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Adding chicken skin to ground chicken for a juicy chicken burger

I want to make a simple juicy chicken burger much like I make a simply juicy beef burger, by introducing fat. Is it a good idea to grind some of the skin along with the chicken leg/thigh meat? Am I thinking about this the wrong way?

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  1. It's a great idea and it's a perfect way to add in some chicken flavor as opposed to pork or beef fat. Remember to keep everything super, super cold and it will grind better.

    1. If you're using leg and thigh meat, I think it's going to be plenty moist. Here's my favorite recipe:

      http://www.chow.com/recipes/11988

      As far as grinding the skin, I think there would be a problem with it just wrapping around various moving parts but I don't know that. I also suspect that it would cook up so differently than the chicken itself. Just my opinion.

      5 Replies
      1. re: c oliver

        Probably a good idea to chop it up into several pieces, you're right. Chicken skin is a common ingredient in chicken or rabbit sausage - thing of that nature.

        1. re: c oliver

          Couldn't find a butcher who would grind the skin for me. :(

          Thanks for the feedback everyone!

          1. re: bmorecupcake

            Maybe invest in a grinding attachment for the kitchen aid if you have one? Not sure how strong they are but if it works it could be easy to do.

            1. re: bmorecupcake

              Ah, I also assumed you were grinding your own. If you DO have a KA stand mixer, the grinding attachment is a great investment.

            2. re: c oliver

              If it was frozen I think it would grind pretty well.

            3. chicken skin is a great guilty pleasure and i wouldn't do anything with it than fry it golden brown - much to the disdain of the cardiologist. chicken skin is unhealthy, fatty, supposed to take forever to digest, and incredibly delicious. my favorite part of the bird!

              8 Replies
              1. re: epabella

                I absolutely love this post.

                There is nothing better than a perfectly friend piece of chicken. I would often pull the skin off to eat the meat first and savor the skin last. Ahhhhh....

                1. re: cityhopper

                  Imagine a chicken burger topped with a piece of crispy fried chicken skin...like bacon, but possibly better.

                  1. re: QueenB

                    "burger topped with a piece of crispy fried chicken skin"

                    i will happily steal this idea if you don't mind, QueenB. brilliant!!!! if the evil-evil arches ever come up with this, we'll tell morgan spurloch the idea started here and they just ripped us off.

                2. re: epabella

                  Chicken skin is not unhealthy, nor is fat as long as the chicken's pasture-raised. Chow down to your heart's content.

                  1. re: MandalayVA

                    Well now... let's not start spreading rumors or half-truths. Chicken in general certainly does better raised in a natural setting (pasture) where it can eat bugs and grass, but the fact that a particular chicken is pastured does not mean that the fat is better or worse for you. Fat is fat and if you sit down to a soup bowl full of melted schmaltz it's still not going to be good for you. There's no fine line where skin/fat on one chicken is bad bad bad and skin/fat from another chicken is considered the best health food on the planet.

                    I'm well aware that I'm taking some of your comments out of context, and I do know what you're saying; we should all attempt to eat more responsibly raised meats.

                    1. re: Fuller

                      If you sit down to a bowl of schmaltz you probably won't eat for a couple days because you'll be satiated, but you're not going to keel over or get fat. Now the matzoh balls in the schmaltz ... well, that's another story.

                      1. re: Fuller

                        i agree but let's get the terminology right: poultry is either INTENSIVELY REARED or FREE-RANGE, while cattle and sheep graze in the PASTURE (ofcourse brave heroic chickens with no fear of being trampled underfoot can frolick alongside the larger animals).

                        "research by the highly regarded Professor Michael Crawford and colleagues at London Metropolitan University has shown that chicken - whether battery farmed or organic - is no longer a lean choice. They compared 52 chickens from various supermarkets and found that there were three times the calories coming from fat as from protein." http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/blog/058-c...

                        my top culinary god hugh fearnley-whittingstall is dedicated towards higher welfare for all the animals we eat and his chicken-out campaign is the pinnacle of free-range evangelization: http://www.chickenout.tv

                        chicken skin regardless of source is not remotely as healthful as chicken meat. pound-for-pound, chicken skin hardly provides the amount of nutrition and contains an alarming fat content - almost forty five percent! cooked golden brown though, chicken skin is unrivaled in flavor and texture and i'm eating it till the coroner pronounces me.

                  2. Add finely chopped, sauteed mushrooms and some goat cheese into the patty and you'll have a juicy chicken burger without the hassle.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: penthouse pup

                      We add in finely chopped white or red onion and jalapeno pepper to ground turkey as well as yolk of an egg. Our turkey burgers are never dry. And cook with a GFG, (George Foreman Grill) The liquid inparted as steam from the onion and jalapeno while cooking, along with the yolk keep the ground turkey burger very moist. I imagine this would work with ground chicken as well. There are any variety of vegetables, chopped, you could use in ground chicken/turkey to help impart a moistness.

                    2. This may sound weird, but maybe if you added around 2 tbsp of mayo per pound of ground chicken, it may keep it moist.

                      I did this as a lark when I was making my Greek meatballs and didn't have my usual yogurt or sour cream to add to the mix - which I believed that dairy would tenderize the meat while it was frying. (Which does work, btw.)

                      The bottom line is this - my local market grinds their pork (I use pork instead of lamb) really lean. Mayo is oil and eggs, so I thought it might work. It did.

                      And, you wouldn't have to deal with trying to grind the chicken skins. Might work, can't hurt to try it out, I guess.

                      1. To keep chicken/turkey burgers moist without adding fat, mix in some ice chips.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cheesecake17

                          ice chips? seriously? how many other hounds have used this method? because if this really works, i'm going to freeze a batch of chicken and beef stock to make ice-chips to add to my poultry and beef burgers.

                          1. re: epabella

                            My grandma swears by it for turkey burgers. Some tv chef was talking about it... so she tried it.

                            1. re: cheesecake17

                              ok then, i'll do it. thanks in advance if this works.

                              but all the same, why have any burger if one was avoiding fat? in my book, lard is probably unrivaled as something to keep meat moist as it cooks. butter would be a close second.

                              1. re: epabella

                                Because excessive fat is unhealthy. And I like the taste of turkey/chicken burgers.

                            2. re: epabella

                              I once tried this and it did NOT work. I found the burgers tasted water-y and steamed. They had no crust. I remember thinking at the time that it might have worked on an outdoor bbq (I, sadly, don't have one of those), but on my stovetop, it was a huge disappointment. That's just my 2 cents.

                          2. I see nothing that could harm your burgers by grinding up some skin along with the meat. Just don't overdo it. Thigh/leg meat is usually fairly moist, not like white meat is. Are you sure it isn't already moist enough? Beef burgers are said to be optimal with about 20% of it fat, so the same rule of thumb might be applicable in your case, with chicken.

                            Remember, though, that chicken meat is lots more delicate than beef meat, so it should cook through faster - but it can also dry out rapidly, even if you DO add fat. What you might want to try is to cook the chicken burgers, covered, till done all the way through. Then remove the cover, adding oil to the pan if need be, and browning it to your preference. This may require you to remove the burgers, so you can reduce the pan liquids until it starts to sizzle (then you know the pan liquid is almost entirely oil) - and THEN replace your burgers for the browning phase. Hope this helps.

                            But I've got a much BETTER way for you to use that chicken skin! Try this if you love the taste of skin on fried chicken, and don't mind going to heaven a bit early.

                            Chop raw chicken skin into medium-small pieces. Get a good-sized frypan and begin to cook them dry - no oil needed - until the fat in the skins renders out. You will likely have to drain off oil, because as it accumulates, it inhibits crisping up of the skins. What you are making is effectively a "chicken version" of fried pork rinds. Most of the fat is GONE, and the flavor of fried chicken is yummy. There's much less fat on these than on the crispy skin you love on fried chicken. You can use these to top salads, or almost any vegetable dish, and it's particularly glorious on sandwiches, particularly chicken ones. Too many possibilities to count.

                            That is, if you can keep the kitchen predators from eating it as fast as it goes on the paper towels to drain. They're scrumptious, all by themselves, with only a touch of salt. I recommend a very HIGH storage place, preferably in a safe! They'll smell them cooking and come to the kitchen like moths to a flame.

                            I sterilize a jar, and when the drained-off oil is cool enough not to break it, but still close to the boiling point of water, I pour the hot oil into the jar and seal it. It can be used instead of butter or oil, when you're sauteeing foods where a chicken-y taste would be welcome. Or to enrich soups or sauces, again with that same flavor. Mine has kept for months, even after opening it, on the shelf, as long as I keep it sealed.

                            I live in Mexico. A store called "Puritan Poultry" (probably a branch of the American company of that name) has fantastic poultry, but they will also give me, FREE of charge, big bags full of bones and trimmings (for chicken stock!) as well as bags full of skin stripped off at customers' request. So mine are free. And the bones, after being cooked into scrumptious broth, usually still have enough meat on them to give me a chicken sandwich or two - again free!

                            So NEVER throw out chicken skins! Save them in a bag in the freezer till you have a pound or more, and then fry it up! If you have freezer space, never throw out any bones and other trimmings, either. Chicken broth, homemade, is marvellous, and is called for in countless recipes. A Jewish lady I knew clued me in to a secret for making outstanding chicken broth: chicken feet! If you can get them, scrub them most thoroughly, and toss 3-4 of them in the kettle with the bones. She swears that the resulting broth is spectacular.

                            I also read once that the best chicken salad is made when the farmer decides his rooster is too long in the tooth. He gives his life for the food chain in a manner befitting his dignity and respect: chicken salad. Somehow this meat is tastier by far than the usual kind.