a problem with"Home made" burgers

4
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Joined Jan 23, 2002
Hello everybody?

How are you all doing? I hope you are all fine.

Ok, I´ve got a question.

The other day I had to cook "home made" hamburgers with assorted salads.

Everything went well except for the burgers...

Even though I prepared the meet real nice with different fine herbs and stuff they all shrunk!(did I spell that correctly??...what I mean is that they got smaller....)

What could have gone wrong?
I first seasoned my meat, then added the herbs of my preference, then I added a couple of eggs(to 3 pounds of meat) and put it in the fridge to keep it cool as I worked in the salads (I was working by myself). Then, when I finally started to make the patties I added a little bit of flour (thinking it would give it some floffiness). What I could not understand was WHY they were all shrinking as I was cooking them!

As a result, the people I was cooking for enjoyed the salads..but the comments on the burgers werent good at all as you can imagine....

Any suggestions on this?

Thank you!

Fernando

Fryed stuff hates me.. :(
 
4,452
104
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Hamburger meat contains collagen. Heat shrinks collagen. So, when making patties, pat them to about 6 inches round by 3/4 inch thick except in the center where they should be much thinner. You want to achieve a double concave shape. That should help cure the shrinkage problem.
 

pete

Moderator
Staff member
4,509
998
Joined Oct 7, 2001
Also you have the fat content to deal with. Good hamburger meat should be 70-75% lean, no more. Ground beef that is 80-95% lean can be used for other things but make dry, crumbly hamburgers. Since you have about 25% fat, you will get shrinkage, due to the fat rendering out of the meat. My question also is: were you making American style hamburgers with buns and toppings? If so then you could do without the egg and definately without the flour. Egg and breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs can be used to lighten meatloaf, etc. but I find burgers done this way don't have the proper mouthfeel.

Kokopuffs suggestion of making your burgers thinner in the middle is right on. It will keep them from becoming balls of burger meat and helps the burgers to cook evenly.
 
4,452
104
Joined Aug 4, 2000
Fernando and Pete:

If I faintly recall, COOK'S ILLUSTRATED offered an article on hamburgers within the past 15 months (emphasis on faintly). That's where I got my information.
 
63
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Joined Dec 6, 2001
I think I make a pretty darn good burger :) I always use a good chopped beef, most people agree to no more than 85%lean. Here in the states, that is called Chopped sirloin. 80% lean is ground round and that works good too. If your butcher doesnt have chopped sirloin, just ask him to grind you an inexpensive sirloin steak.

I personally do not mix in any fillers, altho that sounds kinda good, like a little meatloaf on a bun, I will experiment with that. All I do is use about 1/3lb of chopped sirloin and using my hands I pat it out wide and saucer-like ending up bigger than the buns and about 1/2inch thick. Dont make the patties puffy, fat or like flattened softballs (my hubby makes that mistake and they cook up like hockeypucks) I salt and pepper them liberally. I use kosher salt and fresh pepper. I let them set on countertop for about 10-15min, my Dad taught me to grill meats at almost room temp, not straight from fridge. I dunno why :) Remember that the fat will cook out and shrink in your patty, so the forming is kind of important to ending up with a good sized burger patty. And dont use that really lean beef, it cooks up low in flavor and taste, its dry and can end up chewy if overcooked.

I use a heavy skillet on high heat, flipping the burgers only once OR I grill them over high heat, never leaving the grill. Takes maybe 10min at most. I do NOT flatten them out with a spatula as I dont like squeezing out all the moisture.

Besides using a good chopped beef, most important is a fresh, delicious, huge bun and plenty of fresh toppings like chopped onion, tomato, mayo, ketchup, mustard, pickles and melted CHEESES! I know I rambled on quite awhile about a silly burger, but here in the states we practically worship our burgers :) Good luck to you and happy burgering!
 
63
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Joined Dec 6, 2001
KoKo is right, I remember the issue of Cooks Illustrated too. You might find it at their website, altho I think you must subscribe for archives.
 
4
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Joined Jan 23, 2002
Thank you very much guys for your suggestions and help!

Im so glad I found Chef Talk!,.....

you guys rock!

Fernando
 

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