first: Keep your meat in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before using it. As your hands handle the meat, the meat heats up, making it fall apart easier. Alternatively, you can form your patties and then transfer them to the fridge to chill for 1-2 hours before cooking the patties.
- Don’t over handle the meat: Working the meat too much can cause the fat to break down and not bind the meat together as well. Only work the meat until the ingredients are just combined and the steak is formed.
Avoid too many flips: When cooking the steaks, try not to flip them more than necessary, as you risk having them fall apart by doing so. When pan-searing or grilling, it’s okay to flip them a few times, but only after they begin to sear well on the bottom. For oven-cooking and air frying, you should only need to flip the steaks once halfway through the cooking process.
Hamburger Steak FAQs
A hamburger patty and hamburger steak are similar. However, hamburger patties are typically round and thinner to fit well on a hamburger bun. Hamburger steak can be made with ground beef, just like a hamburger patty, but some people prefer using ground steak meat. These steaks are usually thicker and have a more oval shape than a hamburger patty.
Raw egg, breadcrumbs, and cheese are common binders used to hold hamburger steak together. It’s also important to choose meat with a high fat content, such as 80/20, to help bind the meat together. Placing the steaks in the refrigerator for an hour or so before cooking them can also help hold them together during the cooking process.
Hamburger steak is safe to be eaten when a thermometer inserted into the middle of the steak reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If you prefer no pink in the middle, consider cooking the meat to about 170 degrees instead.