HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Hamburgers at home

Was wondering about how you fix your burgers at home? We normally have sirloin and ribeyes ground together, and then add a little salt, cracked black pepper and some garlic salt to the meat at home before we grill it. Try to keep it simple, especially with little, finicky eaters still at home.

What do you do differently to "jazz" the burgers up before grilling them?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Take two really thin patties and place a scoop of boursin cheese in the middle. Pinch the edges to seal it well and then grill. You get this garlic-herby cheese sauce in the middle of your burger that just tastes so good. I only do this with the soft cheese spread, though. Any other cheese is better melted on top of the burger.

    http://threedogkitchen.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: leanneabe

      I've done this trick successfully with any kind of blue cheese. To die for. I also add Worchestershire sauce to the meat mix.

    2. I have never tried grinding rib eye and sirloin together to make burgers but my first reaction is that this is way overkill for a burger and unnessarily expensive; you might want to try a "blind" taste test to see if someone can actually identify the burgers made with meat that is $12/lb or more and something less expensive. Personally, my favorite burgers are already formed, frozen patties ( I believe 6 oz. each) that I pick up from a very good butcher and they can be thrown right on the grill from the freezer; cost is about $3/lb.

      1. I must say, the best burger meat at the best price is from Costco. Just mold it and chuck it on the grill. Even my wifey noticed the good taste!

        1. I love burgers inspired by Asian flavours - usually some soya sauce, fresh grated ginger, minced garlic and oyster sauce. Hoisin makes a great BBQ sauce for these.

          I will often sub in ground pork for the beef which is also delicious and often cheaper too.

          My fave topping for these is grilled onions, I slice red onions in thick rounds, season with o.o., salt and pepper and grill next to the burgers (flip once) 'till carmelized and sweet - frikken' awesome!

          1. If you LOVE burgers and you've never tried chopping your own meat at home, you owe it to yourself to try it. It makes a huge improvement in taste and texture. Totally different mouth feel than ground meat. Take equal parts chuck and sirloin. Not too lean. Dice the meat into cubes and then hit it with 10-15 pulses in the food processor. Go easy. You don't want pate or a Black Angus smoothie. Fire up the cast iron skillet under the highest heat... Hssssssss!

            Great tip from Jacques Pepin: Don't salt your burger meat until you take the burgers to the bun. The salt will leech away the moisture from the meat. Y'all already know not to press down on the burgers when they're cooking. That kills me. Anyone who leans on a burger with a spatula should be bannished to gardenburger-tempeh hell!

            Time to go fire up the cast iron!

            3 Replies
            1. re: markp

              Sounds great! Another tip I learned from fellow C'hounders is to add a little bit of water to the ground meat mixture before grilling. It kind of plumps out the meat so it stays quite juicy. I sometimes also add steak seasoning to the mix and the burgers come out really tasty.

              1. re: markp

                I would not have the temerity to disagree with Jacques Pepin, were it not for the fact that Southern Claifornia's Burger Queen Nancy Silverton does, too: burgers, like any other meat, are better for being presalted some time before grilling. What little moisture it may pull from the meat adds to the flavorful crust on the surface, or at least that's how it seems to me.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  This is also Alton's claim. That the salt draws out just enough juices to make the Maillard reaction possible, which means nice browned meat, and that brings flavor to the party. :)

                  I have tested both salted and not, and I go salted every time now.

              2. My methods for making burgers are
                1. Grind your own meat using a meat grinder
                You know what your getting. You don't ever have to worry about ground meat recalls. You can eat your burger medium or medium rare with little if any worry. The texture of fresh ground meat is better than anything from a package.
                2. Keep the fat content around 20%
                Chuck works very well for this and brisket also is a good choice. I often mix the two.

                Now to jazz I also do like leanneabe and add a little cheese in the middle or just dress it up with good toppings.

                1 Reply
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  We started grinding our own meat two years ago and never looked back. We use chuck too. Very tasty.

                2. jfood uses chuck, water and Montreal seasoning. Plus the dimple method.

                  1. I mix ground chuck and ground round 2 to 1 and form into nice thick patties. Press your knuckles into the middle of the patty and they won't "draw up" as much on the grill. I salt mine first with kosher salt and add some coarse ground pepper. Never had a complaint yet. Cook on Weber grill with real lump charcoal.

                    1. For me the "jazz" is in the toppings. I buy ground beef at the grocery store. Usually 93/7 unless I'm feeling really gluttonish. Seasoning is minimal--last ones I made just had some Prime Rib Rub mixed in. I cook them under the broiler, or sometimes in a skillet.

                      Sometimes we like plain toppings, sometimes other stuff. Friday night I made hamburgers, and Mike wasn't feeling well, so he had his plain with a little mayo and some of the sauteed onions I had made. My first one was topped with blue cheese, horseradish, and the sauteed onions and peppers. The second one (I was really hungry, and these were smallish burgers) had salsa and some white Mexican dipping cheese with jalapenos in it. That one was really messy. If I had to pick between the two, they were both good, but the first one was better.

                      1. Chuck has the best flavor in my book. I usually get underblade chuck roast when they're on sale 2 for 1 and have the butcher put it through the grinder twice. Doesn't need anything more than garlic salt and pepper.

                        1. 10-15% ground beef, 2 pounds mixed with a dry packet of Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing mix. Make six fat patties and grill on high about five minutes on each side. Absolutely amazing and this works with 7% turkey as well.

                          1. The OP's got it pretty nailed - K.I.S.S.
                            Instead of the salt and garlic salt, marinate with garlic powder, dried onion flakes and a tsp of Lea & Perrins on each side of the patty for ~30 minutes or while the charcoal in the Weber gets ready.
                            Grill until medium rare. Toast some good buns or English muffins with sharp cheddar cheese and minced jalapenos (for the adults).

                            1. I love the flavour of home made burgers, but I struggle to get the patties to hold together. Any suggestions? I sometimes hand chop my meat (topside), or use a high quality coarse beef mince from my butcher.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Gooseberry

                                Nothing ruins a good burger (and a good time) more that having it crumble or having to pick it off the grill in chunks - I feel your pain! I have a few tips that I've discovered that may help keep your burgers together:

                                *Make sure any additions to the meat mixture are diced as finely as possible (such as onions or garlic).

                                *If grilling NEVER press down on the burgers (you probably already know this), and make sure you cook the first side long enough for the cripsy skin to form on the outside, this is often the case of why burgers break or stick to the grill

                                *I use a wet mixture that I mix first then add the meat to. The flavours vary, but I always use (for every pound of meat) 1 egg beaten, 1 slice bread crumbled (stale bread works great), and 1/4 cup of milk. Aside from helping the proteins bond during the cooking process, this also ensures a juicy burger.

                                *Last but not least, handling! I try to handle the meat as little as possible, to keep it cold and to keep it from breaking down too much. Once the patties are formed, I often lay them flat on a cookie sheet, cover with foil and throw in the freezer for the few mins. it takes to light the BBQ and let it heat up.

                                Good luck - let me know how it goes!

                              2. Nothing.

                                Ground chuck, formed, salt and pepper. Grilled.
                                Yum...nothing but meaty goodness.

                                1. I'm with lots of other posters. Simple. Salted a bit before going on the grill. Grilled. Fresh ground black pepper before going on the bun (or in our case, often served sans bun). Sometimes I'll serve it with bleu cheese for my husband (I just don't like veined cheeses) and maybe some mild cheddar for me, and freshly sliced tomatoes and onions.

                                  1. Ground chuck as the choice of meat.

                                    I throw the meat in a bowl, add salt, black pepper, some hot sauce, worstershire, perhaps some terryaki, and then put a portion of meat on some foil, and make a patty, I fold over the foil, and use that to help to form the patty.

                                    Throw the patty on the screaming hot grill, and cook to medium rare. Served with tomatoes, red onion, mayo, ketchup, and lettuce. Perhaps some cheese, or avocado as well.

                                    In my humble opinion if you start mixing egg, and bread cumbs into a patty it is not really a burger anymore, but meatloaf.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: swsidejim

                                      Well you are entitled you your opinion but meatloaf would have to be in loaf form to be considered meatloaf, would it not? Also, I was offering tips to keep the patties from breaking apart. Adding a protein such as an egg, will assist the bonding process and keep the meat together. I'm assuing you read incorrectly and thought my response was to the original post?

                                      1. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                                        nope didnt read incorrectly, just a general comment about what I feel a burger should be & that mixing in eggs, bread, milk, etc really changes the taste and texture of what a hamburger patty traditionally is, back in the day people were entitled to express their own opinions..

                                        1. re: swsidejim

                                          Once again - not reading! I SAID you are entitled to your own opinion. Scroll up ^^

                                        2. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                                          Just weighing in here, to my mind adding eggs or other binders makes it a meatball, if not in a loaf shape. In any case, I wouldn't call it a hamburger at that point, even if it isn't strictly ball-shaped either.

                                          Does Salisbury steak normally call for fillers/binders?

                                          1. re: Morganna

                                            Actually, eastcoastgirl's ratios are almost exactly my mother in law's excellent meatballs! Not sure where I stand in the meatball/meatloaf/burger debate. I think I'd prefer to have a mainly meat patty, but then, I've had some pretty amazing burger patties which certainly are *not* traditional and *not* just topside and seasonings, but I would still consider amazing burgers - ostrich and beetroot patties, ground pork and bacon patties, beef and chorizo and cilantro patties. Good, good burger times. Thank you to the various people who weighed in on the crumbling/cohesion issue. Will continue to experiment.

                                          2. re: eastcoastgirl_westcoastlife

                                            I don't think additional protein is necessary to hold the meat together. I've never had a hamburger patty fall apart for lack of an egg to bind it.....or breadcrumbs for that matter.
                                            Salt, pepper and some worcestershire sauce is all I use and they always turn out fine.

                                        3. I like to put some crumbled (cooked) bacon in mine. I was reading a thread here the other day about bacon fat/grease, and someone recommended putting some of that in your burger, which sounds great!