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Do you put stuff IN your hamburgers?

  • l

Not referring to toppings, but to working stuff into the meat.

I was brought up in the School of Unadulterated Beef, but I read a lot of recipes where people (especially in restaurants) put stuff in there, like butter, shallots, herbs, A1, foie gras, Worcestershire, whatever.

Is this common? Is your standard burger an Amalgamation? Was this your innovation, or something Ma and Pa did too?

The truth is that regular burgers bore me, so I never eat them anymore.

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  1. I put mustard and worcestshire sauce in mine. My parents used to put lipton soup mix or soy sauce.

    1. I too enjoy an unmolested burger. However, the 'rents sent me back with a few tons of home-butchered/ground beef and burgers jumped to the top of the menu---simultaneously, I'd recently seen the burger section in Everyday Foods issue #4. As per Martha, I included worscestershire sauce and dijon mustard, kosher salt, ground black pepper. These additions made a very tasty broiler burger. Mdme. Stewart also suggests adding blue cheese in a different preparation---that's next.

      2 Replies
      1. re: malcarne

        I tried that one - delicious but we froze the remaining burgers and they didn't make the cut when unfrozen - the cheese was weird when it was cooked, anyway I wouldn't eat it.

        1. re: Zoe

          good to know :)

      2. Buffalo burgers are a staple in our house. I add worcestershire, egg, ketchup, raw onion, seasoned bread crumbs, sometimes parmesan cheese. Pretty much the same way my mother made them, though she used beef.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Mandy

          No shame there. Buffalo burgers need a little help, IMO.

        2. Salt.

          Adding other stuff (soy, garlic, shallots, and/or mustard) is fun to do every once in a while when I'm in the mood for a meatbally burger. But more often that not it's just salt.

          1. For beef, nothing added, although sometimes I make inside-out cheeseburgers. Turkey burgers, on the other hand, dry out too much if unadulterated. I chop and saute onions in a little butter. Mix it in with turkey meat.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sbp

              I second the idea of inside-out cheeseburgers. I tuck blue cheese, goat cheese or cheddar into the center of the burger and then cook it until the cheese begins to melt.

              1. re: Kirk
                Michele Cindy

                I do this too, my favorite is with cheddar wine spread.

                1. re: Kirk

                  Boursin is great in an inside-out cheeseburger.

                  Otherwise, I prefer my burgers with just salt and pepper.

              2. Sometimes, depends on the fat content of the meat. The more lean (including ground turkey/chicken), the more spices I add.

                1. When I make buffalo burgers, I tan about 2 tablespoons of pine nuts per pound of meat, mix them into the meat, form big fat patties, and pat them with soy sauce. I cook them RARE--buffalo is so lean the burgers turn into hockey pucks if you overcook them--and I make a rich little spread with mayonnaise, softened currants, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, and pepper, and serve the burgers tucked into toasted brioche rolls spread with the mayo mixture. Mmmmm.

                  1. I mix salsa into my turkeyburgers. Much better and moister than plain.

                    1. This is not a typical Americal Hamburger. I remember my father made hamburgers mixing both ground beef and pork. He adds onions, carrots, green peppers (I didn't like carrots and green peppers when I was a child), somtime corns or peas. Then, mix in panko crumb and taste with soy sauce. Somtime he adds ginger. I think this is japanese style hamburgers.

                      1. I learned from mom to add salt, pepper, finely chopped onion, and one egg. Much to my disgust, mom would eat this just like so -- uncooked! Sometime I play around and add Worchestershire sauce or whatever I'm in the mood for as well, but I always cook 'em.

                        My thinking on the egg addition (hotly debated between mom and dad since dad did NOT add the egg) was that my mom was either 1) winging it or 2) trying to recreate the Frikadellen she grew up with in Germany.

                        Frikadellen, BTW, are more like meatballs and the best ones tend to contain a LOT of bread. My Oma used to make them for a day ahead and we'd eat them cold at picnics.

                        1. Inner Beauty Sauce and green chilis, burger cooked rare.

                          1. Salt, pepper, sometimes a little Worcestershire sauce, sometimes a little chipotle powder. Rarely more than that.

                            1. When I was a kid, my mom made thick, lumpy burgers with chopped onion and green pepper. Never liked 'em.

                              Now I add a package of Lipton Onion Soup mix, an egg and some breadcrumbs to two pounds of ground beef - some for cooking now, some for wrapping and freezing.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Deenso

                                I do this with the Lipton onion soup mix also. It's quick, easy and different. Sometimes I also throw in a little Worcestershire sauce. I also like to put feta cheese in the center of my burgers.

                              2. Salt and freshly ground pepper.

                                Recommendation: if adding onions and/or other vegetables, be sure to saute them before adding to the meat. Raw onions belong on top of the burger. IMNSHO.

                                1. Finely chopped anchovies add both needed salt and a mysterious depth of flavor without making them taste like meatballs. Probably similar to soy sauce. Just that and lots of freshly ground pepper.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: veebee

                                    sounds kinda like spiking with worcestershire...

                                  2. Don't laugh until you try it. . .

                                    Slow roast some garlic cloves until they get to that spreadable stage.

                                    Mush them up and throw as many in the meat as you like.

                                    Then add a fair amount of peanut butter.

                                    Yup. Peanut butter.

                                    You will never even know that it is in there.

                                    But it keeps the meat really moist.

                                    I thought it was a crazy idea, but when I made it everyone loved them.

                                    1. SALSA!!! cha cha cha! and chopped onion and garlic and most improtantly, "Crazy Jerry's" Butt Burner Hot Sauce! Which we are out of.....WAhhhhhhh. Any hounds know how to get it? It's made in Georgia, but I can't find a website for it.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Sweet Pea

                                        Here's one website, but shop around by googling it. Might be able to find a better deal.

                                        Link: http://www.hotnsaucey.com/sauces.html

                                      2. j
                                        Jonathan Saw

                                        This is different than most of the other posts:

                                        I sometimes like to put a slice of Boursin fines herbes in the middle of the hamburger patty (the meat is spiced simply with salt, pepper and a little Old Bay seasoning or Worcestershire).

                                        This also works with slices of compound butter. My favorites are with shallots, garlic or parsley.

                                        Medium to medium rare is best.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Jonathan Saw

                                          Not unusual at all. Strong flavored cheeses tucked into a burger add so much more flavor than a slice of Kraft. Try blue cheese or Feta, too.

                                        2. Okay Hamburger purists are going to laugh me out of town for this, but you gotta hear how my mother-in-law makes 'em:

                                          "Auntie Jean's Supermoist Burgers"
                                          ground beef (Duh...)
                                          wheat germ
                                          bread crumbs
                                          finely ground carrots
                                          minced onion
                                          Noh brand terriyaki hamburger mix

                                          I about died the first time my wife said, "Let's make burgers" and took out all this stuff. But then I tasted them and they are great! You don't even taste the carrots, but they seem to keep the burgers moist even if they stay on the grill a little too long. They also have a nice smooth texture with a slight springy bite, not grainy at all like I thought they would be.

                                          We've even made them for friends and they first made the same face I did until they tasted them. Now they ask us to make the meat when we grill.

                                          1. We adulterate the heck out of our burgers. First of all, the mixture is 1 part ground lamb to one part ground turkey. The lamb gives flavor and moisture, the turkey makes it a little healthier and lighter. Then, we add (in varying quantities)green Tabasco (very mild), salt, pepper, Pickapeppa sauce (oh, but that adds a delicate smokiness and sweetness all at once, an egg or two, and a handful of breadcrumbs. And then we go out onto the backporch and grill those babies up. In the rain.

                                              1. I love fried onions on my hamburger, but they need to cook long and slow to be done right. So when I make my patties for the freezer, I first make a big batched of carmelized onions. After they cool I mix into the meat with some other ingredients. Thos I lean to include some worcester sauce, S&P, garlic, and sometimes some hickory BBQ sauce (good for moisture retention).

                                                1. Dried diced onion. They absorb goodies as they rehydrate. Also in meatloaf. Cheaper than Lipton soup.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: FoodFuser

                                                    Lipton Onion soup should be banned. Even as a childhood memory my body shakes just thinking of all the sodium

                                                  2. My Mom perfected "the perfect burger" for our family in the late 1950s. Actually, it wasn't so much a burger for a bun (but sometimes we ate them that way) but more a burger for knife and fork.

                                                    Mom calls it her "mock filet."

                                                    She starts with high quality ground beef and then added chopped onion, garlic salt, seaaoning salt, Worcestershire. She mixes it by hand and then rolls it lightly into pretty good sized round balls which she then flattens to a bit more than an inch thick. Then she wraps each one with a slice of raw bacon affixed with a single toothpick just so.

                                                    They are then grilled outdoors -- and they are superb!

                                                    I'm a good cook, but as many times as I watched that woman make those through my childhood and as many times as I watched as an adult taking scrupulous notes, I've never, ever been able to replicate them. Not ever. And I've sure tried.

                                                    1. Salt & pepper, egg, garlic and onion powder, chopped onion, smoked cheddar, and whole deep fried tater tots. Cognac if I have it.

                                                      1. Grandma's were the Lipton/mustard/Worcestershire/onion/bread crumb kind which Mom morphed into her meatloaf and made burgers with good beef and salt and pepper.

                                                          1. I put finely minced vegetables in mine; red pepper, shallots, and mushrooms for the most part, some bread crumbs and a little milk, salt and pepper, dry mustard, maybe some basil. I also use a mix of 93% fat free ground beef and ground turkey. For my toppings I love using olive tapenade and fresh spinach.

                                                            The burgers never fail to be moist and totally delicious, and I serve them to guests with rave reviews. Plain burgers ARE boring! Spruce it up!!

                                                            1. I add a little pat of butter to the middle of the ball of meat before forming the patty.

                                                              1. I use bread crumb, egg, and cut in some dried beef broth. Vidallia onions, when in season. I don't exactly make hamburgers (small) out of that, but hamburger steaks (1/2 pounds+) hit the spot.

                                                                I never was one to scoop out a glob of GB, form a patty, and slap it on the grill or in a skillet. Luck was against me to have them fall apart into some chunky mess. Push come to shove, I can get beef patties that is easier to handle, if I really get that desperate.


                                                                1. another variation on turkey burgers (which I agree need something *more*): soy, mirin, chopped scallion (raw is fine!) and sometimes grated ginger, if you have some around.

                                                                  1. Kosher salt, sometimes. Nothing else. Once you start adding herbs it's a meatball, not a burger! In my humble opinion.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: BobB


                                                                      Well, Bob- My take is that meatballs are spherical, even plain. A burger can even be made out of a non-beef product and/or be in reference to on a bun sandwich.


                                                                    2. For beef I'm with the OP and keep it pure, but I agree with everyone else about turkey burgers. I find that some nonfat greek yogurt for binding, along with kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, chopped flat leaf parsely, and worcesthire sauce make one fabulous and moist burger. Rule number one, I think, is to not mix too much or you'll overwork the meat.

                                                                      1. a friend of ours puts fresh blueberries in his burgers. Seriously.
                                                                        I didn't have the nerve to try it. Poor form on my part as a chowhound. I was pregnant at the time and squeamish. Maybe next memorial day, if they make a comeback at the next cookout.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: MaspethMaven

                                                                          I remember reading something in some silly magazine about blueberries supposedly countering possible carcinogens in burgers (I guess because of antioxidants?). Do you think that's why he does it, or is it a taste issue?

                                                                        2. I never add fillings to my 85%Lean Black Angus Burgers. Great meat makes a huge difference. Here's what I add to the outside; granulated onion and garlic, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Then I cook them on high heat on my Big Green Egg Smoker/Grill even in a blizzard snow storm.

                                                                          Cooking on a charcoal fired grill imparts a ton of flavor to the burgers. Try it you'll love it!

                                                                          1. salt, pepper, garlic, onion, worcestershire sauce, mixed with the meat. (maybe some hot sauce)

                                                                            I like to make stuffed burgers now and then, bleu cheese and bacon stuffed burger is my favorite.

                                                                            have tried bbq sauce mixed with the meat several times but I don't like how it cooks.
                                                                            also have tried egg and bread crumbs and dont really like, I only add them if I need to make the gb go farther

                                                                            1. I grew up eating dry burgers. So when I moved to the burbs and bought a grill, I started looking for better burger alternatives. I learned from Steven Raichlen to put a slice of herb butter in the center of the patty. No mixing stuff into the meat-the handling apparently bruises the meat and makes it tough. I gently press the patty around the butter, then sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill. The juiciest burgers ever!

                                                                              1. I cook some hot italian sausage with onions and garlic, let it cool and mix it into my ground round. It is so good.

                                                                                1. I add, salt and pepper, garlic, and a huge squirt of ketchup and then soy sauce.mmmmm.

                                                                                  1. I saw an episode of Julia Child making burgers with Jacques Pepin- the recipe is in the cookbook. She sauteed shallots in butter, then "chopped"/mixed these into the meat, forming a patty as she chopped. Heat & sprinkle the pan with salt & cook- delicious!