Making hamburger patties?

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JoAnn L.

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Is there a secret to making "large-flat" hamburger patties. Mine start out that way but they always shrink and get thick. :glare: I usually use either 80 or 85 % beef. Thanks for you help.
 

Barb L.

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Monroe, Michigan
I take wax paper, take a ball of burger, put in center, wax paper on top, now take a salad plate and push down - hard. That way they should be large enough for your bun when they are done grilling.
 

GotGarlic

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That other 15-20% is fat that renders out while the burgers are cooking, which causes the burgers to shrink. The solution is to make the patties bigger than you want the cooked burgers to be, and make a little dent in the top before cooking. HTH.
 

Andy M.

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You have to make them bigger than the bun so they will be bun sized when they're cooked. All meat shrinks when cooked.
 

kitchenelf

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GG has it correct - Form your patties, (gently forming - never squishing) and right in the middle, on one side only, I put an indention about the size of my thumb - it can be almost to the bottom but don't actually puncture the meat. This prevents them from shrinking. I actually will stick my thumb in the middle and wiggle it a bit to get the indention a good 1/2" in diameter.

They plump up because they are juice and juicy = good!!! Just make them a little larger to accomodate them shrinking. Also, never squish them on the grill. You will most definitely have flat burgers but they will be dry also.
 

auntdot

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Aug 25, 2004
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I make the meat wider than it needs to be to fit on the bun and push the bottom of a glass into the center of the patty. You need an indentation.

As the sides of the patty cook faster than the center, the results are the indentation will not be seen on the final product.

Although usually I grind the meat myself, immediately before using, and form into patties bout three quarter to one inch thick and just cook until medium rare, with preference on the rare side.

The only way I know of getting the patties thin is to start with that and put on one of those flattening thingies. But you generally need to be doing that on a griddle.

The enigma of the great burger on the grill. I wish I had an answer.
 

Fisher's Mom

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Although usually I grind the meat myself, immediately before using, and form into patties bout three quarter to one inch thick and just cook until medium rare, with preference on the rare side.
Thanks for posting Aunt Dot. That's why I bought a grinder. It's my understanding that beef that is ground at home (assuming safe and appropriate food handling practices) is at almost no risk of e-coli contamination. Especially if it is ground from one piece of meat and used right away. That allows you to make burgers that are more on the rare side without risk. Is that right?
 

Chief Longwind Of The North

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I start with 1.25 lbs. 80% ground beef, and roll into 3 equal balls. I take each ball and start working it between the palms of my hands into a flat disk. The technique is to press and turn, flattening the sides with the thumbs. Press and turn again, always flattening the sides with the thumbs. Continue this process until the meat patty is about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure that the patty is thinner in the center and thickens as it approaches the rim. This will insure that as the meat draws towards the center, and thickens, it will be the same thickness throughout when completely cooked through. The center will be done at the same time as the ourter edges, and the whole thing will retain its juices as you will be able to more accurately gauge when it is done and keep from overcooking.

As mentioned above, do not squish with a spatula as this will squeeze the juices from the meat. Lightly salt as the burger is cooking.

Another tip; if you add one egg per pound of ground beef, the burgers will shrink less, and hold their juices better. You won't have to be so careful when forming the raw patties.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North
 

JoAnn L.

Master Chef
Joined
Jun 3, 2006
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5,380
Location
upper midwest
I start with 1.25 lbs. 80% ground beef, and roll into 3 equal balls. I take each ball and start working it between the palms of my hands into a flat disk. The technique is to press and turn, flattening the sides with the thumbs. Press and turn again, always flattening the sides with the thumbs. Continue this process until the meat patty is about 1/2 inch thick. Make sure that the patty is thinner in the center and thickens as it approaches the rim. This will insure that as the meat draws towards the center, and thickens, it will be the same thickness throughout when completely cooked through. The center will be done at the same time as the ourter edges, and the whole thing will retain its juices as you will be able to more accurately gauge when it is done and keep from overcooking.

As mentioned above, do not squish with a spatula as this will squeeze the juices from the meat. Lightly salt as the burger is cooking.

Another tip; if you add one egg per pound of ground beef, the burgers will shrink less, and hold their juices better. You won't have to be so careful when forming the raw patties.

Seeeeeeya; Goodweed of the North

What wonderful advice. Thanks, JoAnn
 

mozart

Senior Cook
Joined
Dec 2, 2007
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446
Location
SW Florida
Thanks for posting Aunt Dot. That's why I bought a grinder. It's my understanding that beef that is ground at home (assuming safe and appropriate food handling practices) is at almost no risk of e-coli contamination. Especially if it is ground from one piece of meat and used right away. That allows you to make burgers that are more on the rare side without risk. Is that right?

Hi FM,

There certainly is a much lower risk in the process you mention, but I wouldn't go as far as saying without risk.

Ground beef is a problem because sometimes the outside of the beef chunks are contaminated. Then when it is ground, the outside becomes the inside:rolleyes:

This can happen at home too, of course, if the beef you are using was contaminated and improperly stored at the store before you brought it home.

But food poisoning from E coli and other bacteria is really a numbers game. In small numbers, most folks immune systems will overcome the bacteria. If the bacteria has been allowed to multiply in sufficient numbers, and then are ingested, most everyone is susceptible.

So the time factor is important. The problem is it could have been sitting a 49 degrees multiplying for quite a while at the store before you even bought it.
 

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