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Best Burger Patties for Grilling

We have had several threads on the best hot dogs in GTA for home use, but this inevitably goes nowhere,as there is no consistent supply of good dogs here.

Hamburger patties for home grilling is quite another matter. There are good butchers grinding their own, or even your selection of beef. (I'd like to know the best of this group.)

There are apparently good frozen patties from PC, but my own experience is shrinkage, and too much commercial spicing, sometimes with hydrolysed soy or milk fillers.

Cumbrae's has fine patties just under $3, but bland to my taste.

Metro has just introduced patties from 100% prime rib. Very good, lots of fat content, but ultimately bland. They also have Certified Angus patties, slightly cheaper and less fatty, but still lacking a good beef flavour.

I have just received Perfect Steak patties, about $2.75 each. Haven't tried them yet. This an online source, shipped in dry ice from Waterloo.

Best beef taste by quite a margin was www.beefconnections.ca It comes frozen in 1 lb packages, about $2 each. Unfortunately the next delivery to GTA is in June, but I'll probably order a 25 lb box. These are the only burgers I have tasted with a really good beef flavour, much like a dry aged steak.

What else is out there for good patio grilling this summer?

1636 Bayview Ave, Toronto, ON M4G, CA

481 Church St, Toronto, ON M4Y, CA

Cumbrae's Of Dundas
6 King St W, Dundas, ON L9H, CA

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  1. Summerhill Market does a number of varieties of patties, including lamb, chorizo, beef (seasoned or unseasoned), and the various poultries. Nicely seasoned and well sized, available fresh or frozen.

    1. The best premade burger patties I've had were the "Kobe" beef burgers from Oliffe. I don't know whether these have survived two recent ownership changes, but they were great last summer.

      PC has sold frozen prime rib burgers for several years. They are one of the most highly rated PC products (though only a handful of reviews, all were good). I didn't find them too exciting myself.

      I'm more likely to use ground chuck where I have the option. When I can find medium Certified Angus at 50% off, I'll go with that. I intend to try grinding a mix of short rib and chuck at some point this summer.

      Both PC and the NZ Lamb people sell frozen lamb burger patties that are decent, but they cant compare to plain ground lamb seasoned by me.

      In extremis, for a fast, cheap meal, I keep some Licks frozen patties on hand. While these are inedible at Licks, they are much better cooked rare at home. It takes about 3 minutes over the infra red.

      8 Replies
      1. re: embee

        I'm guessing lamb shoulder meat would grind nicely. What spicing? (I admit to an inordinate fondness for Montreal Chicken!)

        1. re: jayt90

          Lamb shoulder is best for grinding. But it's a lot tougher to find in Toronto. Even the frozen stuff from New Zealand, it's tough to locate piece of boneless shoulder. Don't get me wrong, I know where to get it, but it's usually not there when I need it.

          Anyhow, seasonings that work best are a mix of middle eastern and indian. Coriander (the herb and the powder), fresh mind, cumin, turmeric, chili paste (harissa), etc.

          But lamb with just salt and pepper makes a nice burger as well.

          I'm not a fan of the frozen PC lamb burgers. They just look funny when you cut them open and there's a weird taste to them.

          Oh, and the frozen ground lamb from NZ, it's too lean.

        2. re: embee

          Have you tried the PC Angus pre-made patties? I've bought some of the steaks in the styrofoam packaging and they were good. I wonder if the pre-made patties are any good. Probably too lean.

          Where do you get your short ribs? On occasion, at the Leslie Loblaws, I've picked up some nice ones, with good marbling. I haven't ground any, though. I have, however, bought the boneless blade steaks or blade roasts for grinding. The results have been good.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            I've found a consistent problem with the PC burger patties. They have little slits punched all over them. These make it very difficult to get a burger seared outside and rare within. I haven't tried the Angus.

            I don't have a go-to place for short ribs. I pick up a batch when they look nice and have the amount of marbling that I want. With short ribs, this can be anywhere. I tend to go for a thick flanken cut, finding that the Asian/Miami grilling ribs are too thin for long cooking but too chewy for quick grilling (though a Korean marinade does help with this). I've found good ones at Loblaws, T&T, Nortown, Galleria, and many other places.

          2. re: embee

            Oliffe still has the Kobe burgers alongside their regular prime beef burgers. Recently, they've added a turkey burger (and sausage) which feature leeks sauteed in duck fat - yum!

            1. re: embee

              I looked at frozen burgers at Loblaws today, but there was nothing compelling. There was no prime rib burger in the section, but there was ground sirloin. It was low fat, high protein, and with only one additive, skim milk, $11/kg.
              Bison burger had a long list of additives and fillers, at $12/kg.
              PC Angus had a few fillers as well, $11/kg.
              So did Licks, so I passed on the packaged hype.
              The regular PC juicy burger had no additives other than spices, and was the best choice (chuck from Grade A meat) at $6.61/kg.) of the lot.

              Kirkland 100% sirloin will still be my goto frozen patty, at $9/kg.

              I didn't leave Loblaws (Liverpool Road ) empty handed. They had a group of beef tongues at 50% off, so I snagged one at $11. There are still 7 or 8 there.

              1. re: jayt90

                Are you just describing the frozen varieties at Loblaws?
                They have the fresh PC Angust burgers too, they look all right, if a little lean.

                Oh, and are those tongues ending up on the smoker?

            2. Costco has Kirkland brand frozen patties. They're 100% beef, nothing else. A little steak seasoning on them and they're pretty tasty. That's what I would do for frozen.
              I almost never cook a burger at home that I didn't make though.


              5 Replies
              1. re: Davwud

                I'd forgotten about those patties; they are 100% sirloin and come in a tube shaped bag which is easier to store than a box. (A box is a better storage device to avoid freezer burn however.)

                  1. re: Davwud

                    Also at Costco but in my opinion, better, are the Roadhouse burgers. They are the ones that are sort-of shaped like a flower. Huge & juicy straight from frozen onto the bbq.

                    1. re: Davwud

                      These are the ones my parents always buy and they are the best frozen burger patties I've ever had.

                1. For frozen patties I liked the all beef burgers from the Butcher Shoppe. The Kirkland sirloin burgers would be a close second.

                  Fresh, I pick up the pre-formed patties from Costco. It's the same unit price as their packaged ground beef (not the tubes) and saves me the trouble of portioning out the patties. They might be a bit large for some (12 patties were around 2.7kg total weight) but I like 'em that way.

                  1. I had some excellent burgers, think they were sirloin, from Just an Olde Fashioned Butchery in Oakville. A very course grind, full of steak flavour. Delicious.

                    1. Ground chuck - sirloin not enough flavour – Healthy Butcher is good.

                      Add salt (and pepper if desired) and then fold so salt is inside burger. Don't manipulate meat too much and that is it. Pure beefy yum!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Sui_Mai

                        Chuck is great for burgers, I also like ground brisket (but you sadly pay a premium for it in Canada). I find sirloin has plenty of flavour. One of my favourite cuts is the tri tip which has a rich, beefy flavour. Again, it's another cut you tend to pay a premium for in Canada (at least in Toronto).

                        1. re: Dr Butcher

                          Ya, I think Sirloin is a great cut of meat flavour wise. Tri tips and my favourite steak is a top sirloin.


                          1. re: Davwud

                            I've not tried them, YET, but I've heard that the Cabbagetown butcher has fantastic ready made burgers.

                            1. re: millygirl

                              That would be St Jamestown Steak & Chops and that would be accurate.

                              1. re: Googs

                                Yes, that's it! Thanks Googs. I must get in there one of these days but where to park??

                                1. re: millygirl

                                  If you need to pick-up wine to go with your burger (and who doesn't really) the LCBO is right next door. They have about 4 parking spots to their south side.

                          2. re: Dr Butcher

                            Re tri tip avail/cost in TO: I know and it's ubiquitous and cheap the last time I was in California. I even find flank steak overly priced here too. weird.

                            1. re: Sui_Mai

                              Tri tips from Whiteevens at SLM. Not cheap but very good.


                        2. I quite like the PC fresh Angus burgers -- they're almost as good as my own, and way faster to make :)

                          I've bought the healthy butcher burger - they were tasty and very beefy. But a little expensive for a burger.

                            1. I like lamb burgers. Any suggestions on the best place for ground lamb. I have tried the guy in K Market on Kensington St. Not so great - lotsa blood. Supermarket is okay. Just wondering if there are any standout places. Maybe in Greektown?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sui_Mai

                                Greektown. There's a butcher, forget the name, on Pape south of Danforth.

                                Or any middle eastern grocery store.

                                The pre-ground stuff at No Frills, fresh not frozen, is pretty good. Except it's a bit on the lean side.

                              2. I just tried "Wagyu" burgers at Bruno's at Avenue and Wilson. $10.99 a pound. Four burgers cost $23.00. Was really looking forward to them. BBQ'd them this evening....nothing special at all. Impercebtible seasoning, if any. No perceptible difference as a result of the "wagyu". I assume that they are not 100% Wagyu in any event, but whatever Wagyu they did put in made no difference at all. Just tasted like a decent, well sized burger, but would never buy it again.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Teffub

                                  I recently had hamburger in Kobe, made of ground A5 Kobe rib steak. It was incredible (and thankfully, I wasn't footing the bill).

                                  Every wagyu burger I've had in Canada has been markedly worse than burgers I make at home from non-wagyu beef, and far worse than the burger at Bymark, which is ground USDA prime striploin. It seems more like a marketing gimmick than a tentative to produce a burger that utilizes the strength of Wagyu beef -- kind of like "extra lean ground wagyu" or something.

                                  1. re: Teffub

                                    How done were they? (Rare, medium rare...)

                                  2. I just tried the fresh prime rib patties from Metro. The problem is that they are pure meat with no seasoning. Since these are industrially formed patties, the lack of any seasoning is a problem. While leaving out the various flavour enhancers is hardly a flaw, they should have added some salt to the meat.

                                    Out of the package, they were juicy and meaty, but (as you note) totally bland. They contained an adequate amount of fat, which is unusual these days.

                                    I tried sprinkling some Lester's steak spice and various other spices over each surface. I used a fork to force the spices & salt into the patties. Then I doubled the (already reasonably thick) patties to ensure flavour in the center.

                                    The patties wouldn't stay together, so I brushed some egg white around the edges, pressed the patties together again, and put them in the fridge to dry. This was successful, and the burgers - grilled rare - were juicy and quite delicious, with the blandness gone. Another batch, with shredded cheese between the layers, was even better.

                                    So these definitely get my vote for best supermarket burger, but it was more work to get these right than to start with a bowl of plain ground beef.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: embee

                                      Could you season the patties, break them down and reform them before cooking??
                                      Of course at this point, you may as well just buy ground beef.


                                    2. I have to say that I am a big fan of the burgers at Rowe Farms. Frozen @ 6 for around $10 or fresh for around $3 each.

                                      1. My favorites would be Elk burgers or the Piedmontese beef burgers.
                                        Antelope is pretty good too.

                                        1. PC Blue Menu Thick and Juicy Burgers...are in fact thick and juicy and low in fat..a win, win, win situation

                                            1. Had to pipe in -

                                              gasparro's are homemade and are the best i've bought.

                                              better than any box-store pc, better than bruno's by far,
                                              and better than white house or bloor meat market which are near my place.

                                              The spicing is amazing, plus they hold their size when grilled.
                                              juicy as hell. my guests can't get enough.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: dannyboy

                                                One of my good grilling buddies keeps telling me about Gasparro's. I must make the trip.

                                                1. re: Googs

                                                  Lotsa love for Gasparro's eh? These guys sound like a great business. Just read a nice quick piece on them on blog.to:

                                                  I've often walked past on my Fiesta Farms-to-the-LCBO jaunt and seen that "Pround to Support Local Farmers" sign but always *after* loading up at FF. I'll give it a go for sure now. Maybe burgers tonite while it's still nice and warm out!

                                              2. The Healthy Butcher sells several types of patties for grilling daily. Usually there is one or two beef options and then lamb and/or poultry. They rotate the various flavours/types they sell. My favourite is a beef one that has bacon and cheddar mixed into the patty already. Can't recall what they named it but I seem to recall it was named after a singer or something like that.

                                                In addition to grinding the beef in house to achieve a nice consistency and fat content they use their own house smoked bacon in the patties I mentioned above. Their house smoked bacon is quite literally the best bacon I have ever had, pick up more and throw it on top with even more cheddar (or some oka) for a truly classic and decadent burger experience.

                                                They also make a vindaloo lamb burger patty from time to time which is just the right balance of sweet lamb meat and spicy indian flavours.

                                                It is not the cheapest options in the city, probably coming in at $3.00-$5.00 per patty depending on the type you get, but you are definitely not disappointed with the product.

                                                4 Replies
                                                1. re: JPJ

                                                  You've probably caused the destruction of a number of computers through your activation of the salivary glands. Sounds good. I've tried the Healthy Butcher burger(rather, one of them) and though it was pretty darned good. Somewhat prefer the Summerhill burger.

                                                  1. re: Snarf

                                                    The HB does a pretty tasty burger - and they have that Charlevoix blue to top it too! Delish.

                                                    Also... have y'all seen the Leslieville Cheese Shop opening soon a coupla doors down from it? Good times.

                                                    1. re: Snarf

                                                      Never tried the Summerhill burgers, but after reading the positive reviews here, it has made "the list".

                                                    2. re: JPJ

                                                      The Healthy Butcher does rotate their burgers, but always carry a basic beef burger. I think it is called 'Mamma" something or other... Don't know exactly, but I usually go for for their 'flavor' or special option, I recall once having a 'cinnamon toast crunch' burger (based on the breakfast cereal) It was strangely one of the best burgers ever.

                                                      This week they had Elk,
                                                      mighty tasty with a thuet pretzel roll/bun
                                                      Don't recall exact amount but it must of been $4-5 a patty? very much worth it IMO

                                                    3. Have tried the Costco (great flavour but delicate to grill without breaking) and Roadhouse (just OK).

                                                      My favourite are the frozen burgers drom European Meats on Jutland Road in Etobicoke. You can try them at their snack bar before puchasing if you wish. Come in various sizes from 3oz to 8oz or even larger- my preference is the 5oz burger. Has added ingredients but has a great beef flavour, does not dry out cooking, and holds together exceptionally well on the BBQ.

                                                      It is absolutely imperative that they be completely thawed before cooking otherwise the juices get trapped inside the frozen areas as they cook and they are mushy. Comes in 10 lb packages and the 5oz package has 32 burgers for about $27 so are very reasonably priced relative to some options listed here.

                                                      1. Frozen Angus burgers from Costco......barbecued with a little Bacon Salt..you'll ever have them any other way!