How To Make A Hamburger? What Goes Into A Burger?
Learn how to make a hamburger. I will show you what hamburger ingredients are needed to make a classic burger.
A hamburger is basically a meat patty sandwiched within a bun. Let's see what it takes to make a basic beef burger from scratch.
1. The patty
Some people are squirmish about handling raw meat. Wearing a pair of kitchen gloves to put some "distance" between you and the meat. I prefer direct contact as you can check whether the patties are well mixed or not.
If you can, buy fresh ground beef. It can be grounded from a single beef cut or a combination of cuts. Although texture and flavour are better if you use premium cuts, they are also more expensive. Buy whatever fits your budget. The recommended fat percentage is about 10 to 15% for a nice juicy burger although how you are going to cook them may make a difference.
If you are short on time, buy pre-made patties from the butcher store. Do not feel obliged to make them from scratch and get all stressed out. You should enjoy the cooking process.
A basic pattie is commonly seasoned only with salt and ground black pepper. In fact, some people only seasoned the surface of the patties or the bottom of the frying pan.
Some people recommend adding a pinch of garlic powder or minced onion while others insist that this would take away the flavour of the meat. I don't think there is anything wrong with adding interesting seasonings to improve taste, texture and flavour. This is especially true if you aren't using the premium cuts. If you ARE using premium meat, like wagyu beef, then season minimally.
Ground meat usually need something extra to bind them together so that they don't fall apart during cooking. Common binding agents include bread crumbs and egg. Bread crumbs should be added in moderation as it bulks up the patties.
Shaping the patty
The frequent tip I hear about mixing and shaping the patties is to not over-do it. The main concern is about keeping the temperature of the ground beef cold. Do not take the ground beef out of the refrigerator too early. Do so only when you are ready to season and mix the patties.
Mix it thoroughly but quickly. I find mixing by hand the most efficient and effective. To keep the beef cold, you can wash your hands with cool water to bring the surface temperature of your hands down.
Patties are usually shaped into round discs between 0.5 in to 1.5 inch in thickness. Flattening the sides help to prevent premature burning of the edges.
If you find the ground beef fiddly and difficult to shape, make use of a hamburger press to help you with the shaping. To maintain the temperature, you can place the hamburger press into the refrigerator (not the freezer) to cool it.
Patties can be made way beforehand and kept in the freezer. Pack between sheets of wax or parchment paper and store them in covered containers. Tupperware has a great patty stacker although they can be stored in any normal plastic container.
Buying frozen patties
When buying frozen beef patties. Do check the labels on the packaging to make sure there aren't too much sodium or many foreign-sounding and chemical names in them.
2. The Bun
The classic burger is served in a soft hamburger bun which is round. They can be found easily in the supermarkets and bakeries.
Although you can also bake the hamburger bun from scratch but I think it is pretty to easy to buy good quality buns, unless you are an avid baker.
They can be eaten soft or lightly toasted. I personally like to toast the bread cut-side slightly. Cut in half and toast each half in a big toaster, oven or on the grill. Always toast the cut-side. Toasting offers a crisper texture as well as a warm bun which complements the hot patties.
If you are going to toast your buns, butter them lightly as they will toast more evenly. I don't know if you notice, there is something very inviting in the air when a buttered bun is being toasted.
A classic hamburger usually comes with onions, lettuce and tomato. These fresh vegetables provide balance against the meat.
Homemade hamburgers should try to have more vegetables than the token slices offered by fast food joints. Hamburgers can be healthy good eats when fresh vegetables are added. The key word is freshness. Nothing taste worse than a wilted lettuce leave or sour tomato.
Other common ingredients include cheese, mushrooms, and bacon.
Last but not least, hamburger condiments. Butter, ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard are the most basic. What else do you think can be used as condiments for burgers?