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Jun 17, 2007 10:08 AM

The Niki Rothman Method

Hey Hounds
Hey Nik

So intriqued by Niki's post about adding water to her burgers AND being in charge of making burgers for fathers day lunch, I decided to set out a quarter pound of meat as a test burger. All the seasonings were the same. The only difference to this one burger is that I added 1 tablespoon of water to it. It's less that the amount that Niki thought she put in her burgers but it seemed like what she said was way too much.

So the results were.............

It seems this really is a trick. As much as I could, I kept the burges equal. Same amount of cooking time, same condiments, same cheese. The burger with the tablespoon of water in it was much more tender. It seemed to be a bit juicier too. That part still may need more testing.
The bottom line is, next time I make burgers, I'm gonna add water. About a quarter cup to a pound. I have been tossing around the idea of adding beer instead. Perhaps Guinnes.


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  1. "... have been tossing around the idea of adding beer instead. Perhaps Guinnes."

    "By George, I think she's GOT it!

    1 Reply
    1. I missed the original post about the water but that's my secret ingredient too. It really makes a difference. I usually add at least 1/4 cup per lb. meat. This lets me get away with using lean ground beef and it still stays tender.

      Don't know about the beer. I'm not sure I want that flavour. Maybe others do.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Nyleve

        I'm a big fan of only adding things that enhance the beef flavour. Not alter it. However, I'm always willing to experiment with things.


      2. D

        also going to give the water a try next time. once jfood was converted to 1C of water per pound for meatballs it was only a matter of time.

        4 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          How is jfood able to form meat balls with the mixture being so loose??


          1. re: Davwud


            one time the mixture was too loose and jfood added a little more dry's, bread crumbs. then the trick was plastic gloves. the jfoods use these a lot and jfood found that the plastic sanitary gloves seem to allow for a "cleaner" meatball.

            1. re: jfood

              I can see that. I sometimes will get fat caked onto my hands after a while if I'm not working quickly enough. I suppose that doesn't happen to jfood.


              1. re: Davwud

                without the cafeteria gloves it absolutely happened all the time. once jfood placed the gloves on the paws, the fat did not build up at all, the meatballs sorta glided around the plastic while they were formed. jfood would never go back to naked-hands for meatballs again, way to frustrating.

          1. re: renov8r

            I grind the meat with ice added.

            1. re: wally

              My dad used to do this for a while - put ice chips inside the patties. Worked well if I recall correctly.

          2. Niki/Davwud

            Fondest thanks from Jfood on the water in the burger trick. Jfood just finished two of the greatest hamburgers. Blended 1.25 pounds of 90% meat with 5 Tablespoons of water, a little S&P and garlic powder. Onto the grill, quick flip, onto a couple of whole wheat buns with cheese and ketchup. Then the treat. First bite jfood knew you guys had hit a grand slam. Two nice cheeseburgers later, jfood was a Cheeseburger in Paradise.

            Great idea, thanks sooooooo much. :-)))))))))

            3 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              I'm glad jfood liked it. Nik thinks jfood needs more water though. I'm planning on doing the full half cup/pound next time.


              1. re: Davwud

                that was jfood original plan on the drive home from the grocer and posted as such. but got to thinking that the 1C from the meatball theory was good because of the breadcrumbs to absorb that amount of h2o. jfood had 1.25 pounds and started w 3T, not enough, 4T's, not enough, 5T's seemed to give a decent consistency and the burgers formed nicely (even without cafeteria gloves). Will increase a little next time to find the right balance.

                BTW - the meat was 90% sirloin which normally makes a dry burger (but healthier) so with the water the doctor is happy and jfood is happy.

                1. re: jfood

                  And it doesn't get much tastier than sirloin either.