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Jan 9, 2012 07:57 AM

burger disaster. need your help.

decided to grind some burgers since i had some left over meat for. Made some brioche, pickles and smocked some cheese.. was ready to go.

I know that chuck and round are the cuts of choice to use.. but i decided to try something different.

Would love an explanation of what i did wrong from you guys.

I had alot of scraps and side chain meat from buying the whole filet at costco from new years. Bought 2 packages and didn't want to make roasts again. I added this with round. I figured i needed to up my fat. So I saw pork skin with fat at the store. Picked this up along with a little beef heart for some extra flavor.

I never grinded burger meat before so I used the process i use for sausage.. froze them a little.. cut into chunks and then mixed them up.

After i was done.. i didnt mix them too much.

formed into patties and they were sticking on a hot pan and crumbly. I figured there was not enough fat. but i added a lot of fat when i was grinding.

Not sure of the ratio but by look alone.. the meat looked a little fattier then the ones i would buy at the store which are a little lean.

I figured it had something to do with the filet.

But i am not sure what.

Is this the result from cooking this cut of meat? or could i have made it work?



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  1. I think maybe you didn't mix the meat into the fat well enough. It sounds like it could work though, if you make certain that your grind is at a rough 80/20 meat/fat ratio, for the blendability and juicy factors. And make sure that whichever animal fat you choose, you grind it on the same hole as the meat. You can grind them together, for all that. I know you don't want to overmix and make it tough, but remember you're starting from square one so the meat can take a little more beating up than it would if you started with already-ground meat. Good luck next time!! Oh, and when those burgers are sizzling away, it's so delicious to top each one with a pat of butter, which adds a delicious flavor and "ups" the moisture factor, too.

    1. Thinking not enough oil on the pan and/or the patties were still cold.

      Your blend is fine (and sounds tasty). The high fat wouldn't help much with the sticking issue unless you rendered it with low heat or the surface was all fat. Still enough meat/protein on the patty to react and stick to the pan.

      1. Your mix sounds fine, although I do think it might need even more fat. But the crumbling issue comes from not griding it fine enough or handling it too gently. For hamburger uses, I triple grind my meat: One pass on coarse and then two passes on fine. This will help it stick together more.

        Everyone always tells you to handle the meat and form the patties gently if you want a tender patty, but I find you really have to beat the meat up a lot to get it to hold together. I'm not a fan of hamburgers that fall apart when you bite into them.

        Also, when I'm not using my griddle, I always use a nonstick pan, because I want the brown bits to stick to the meat, not the pan.

        1. I had alot of scraps and side chain meat from buying the whole filet at costco from new years.

          This was your problem.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ipsedixit

            i have another batch that i froze after grinding.

            Should i regrind these? maybe toss in some more fat ?

            There was enough oil in the pan and the meat was at room temp.- so those werent the issues.

            I couldnt get a sear.. i could only cook at medium temp. I ended up putting them in the oven on parchment so they wouldn't stick.

            ipsedixit- can you explain why thats an issue?

            There was a lot of left over meat from the filet.. not just small scraps

            1. re: lestblight

              Well, what do you mean by "scrap"? Silverskin? Something else?

              How exactly did you "grind" the burgers? Food processor? I usually prefer just to chop up my meat with a cleaver.

              You said in your OP that you had a hot pan, but now you say that you "could only cook at medium temp" -- please explain.

              As a general matter, filet is not a good cut to use for burgers (nor is round for that matter). I usually like a combo of sirloin, chuck and oxtail.

              The addition of pork skin and beef heart is interesting to say the least, but won't really help with keeping the patties together or upping the fat quotient all that much in order to keep the patties together. You need fat that is part of the meat -- not just separate chunks of fat added to the ground meat. Your technique would be great for meatballs (when there additional binders that breadcrumbs or eggs added), not so much for burgers.

          2. Did you heat the pan well before adding the oil? In my experience, not doing this properly causes sticking.

            5 Replies
            1. re: Isolda

              sorry to confuse.

              The scraps were not silverskin or scrap.. I bought the full filet mignon tenderloin roast- cut off my steaks from there and reserved the side chain and ends with plenty fat ,

              i added this with round cut up and trimmed and added pork fat to bring up the ratio.

              and then threw in the trimmed beef heart.

              the meat was half frozen and the blade didnt get tangled with any silver skin or the such.

              I grinded with the kitchen aid attachment for my mixer. I have used it before for sausages successfully.

              I first cooked it on a hot pan for a crust ... but it stuck terribly.. tried about 6 times... added oil, more oil. some salt to the pan, etc

              It would just stick and then crumble.

              I then tried to lower my heat to medium and i got a slower cook, no crust .. this is the way it didnt stick to the pan.

              I decided to cook in the oven so i could cook 8 at a time and speed the process up.

              i was very pleased with the taste of the burger... just not happy with how it cooked.

              thank you for the help.

              1. re: lestblight

                so would you recommend thawing meat from freezer that i already ground? adding more fat and regrinding?


                1. re: lestblight

                  I use the fine grinder for hamburger, not the bigger one which is great for sausage. I have just never had this sticking/crumbling issue. Even when I have made a lean blend! That makes it difficult to imagine what you could do differently.

                  But you might consider using this ground meat for something like meatballs. Sounds like the addition of some egg and milk would give you the right texture and not detract from the great flavor from the meat.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    i guess i can try to regrind in the finer plate and hope for the best !

                    thank you

                    1. re: lestblight

                      Again, I would suggest double-grinding with the fine plate and being a little more assertive when you form your patties. I really think this will solve your problem. Making sure your pan is quite hot and well-oiled will also go a long way.