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Hamburgers make lousy leftovers...and other thoughts

Ever try to reheat a leftover burger the next day....it just doesn't work- the meat tastes like jerkied wild skunk...how can something so delicious change it's character in just a mere 24 hours...But hamburger in it's other forms can be absolutely delicious as leftovers.....for example

1) meatloaf- it can last for days and improves with age, eventually becoming a cold sandwich, smothered with ketchup

2) meatballs- also hold up to father time, and once I tire of them with pasta, will make for a great meatball parmigiana hero

3) Steak- ah burgers in their original form- a reheated steak isn't the best either, but slice it up and make a delicious open-face steak sandwich w/ melted blue cheese

So, why are leftover burgers so lousy and it's other forms so delicious???? Not that I ever plan on burgers being leftover, but sometimes it happens

oh...and leftover hot dogs are even worse, never able to regain their original grandeur

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  1. If not overcooked, cold on bread w/ mayo and green chiles.

    1. Re-heat them gently in sauce of your choice. I like them with Vietnamese fish sauce dipping sauce, then into a baguette with fresh lightly pickled cucumber, carrot and daikon, mayo on one side and pate (o.k. liverwurst) in the other, plus hot peppers.

      1. The leftover offending burger (broken up) can be added to a sautee of onions and garlic and with canned tomatoes plus oregano/basil/red pepper flakes/S & P incorporated later... become the basis for a passable macaroni sauce.

        1. I think the difference between burgers and meatloaf, meatballs, etc. is the desired degree of doneness (unless of course you're a well-done burger eater). When I'm grilling burgers and I know I'll have leftovers, I purposely undercook some of them (for me, rare since I like medium rare). Reheat in the microwave for 1.5 or 2 minutes and they come out just fine.

          Leftover hotdogs, I'm with you on. Tolerable if you cut them up and make franks and beans.

          1. When grilling burgers I sometime make extra, pull them early, freeze them, and micro them back later. Works great.

            1. Burgers don't make good leftovers because once the burger is cooked and has hardened/congealed, it's impossible to get it moist and pliable again. The fat just doesn't move the same way and the texture is both moisture and heat sensitive.

              For meat loaf and meat balls...there's other stuff in there that holds moisture like eggs, pork, bread crumbs, etc. Once reheated, the other ingredients can release moisture. Beef can not once it's been rendered.

              1. Whenever I have leftover hamburgers (esp. of the In-N-Out variety), I chop it up and dump it all in a brown paper bag, throw in some left-over fries (also chopped up), add some ketchup and mustard, toss vigorously, nuke it for about 2-3 minutes.

                Open and eat. Marvelous.

                1 Reply
                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I must infer that this sounds disgustingly delicious!!!! I doubt it works as well with White Castle

                2. Wrap the burger patty completely with bacon and cook it again. It will still be delicious.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: kobetobiko

                    Well, duh! You could wrap a piece of cardboard with bacon and it would be delicious! ;-)

                    1. re: BobB

                      Really? I love reheated burgers and hot dogs, whether cooked on the grill or in the broiler.

                      Lots of ketchup and mustard helps too.

                  2. An 80-year old friend of mine told me her secret for making hamburgers taste good the next day. Cook them on the grill, but don't overcook. The next day, put each burger in a ziplock bag, add a teaspoon or less of water...don't seal, and put in the microwave for 15-30 seconds, check for heat, and continue at 15-second intervals. Amazingly enough, they still taste great, with good texture too!

                    1. Warm the burger in a well sealed high-gauge plastic bag that has had as much of the air as possible removed - immerse the burger bag in hot tap water and run the tap somehwat for a few minutes.

                      Hot tap water is just about the perfect temperature for warming proteins without re-cooking them.

                      Avoid the m-wave.

                      1. I try very hard not to coo more burgers than are required. I've had uncooked leftovers in my fridge on many occasions and have no trouble with them the next day.

                        I've put them on a grater and made taco filling and past sauce. I've also made hot hamburger sandwiches. Not the greatest but a fine application.


                        1. Isn't this how/why sloppy Joe's were invented?

                          2 Replies
                          1. I've always had good luck reheating them, in a covered dish, in the microwave. They steam a little bit and always taste good to me!

                            1. I like cold cheeseburgers without the bun and fixins

                              Cold hot dogs not so much, but grilled ones revive fine with some bacon and some cheese

                              1. Nothing compares to a fresh burger, but I enjoy a burger reheated in the microwave almost as much! With freshly melted cheese, of course

                                1. The only way I find them good eats is cold, dipped in thai chili sauce.

                                  1. I love leftover hamburgers. I get bacon cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomatoes and mayo, but sometimes I get some specialty burger. I take the lettuce and tomatoes off when I get home, and sometime they don't even survive that night, because I will just eat them cold. Other wise I wrap the burger, bun and all, in wax paper, and reheat in the micro at 30-50% depending on the thickness of the burger. It comes out nicely steamed, and juicy. Wish I had one in the fridge right now!

                                    Now if the bun was funky in the first place then I will reheat the meat and eat it like a hamburger steak. Remember those? Only people of a certain generation will, I think.