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Jul 19, 2012 05:37 PM

Anyone reccommend a decent burger recipe?

Tried to make some burgers the other day. Mixed minced beef, onions, herbs and egg, then shaped them and when tried to cook they crumbled all over the place. I was quite surprised considering that the ones from the supermarket don't crumble at all. I thought that it was probably due to the fact that the meat I minced had no fat at all but am not so sure. Anyone have a decent recipe which has been tried and tested please?

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  1. Sounds more like a meatloaf. I use ground beef, salt, pepper, and some water. That's it. Perfect every time.

    1 Reply
    1. re: valerie

      agreed. and with salting, do it after forming the patties.

      gives a good picture on why (the rest of the steps are good advice but not at all necessary to make a good burger)

    2. My best results have involved using good beef at room temperature, patties that were minimally worked to form, a slight "knuckle" indentation in the middle on each side, a very hot cooking surface, salt and pepper, one turn only, and using a thermometer to avoid overcooking. If you want to "paint the lily," a little butter at the end. How could bread crumbs, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, or anything else make that better?

      1. 80% ground beef, a sprinkle of Montreal steak seasoning, and a shot of Worcestershire sauce. Mix and form into patties.

        1. There is no such thing as fat-free beef. Making a good burger is a matter of technique rather than recipe. Most cooks agree on 15-20% fat, and selecting a named cut, like chuck or sirloin, rather than something vague like "ground beef" or "stew meat". Beyond that, all you need is formed patties, a well-heated pan or grill, and salt and pepper.

          You used what would have been, with the addition of bread or other starch, meatloaf or meatball mixture.

          1. Thank you for the replies everyone. I need to say that what we tried wasn't something we came up with but rather a recipe that we found in a book. The egg was recommended to be used in order to bind the mixture. Ready made burgers (quite a lot of brands) that we buy in supermarkets here in UK do have onion in unless they specify "onion free".

            By fat free beef I meant a joint of rump with the surface fat layer trimmed off so what was left was pure muscle.

            I use a Spikomat quarter-pounder tool for shaping the burgers which makes the indentations on one side of the burgers.

            7 Replies
            1. re: iliria

              If you ground your own extremely lean beef that was probably the issue. I occasionally buy eye of round (which when trimmed of fat is nearly 100% lean) and grind it - it makes terrible burgers, but when Mr. Bionda is dieting, sometimes he just wants a burger and doesn't care if it's terrible. Anyway, an egg will help with binding if you're using really lean beef, but as a rule super lean beef doesn't stick together well when you're trying to make burgers. You can put it through the grinder two or three times to help with binding, but it's never going to hold together the way a really fatty grind does.

              1. re: biondanonima

                You've hit the nail on the head, as they say. Both my girlfriend and I are on a diet (Slimming World) which doesn't allow for fat, oils, sugars and bread. When I went to the local supermarket I noticed that rump steak was on offer and was just as cheap as the chuck so I bought a lot of it and ground some to use for chillies, pasta and burger recipes. We can't have burgers which have more than 5% fat so it looks like home made burgers whilst we are on a diet are a no-go area. Might have a look at meatball recipes. Either that or I'll buy some sausage casings and go for healthy sausages instead.

                1. re: iliria

                  Yeah, low-fat ground meat can be a real bummer. I've found some chicken sausages that are low-fat and pretty good, but I've found that the best use for lean ground beef is to cook it crumbled up and season or sauce it aggressively - it covers up the dryness. Mr. Bionda loves mapo tofu made with lean beef (and light on the chili oil to keep it low-fat), taco meat, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. - they all work better with lean ground beef than burgers do.

                  1. re: iliria

                    At that low fat level you may want to consider a tuna burger

                    1. re: scubadoo97

                      Good call on the fish burger. Yellowfin?
                      Best ever was on Palm Island (EC, not Fla).

                    2. re: iliria

                      If you don't find a good way to make proper burgers, you might try slow cooking a rump hunk low and slow and then shredding the beef. Mix it with barbeque sauce or any other sauce you like and serve on whatever bun-surrogate you have in mind. (Corn tortillas would work fine or even lettuce leaves.) Otherwise you could mix the loose beef with barbeque/other sauce and settle for a sloppy joe.

                      Either way will at least come close to burger-feel. But yeah without fat it's hard to hold a burger patty together.

                  2. re: iliria

                    You need to have fat in your beef in order to make a burger. Go to a real butcher and ask for a 15 or 20% fat to meat ratio, or else it won't "bind" and also it will be flavorless. Have it ground on the day you're cooking it. All you need to do is season your meat with S&P, free-form your patties with your hands, and perhaps brush some BBQ or Worcester sauce on the meat prior to grilling.
                    If you want onion with your burger, grill onions separately but don't mix them with your meat. And as someone else said above, let your meat go to room temperature before you grill it.