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May 31, 2009 08:13 PM

what is a really good hamburger??

Some say that a burger should taste like beef only? Some say that the toppings make the burger.....and i say that all apply as long as it is cheap because that is all about, homemade home food

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  1. You're going to get all kinds of definitions of a really good burger - everybody has an opinion. I agree that "all apply" - but I don't agree that it has to be cheap. Most burgers are indeed cheap enough - but a Wagyu burger, done right, can really show you what a great burger can be. I think I'd rather make a list of what a great burger can't be:

    Well done or anything above medium rare.
    Dry (which would include the above).
    Lean. (Best is a mixture of chuck and sirloin at 70/30 lean)
    Too small - although slyders are fine for what they are, a full sized burger needs to be 1/3 to 1/2 lb.
    Have too much filler. I use no breading or other filler at all, but will allow for other folks to enjoy theirs that way. But too much breading makes it a meat loaf or a meatball, not a hamburger.

    4 Replies
    1. re: applehome

      no filler are almost a givin,but what about ground bacon in the beef??or onions

      1. re: pikiliz

        Did that this weekend. Crumbled some bacon into 70/30 mixture, didn't have any cheese around so I topped with a little Bleu Cheese dressing when done. I'm a bacon freak, and usually top my burgers with a few slices, but adding it into the meat worked out really good.

      2. re: applehome

        I don't get the whole Kobe or Wagyu burger trend. I do think Kobe beef, in certain applications, is fantastic. But the whole point of it is the marbling. It's famous for the high levels of muscular fat. None of the breeds lumped together as Wagyu are especially known for fuller flavored, beefier meat, and this is exacerbated by production methods that aim to increase fat content. High fat content in a burger is essential - and I agree completely with you that 70% is the only way to fly - but once it is ground, there's no marbling. If you take two batches of ground meat with identical fat content, one from a Wagyu breed and one from a beefier breed - say a North Devon or a Randall - what quality is it that makes the Wagyu preferable to you?

        1. re: danieljdwyer

          Actually, I agree with you. But I have had a couple of excellent "wagyu" burgers in my time, and of course they were expensive. So in response to the OP's comment about cheapness, I wouldn't throw out consideration of a wagyu burger as a good burger, just because it's somewhat more expensive.

          The lesser cuts from a US Wagyu cattle are not necessarily that expensive. Snake River Farms sells briskets, for example, quite reasonably. So why do these restaurants charge $10 for a Wagyu chuck/rump ground meat patty? Obviously, because they can!

      3. no fillers
        juicy, flavorful, medium-rare beef
        toppings that accentuate but do not overwhelm the beef
        a bun that does the burger justice
        either really interesting or extremely classical (at odds, i know)
        contrasting textures/ flavors (salty/sweet, crunchy/juicy/soft, etc)

        and i know i'm prob missing a lot

        1. Boy am I going to catch hell for saying this, but I like my hamburgers to be cooked all the way through- no pink at all! They can still be juicy- just not bloody, and tenderness isn't really an issue with hamburgers, so why not cook 'em?

          When I make burgers, I think that what makes 'em wonderful is that I never compact them too much, never press down on them while cooking, and pretty much always cook them on the grill- though a cast iron skillet does a damn good job.

          8 Replies
          1. re: Clarkafella

            I agree with not packing the patty,but well done ? well i was going to say no way but I have had a burger from Jacks Old fashioned Hamburger here in S. Florida and it is well done squared and is still pretty good but i do thinl med-rare is a little better

            1. re: Clarkafella

              why is it that all my southern friends like their meat (burgers, steaks, etc...) well done! maybe it's a survival instinct in warm weather... bacteria grows faster in the heat? :)

              1. re: Clarkafella

                I'm with you, no pink for me either. I now only use ground chuck, all I add is salt and I a pureed onion. That's it and even with no pink it is juicy and flavorful.

                1. re: hummingbird

                  20% fat and flame broiled with just a slice of American cheese...

                2. re: Clarkafella

                  I'm with you-I hate my burgers anything under med-well.

                  1. re: Clarkafella

                    You won't catch any hell from me clarkafella. Rare ground beef has too much uncooked fat in it to be good. Anyway, for me there are two really good hamburgers:

                    Diner-style. Two very thin patties - just chuck, salt, and pepper - squashed onto a skillet or griddle and fried crispy/well-done. Served on cheap white bun with a slice of American cheese melting between the patties, onion, pickle, ketchup, and yellow mustard.

                    Cookout style. One patty about 3/4 inch thick, mixed with diced onions, worchestershire, various spices. Grilled until firm and light pink in the middle Served on a kaiser roll with pepper jack or sharp cheddar, tomato, pickle, lettuce, and brown mustard.

                    1. re: RealMenJulienne

                      "Rare ground beef has too much uncooked fat in it to be good."

                      Kobe beef sashimi - mmmm


                      (upper left

                      Or a delicious fatty Yu Kwe - Korean style beef tartare with a raw egg, sliced pare, nori - served ice cold.

                      yeah... too much uncooked fat in it to be good...

                      1. re: applehome

                        A rare, marbled, whole-muscle steak is one thing and pasty, ground-up beef fat is quite another. I'll reserve judgment on Yu Kwe because I haven't tried it yet, but it doesn't seem like something I'd enjoy.

                  2. My preference: good meat with enough fat, chuck or chuck/sirloin, patted just tightly enough to hold together, then seasoned and left at room temperature for at least half an hour. Cooked on a flat grill, skillet or grill pan quickly at a high temperature; flame-grilled OK but not preferred, to medium-rare. Cheese? I prefer sharp cheddar. Focaccia bun from Trader Joe's, lightly toasted. Good tomato or none, very thin slices of onion, leaf lettuce, maybe pickle, mustard and mayo. I do not like the meat either underdone or overdone, though given the choice I'll go for over, and don't understand why anyone would serve a burger on a bun that goes to mush instantly.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Will, it sounds perfect, except for the

                      --- MUSTARD ! ! ???

                      (I belong to the No-Ketchup-On-Hotdogs and No-Mustard-on-Burgers religion.)

                      1. re: Sharuf

                        Seems Will has southern roots. Down here in Texas, Burger King did a mustard whopper special.

                        1. re: James Cristinian

                          Midwestern, ackcherly. Every sandwich originating from the Owen household (except peanut butter, of course) was spread with butter and mustard on one slice, mayonnaise on the other. Burgers were not typically buttered, and hot dogs didn't count. And the hot dog was the only item on which ketchup was used!

                          Mom even made a hamburger casserole dish that was two big patties in a round casserole, spread with mustard, and with onions and carrots sandwiched between. We had this with baked potatoes, and I loved it... but I think that's one I've outgrown!

                          1. re: James Cristinian

                            I should also add that most burgers I get here in SoCal come with mustard already on them, so I can't be TOO weird!

                      2. IMO, the beef patty should be able to stand on it's own, cooked MR, juicy, fresh bun that adds value and texture to the beef and fresh never frozen beef. I prefer ground chuck.