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Utah consumes 710 million burgers annually. Here's why chefs say burgers shouldn't be grilled

Bloomberg reports that chefs say burgers should be cooked in a skillet to retain fat.
Bloomberg reports that chefs say burgers should be cooked in a skillet to retain fat.
Jerry Deutsch

SALT LAKE CITY — A group of chefs has deemed grills unworthy of cooking the perfect burger — placing the sandwich on their Do Not Grill List days before the Fourth of July.

Great timing.

Bloomberg reports that burgers are just one of several new additions to the list, which also includes bacon — a fire hazard — and other more understandable items like tortillas, peaches and lettuce. Gray Brooks, a chef from Durham, North Carolina, warns that grilling a burger can result in the meat losing most of its fat content.

“When burgers are seared on a flat top, or in a cast-iron pan, that fat renders out and becomes a cooking medium and helps form a really nice beefy crust,” he says. "If you really want to cook burgers on the grill — which I totally understand, grilling is one of the coolest things to do in life — put a cast-iron griddle on the grill. You can also grill the onions, which are a great way to still get the smoky grill flavor on the burger.”

Other chefs also recommend using a plancha or heavy-duty pan to keep fat from dripping on the coals.

Other food items on the list that could be ruined by open flame over the holiday include sausage (the casing will shrink and pop), chicken (the texture becomes dry and rubbery) and steak (lean cuts will become too tough).

It’s likely Americans won’t be dissuaded from eating burgers and hot dogs any way they can get them on Independence Day. According to USA Today, a recent survey from 24/7 Wall St. found over 7 billion hot dogs are consumed on the Fourth of July. It’s also estimated about 375 million burgers could meet their tasty end tomorrow.

The study also estimates that Utah is ranked No. 15 for annual hamburger consumption at 229 sandwiches per capita. With a 2017 population of about 3.1 million, that means Utahns consume about 710 million burgers every year.

However, Utahns are actually the eighth-lowest consumers of hot dogs with only 188 eaten per person.