How to make Burgers

How to make Burgers
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How to make Burgers is a cornerstone post on everything Burger related in order for you to build the best possible Burger. The Sauce, Toppings, or Bottoms, including the Hamburger Bun, is up to you.

HAMBURGER PATTIES

This article focuses on store bought Ground Beef to make Burger Patties instead of creating the Hamburger Beef mix from certain cuts of meats and grinding to make the Patties.

If you’re getting into real hamburgers made from specialty cuts of meats, then the below seasoning used in the meat is not needed. The Beef Flavor, Fat content and Texture will all come from your choice of meats. For Ground Beef that you pick up at the local grocery store to make burgers from, you can’t get the same results. So the below seasoning will assist to enhance the flavors and texture to get some pretty good Hamburger Patties.

Ground Beef Hamburgers

I tend to always buy lean ground beef and use it as is or sometimes with added fat, especially if I have Beef Suet. This just adds phenomenal Beef flavor to Burgers. Sometimes adding a splash of Worcestershire Sauce for extra flavor.

With Ground Beef that you pick up at the store, the below mixin will yield some pretty tasty burgers.

Hamburger Seasoned Beef

Burger Mixin

For every 1 lbs. of Ground Beef, add the below Burger Mixin to add Flavor, Umami and Texture.

  • 1 tsp Beef Powder
  • 1/2 tsp MSG
  • 1/4 tsp Baking Powder

Sausage Burger Mixin

For a Sausage texture Burger Patty, the baking powder is exchanged with Baking Soda in the same amounts. This creates that texture in certain burgers that you buy premade at the grocery store. I’m not all that crazy about them for Burgers, however for breakfast sausages or Salisbury steak most definitely. But some people like them for their burgers too.

Hamburger Patty Fat Content

The Fat content not only contributes to the taste, it also affects texture. More fat and you get looser meat. Use a solid Fat like Beef Suet and avoid over mixing, which breaks the fat down. 20 % fat is ideal for Hamburgers. Just a bit more than Lean Ground beef and a bit less than Medium ground beef. Which is why it’s preferable to buy lean ground beef and use as is or add a small amount of fat.

Lean Ground Beef is an all-purpose ground beef with a maximum fat percentage of 17 %, or there abouts. Medium Ground beef will have up to 23% Fat, and Regular will have up to 30% fat. Medium ground beef can be used too but tends to render out a lot of fat where you end up almost deep-frying the patties instead of searing them. I know it’s only 3 % more, but it does make a difference. Go with Lean Ground Beef and if more fat is desired add it in.

Beef Suet

Beef Suet

Mixing Hamburger Meat

Ensure the Ground Beef is very cold and don’t over mix the meat. There is a big difference in the final texture when mixing room temperature ground beef to refrigerator cold ground beef and even almost frozen ground beef. The colder, the better.

Mixed Hamburger Seasoned Beef

Mixed Hamburger Meat

HAMBURGER PATTY SIZE

The Patties should be about 4 inches in diameter or slightly bigger than the hamburger buns to allow for shrinkage when cooked.

Tray of 45 g burger patties

45 g Burger Patty

10 patties from 1 lb. of ground beef. This is the standard size for McDonald’s McDouble, Cheese Burger, Big Mac, etc.…

90 g beef patties with Beef Suet

90 g Burger Patty

5 patties from 1 lb. of ground beef. This is the standard size for A&W and most Burgers. These are made with 4 Tbl of Beef Suet added in for fat content and beefier flavors.

Quarter Pound Frozen Patties

1/4 lb. Burger Patty

4 patties from 1 lb. of ground beef. This is the standard size for McDonald’s Quarter Pounder or Burger King’s Whopper.

Shaping Burgers

Use container lids that are about 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 inches. You may have to go through a couple before you find the one that is just right and designate them as your 45 g, 85 g – 90 g, and Quarter Pounder sizes.

Use a grocery bag or freezer bag with half of it covering the lid and the other half that can be folded over to press the Patties. Lay them out on a baking sheet to freeze, and then stack them into a freezer bag to use at a later time.

When pressing with your palm, spread the meat out to cover and press more in the middle than the edges to create a thinner middle section. This will thicken when you sear the Burgers and the meat starts to pull back.

It takes a bit of time, but once you have them made up and frozen, making a burger takes only a few minutes.

45 g and 90 g Lid for Burger Patties

Container Lids for Burger Patties

Lids that are about 4 1/4 – 4 1/2 inches.

45 g Patty Lid

Container Lid 45 g

This is the one I use for the 45 g Burgers or Breakfast Sausages. It’s about 4 1/4 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch high.

90 g or quarter lb Patty lid

Container Lid 90 g or 1/4 lbs.

This one I use for the 90 g or quarter pound burger patties. It’s about 4 1/2 inches and 1/2 inch high. I believe it comes from a Peanut Butter Jar.

For the Quarter pounder I shape using this and then when placed on the baking sheet, I flatten it out to about 1/4 inch for the larger buns or leave as is for the smaller ones.

Hamburger Press

While a hamburger press can be purchased and used for making burgers. I really do find using the container lids a lot more efficient and all around better than any type of hamburger press, and I have gone through a few. You just get better compression, and you are able to make the center slightly thinner to account for the pull back when the burgers are seared. Maybe this is just me, though. I really do prefer the lids.

Hamburger Press

Hamburger Press

Frozen Burger Patties

Freeze the hamburger patties when you make them. This gives the meat time for the protein to bond and makes it easier to handle when grilling the Patties and prevents them from falling apart while cooking. It also allows a good sear without overcooking the burgers, especially at 45 g portions.

If making a bunch, lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place them into a freezer bag for long term storage.

Frozen Burger Patties

Freezing Hamburger Patties

If making a bunch from a couple lbs. of ground beef, lay them out on a baking sheet and freeze. Once frozen, place them into a freezer bag for long term storage.

It takes quite a bit of time to portion and make these up. But with a bunch of them frozen and then stacked, cooking up a burger takes only a few minutes.

COOKING Hamburgers

No matter the cook method, sear or grill until you see the bottom starting to brown. Then flip and sear the other side just until the juices run clear. Season with the Salt & Pepper Blend or Hamburger Seasoning before or after.

Seared Burger Patties
Seared Burger Patties

Seared Burger Patties

Heat up a frying pan on medium heat for a few seconds. Then Toast the Hamburger Buns. After the Buns have been toasted, the pan is usually hot enough to start searing the burger patties.

Place the Hamburger Patties into the pan to sear one side. When the bottom starts to brown up. Flip them over and sear the other side, seasoning the side that you just seared. Press down on the patties to assist the sear for a few seconds and finish cooking, just until the juices run clear. Flip them back over to season the other side. You can also just season the burgers before searing.

If the burgers are smoking on the stove top, remove the pan from the heat for a little bit to cool it down before placing back on to finish cooking.

Another technique that affects the texture is to add a splash of water to the frying pan and cover it with a lid to cook by Steam for a minute. This causes to have a denser texture to the Hamburger Patties if that is desired.

Double Sided Grill Hamburgers

You can also do this with a double-sided Grill that cooks both sides of the Hamburger at the same time.

For Larger Patties, it will take more time to cook. Season the Burgers and Grill just until the juices run clear.

Panini Grilled Hambugers

Yes! A Panini Grill. I have used the Panini Cooker for more than just sandwiches. I also use it for the McGrill Chicken Breast and Burgers.

Cooks both sides and leaves the grill marks as well as the pressing, almost like McDonald’s. Either the Grill Press or Panini Cooker works quite well.

For a Quarter Pound Beef Patty, it takes about 3–4 minutes, or until the juices run clear. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.

Oven Hamburgers

The Oven method can be used in 2 ways. If cooking Thick Beef Patties, sear them in the Skillet and finish cooking at 350 F in the oven.

To cook them from the start, which is great for a bunch of burger patties for gatherings and such. Place them on a wired rack on top of a baking sheet and into the oven at 425 F – 450 F for about 15 minutes, depending on the size of the Patties. 45 g Patties will be half the time or less, and the 90 g to a Quarter Pound about the 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow to sit 5 minutes, or Sear them and let rest.

Burger Doneness

The Burgers are done when the juices run clear when pressed. With 45 g Burger Patties, this is only a couple of minutes per side and more time if the Burger Patties are thicker.

For thicker patties, you can probe for the Internal temp. Which should be about 160 F. However, checking to see if the juices run clear is a pretty reliable way to tell. Sear until you see the bottom browning, and then flip to sear the other side until the juices run clear. As a guideline, use the below.

  • 45 g burger patties on medium heat will only take about 2 minutes per side
  • 90 g burger patties on medium heat will take about 3 minutes per side
  • 1/4 lbs. on medium heat will take about 4-5 minutes per side. If pressed out to about 1/2 inch or a bit less, then about 3 minutes per side.

SEASONING Burger Patties

Season the Hamburger well on both sides after cooking for better flavor. The thicker the Patty, the more seasoning you will need.

You can season burgers before searing since the Burger patties themselves don’t require too much of a cook time, although you will lose out on some flavor. The thicker the burger patty the longer the cooking time and because of that more of a chance of the seasoning burning up. So in general it is better to season afterward. Although the difference may be really subtle.

HAMBURGER SEASONING

McDonald’s states they only use Salt & Pepper. While, A&W has their own special blend that is listed below.

Seasoning: Salt, sugar, spices, paprika, dextrose, onion powder, corn starch, garlic powder, hydrolyzed corn protein, extractive of paprika, disodium inosinate, disodium guanylate, silicon dioxide (anti-caking agent).

Salt & Pepper Blend

The below seasoning is used on the Salt & Pepper Chicken and is an excellent ratio for Burger Seasoning.

Salt & Pepper Blend

Salt & Pepper Blend

  • 1 Tbl Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper

Add in Onion or Garlic Powder, Paprika, MSG, or Beef Powder to add additional flavors to the seasoning. Another good seasoning for Burgers is JAH Rotisserie Seasoning and is used for the Deluxe Burger.

TOASTING HAMBURGER BUNS

Butter & Toast the Buns in a frying pan over medium heat first. Apply light pressure to the buns as they cook for even toasting. The toasting process creates a crust and a barrier where the hamburger and toppings will go, and softens the bread.

I usually do these up in the frying pan before cooking the Burger Patties, as they require more heat. This is perfect because you can toast the buns while the pan is warming up to temps that are sufficient to cook the Patties. By the time you have the Buns toasted, the pan is nice and hot to sear the burgers.

Toasted Hamburger Buns
Toasted Hamburger Buns

WRAPPING Hamburgers

Use Wax Paper to wrap the burger, about a 12 x 12 square. This is preferred not only for making burgers for a large gathering, but to allow the Flavors to blend while warming everything up with the residue heat. It will result in better burgers, and it’s kind of cool getting a Burger and unwrapping it like a gift.

You can also pick up the Burger Wrap paper at your Local Cash & Carry Store. These are thinner and designed to wrap foods.

Just wrap them up in waxed paper and place them into the oven on warm or microwave them to heat up for about 15 seconds after they have been wrapped and sitting for more than 5 minutes.

FREEZING Whole Burgers

While nothing beats a fresh Burger, you can also place them wrapped in waxed paper into a Ziploc bag and freeze without the Toppings and Sauce. Take out the night before to thaw in the fridge and Microwave with Waxed Paper wrapping to heat up, or place into the oven for a few minutes on low heat to warm up. Then top off the Burger with some Toppings & Sauce.

The Burger Patties themselves can be made in big batches and frozen on a baking sheet. Once frozen, stack them on top of each other, optionally with a sheet of waxed paper to separate and into a freezer bag. Season & Cook them straight from frozen.

Burger Recipes

With the Basic Burger Information, you are all set to make numerous Burgers with different Toppings & Sauces. Check out the Collection of Burger Recipes to see all the ones I have made to date and Enjoy the Belly Smile.

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