5 hamburger tips straight from the pros

The art of making a perfect hamburger has become something of an obsession among many chefs. We asked around for expert advice on how to pack as much taste and enjoyment as possible into this American classic. The 5 tips below kept on coming up no matter which chef we asked. You will notice that they are all about “the beef”:

Upgrade your raw material

It is, of course, possible to make a decent hamburger out of the pre-wrapped minced meat on sale in your local grocery store. But if you are aiming for a more memorable culinary experience you will have to do better than that.

A good idea is to mince a first class piece of hang-tenderized beef rich in fat and deep flavors, for example from the chuck. A quality chuckburger is a good bet, but you can also mix mince from different, flavorful cuts. Ask you butcher for advice.

Don’t hold back on the seasoning

Just powdering the outside of the pattie of minced meat is not going to do the job. Put the mince in a bowl and “break it up” so that your salt gets in everywhere. You will need at least one teaspoon of salt for a kilo of minced meat. Some passionate hamburger chefs also pack their meat paddies with umami by adding small amounts of minced anchovies, oyster sauce, or something of the kind.

Don’t overwork the mince

The more you compress the (preferably) newly made mince, the more dense and rubbery it will be after grilling/frying. When you have seasoned the mince all over, just portion it and form the flat patties with your bare hands with as little handling as possible. Stop kneading as soon as you have an uncompressed pattie that does not fall apart.

Grilling is good

It tastes more and it tastes better.

Don’t press it

Turn your burgers over once. Let them lie on the heat in peace so that they get a nice, tasty fried or grilled surface that does not stick. Don’t press them with your spatula, this only forces out liquid that will drip down on the coals – or ooze out in the pan and boil your meat instead of frying it. Besides, you want all that juiciness to stay inside your burger.


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