Kitchen Tip: Making Hamburgers

I don’t consider myself to be a hamburger expert, but I do have a few suggestions.  I hope you all will share your tips in the comments.

  • 80% lean beef has enough fat to give flavor and moisture.  85% does okay, but 90% is a bit too lean.
  • Handle the meat gently.  Do not use a lot of pressure when forming the patties and don’t press on the patties while they are cooking.
  • Adding moisture to the raw beef can help make the burgers more moist.  You can add water, broth, or vegetables that contain water such as onions or cabbage.

question markWhat are your burger making tips?

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  1. says

    We like to sprinkle them with Lawry’s Seasoning or mix fresh garlic and barbecue sauce into the meat before forming patties. Delicious!

  2. says

    I usually make my burgers with organic ground beef that is 85% lean beef/15% fat. I agree you don’t want to handle the patties too much but you do want to make them compact enough that they don’t fall apart when flipping them over. I also make an indentation in the center of the burger which prevents the burger from puffing up. On the grill the indentation puffs to the level of the outer edge of the burger creating a perfectly even surface. I never add anything to my beef but I do brush on a little canola or olive oil and season them generously with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper on both sides. The seasoning creates a beautiful crust and after letting my cooked burgers rest for a few minutes I get amazing juicy and flavorful burger.

    • says

      I forgot to add the indentation tip. I only recently started doing that. Thanks for telling us what you do to make burgers.

  3. Melissa says

    Sandy’s suggestion about making the little divet in the center of the burger is right on. I first heard about this from Cook’s Illustrated and it makes a big difference in the final shape of the patty.

    Our favorite thing to do with burgers (in addition to the things you ladies already described) is to cook the first side, and then right before flipping them, add some French’s yellow mustard to the top of the patty and turn it over. The mustard cooks into them and makes them brown nicely. It tastes delicious!

  4. says

    Burgers are one of my favorite things to make and I have shared tons of them. My best tip is to think about your burger as a meal. If there is a really envolved recipe or meal that you like, you can turn it into a burger. I’ve turned really traditional meals into burgers. Then it’s easier to make, has all the flavors and you can fit it into your hands.

    Also, it’s good to let your beef warm up a little. Don’t cook it right from the frig.

    Love your tips. They are spot on.

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