Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Kosher >
Mar 11, 2012 06:30 PM

Kosher hamburger texture??

Dear CH kosher klatsch-

I have gotten fantastic ideas from this board, and so I wonder if you can give me your advice on a dilemna. I am moving toward keeping kosher, having given up pork and shellfish, but am having a hard time switching certain foods. Hamburger seems to be one of them. In the past, I made my (nonkosher) hamburgers using 80/20 (meat to fat ratio) ground beef (not specific to a particular cut), fairly thick (like maybe 1") and I cook them to medium rare, which gave them a juicy tender texture. Cooking my kosher burgers the same way has left me with a very tough texture, even though they are still fairly juicy. I use the kosher meat from Costco- it's Solomon's brand. I have had other kosher burgers in restaurants that also seem to have this very tough texture- I don't know if it's the kosher cuts that have a characteristic texture, or if it's the brand, or if it's something I'm doing. Would adding a panade (like bread moistened with soymilk or almond milk) help? What can I do to make the texture more tender??? It will be very hard to get my household to endorse the move to kosher unless I can provide the same deliciousness factor-- most things have done well, but this one is a stumbling block. Can you help???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I add 1 egg for each pound of meat and some bread crumbs (Jason's are kosher), ketchup and either steak sauce or teriyaki sauce. This makes it flavorful and juicy. I add chopped onion if I want to bake it into a meat loaf.
    I can't tell you exact proportions of bread crumbs or other flavorings. I know by the feel.

    Everyone likes my hamburgers.

    1. You can use bread...doesn't even have to be crumbs or dried out bread to soften the texture of your burgers, and there's not even need for a soaked bread panade or egg. I've even used coarsely crumbled mazto. It works great. You don't even need to add anything else (although I do sometimes like just a bit of chopped fresh onion or even some caramelized onion mixed inn). When I use bread, I take a fresh slice and pulse it in the food processor, not too coarse and not too fine. And you don't need a whole lot of it mixed into the meat to make a difference.

      1. What blend is the Solomon's? If you have a real butcher around, you might have him make a coarser grind for you, and mix in some brisket or fattier steak trimming.

        14 Replies
        1. re: barryg

          Not to be defensive but I have a hard time believing this is a kosher-treyf issue. Assuming the same quality meat, same cut, and same fat ratio, I don't see how salting/soaking would negatively impact something like texture.

          Now, if it's a different cut, then you might be getting to something. For example, some treyf ground meat is sirloin, which is quite lean but has a nice mouthfeel. Sirloin is not a kosher cut. I believe Solomons is ground chuck. I have seen 85/15 but not sure if I've seen 80/20.

          1. re: DeisCane

            i have seen the same strange consistency in the solomons, if youre in an area where theres a choice, id try a different supplier for beef

            if youre in the nyc/li area im sure many will be hapy to make specific location reccs

            1. re: DeisCane

              Soaking and salting definitely has an impact on texture, not necessarilly negative. Infusing meat with water then adding salt will affect the texture, there are chenical reactions when almost brining the exterior of the meat. I find that salt toughens meat. I am old enough to remember that most kosher meat had to be kashered after bringing it home from the butcher. My mother had a bbq grill just for broiling meat that had not been saoked and salted. There was a world of difference in texture and taste from the same cuts that had been kashered before cooking.

              The bigger issue is cut of meat. Kosher ground beef is usually chuck. In treyf, the 80/20 may be chuck or any assorted scraps thrown in the grinder. The 85/15 is usually ground round and the 90% is usually sirloin.

              I grew up using only ground neck and skirt for hamburg. It is sweeter and has a great texture. Today, I have to grind it myself, as it is not usually available at the kosher butcher and certainly not in the prepaks sold in supermarkets and mass merchants such as Costco.

                1. re: bagelman01

                  I've seen ground neck/skirt in several kosher butchers. I want to say I saw it recently in Glatt Mart. It is more expensive, but makes for a juicer burger.

                  1. re: cheesecake17

                    I don't live in NY, so Glatt Mart is not an option.

                    BTW>>>It's NOT about price, it's about taste and quality....that's what being a CH is <VBG>.

                    1. re: bagelman01

                      Did not know where you were located. Hopefully the info will help someone.

            's not always about price, but sometimes it is.

                2. re: DeisCane

                  deiscane- having been in a similar situation to the OP, I can also attest to the difference between the two -making the kosher switch I found it the single hardest thing to give up, even more so than wine and cheese.

                  also, I have never seen more than one option per supermarket in terms of fat percentage in ground beef.

                  1. re: PotatoPuff

                    Interesting. For me it's been chicken wings (with bleu cheese dressing).

                    Perhaps I didn't have enough good quality burgers in my treyf days or I've just been lucky in my kosher days.

                    1. re: DeisCane

                      DeisCane: Walden Farms Bleu cheese is Parve and with the Meal Mart hot wings, it;s AMAZING!

                      1. re: my3princesses

                        Yes. I use that. I mix in a little tofutti sour cream to improve the density and salt to cut the sweetness. It's pretty good. But I miss eating it in restaurants!

                3. re: barryg

                  Thanks, Barry-- but we don't have a kosher butcher here in Minneapolis. Ideally that would be what I would do, to have some sort of control over the blend, but tis not the case.

                  Deiscane, I'm assuming there is a difference in the cut, as bagelman said.

                  Thanks for all the suggestions--

                  1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                    try Byerlys in St Louis Park they have a meat counter not sure what they can do for you though.

                    1. re: cheeseguysgirl

                      It's not hard to grind your own hamburgers. Electric grinders are as cheap as $29.99, or we use an attachment for our Kitchenaid stand mixer. I also have an old fashioned clamp on the table hand chank grinder that I use fro Passover. This allows me to grind the mix of cuts that I want and vary texture.

                  2. its because your kosher beef is lacking the pink slime.


                    1. I checked with my husband a meat mavin who often grills for a kosher caterer as well as making burgers for himself and guests. He adds finely chopped onion and very finely chopped (usually in the food processor) along with some bread crumbs. The onion and mushrooms provide extra moisture. He does this for burgers as well as for meat loaf. This helps counteract the effects of the soaking and salting which seem to dry out the meat. It's easy to see the difference between the liquid given off by trayf ground meat and kosher meat if you pan fry. Hardly any liquid for the kosher, in fact you have to be sure and spray the frying pan with some oil unless you have a no stick or very well seasoned pan.