Hamburgers with onions

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Quick question, if you were going to make burgers with chopped onions and had one of them silicone press things would you mix your onions into the meat or line the press with them and them add the meat and press into patties? Difference is onions on top then inside of meat. I chop the onions then salt them and let sit for hour to pull the moisture out and that raw taste
 

phatch

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Do it White Castle style.

  • Press the burger patty out THIN
  • chop your onions finely
  • in a non-stick pan with a lid, heat over medium high heat.
  • Lay onions in the pan in a circle the same size as the patties you are going to cook.
  • salt and pepper the onions
  • put the burger patty on top of the onions
  • salt and pepper the burger
  • cover with a lid and cook until the burgers are done. You can cook more than one at a time.
  • scoop up the burger with the onions underneath and directly onto your bun
So this method creates well caramelized onions with the beef drippings coming down through them and the flavorful steam/smoke rising up through the beef.

The beef doesn't get the sear or the grill effect but it's very good in its own right. Just another technique with a different result to have in your repetoire.
 
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Do it phatch’s way!

I’ve put onion on one side of patty press before. It’s okay. Onions inside is too close to meatloaf.
 

pete

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I agree, don't put them into your burger. There is a burger style, though, that, I think, comes from Oklahoma (not sure on that part though). You lay a slice of onion on your flattop, give it a minute to start cooking, place a ball of burger meat on top of it, then smash it flat, like a diner style "smash" burger (as opposed to a thicker, pub style burger). Season with salt and pepper, let it cook a couple of minutes then flip, season, and finish cooking.

The key to good "smash" burgers is to make sure that your cooking surface is really, really hot. Place your ball of meat on your cooking surface, wait about 5 seconds then smash it flat, quickly (within a couple of seconds) and then don't press it again. A good diner style, or "smash" style burger should have an almost crispy exterior, with a few really crispy bits around the edges, still be soft inside and still retain some fat and moisture. It's actually much harder to do well than it sounds like it should.
 
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... and salting the onions prior to cooking to “sweat out out harsh taste” is completely unnecessary. If anything, a quick rinse under cold water will calm a harsh onion but cooking it does that even better.
 
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I agree with Brian Shaw: don't salt the onions.

I have incorporated onions and even garlic and other things inside burger meat many times and it's very good. I'm not sure when a burger stops being a burger and becomes a meatball, a kofta or a meatloaf. But I suppose there's a world of nuances in between.

Back to our onions. I suggest two methods, both work great but they'll give a different taste profile.

1) Raw onions, freshly cut, unsalted. You'll get the same kind of taste of raw onion you would adding a slice of raw onion on top of your cooked burger. The taste of raw onion doesn't bother me, I don't find it harsh, I find it cuts through the richness of the meat very nicely.

2) Salted, sweated onions. Put the minced onions in a cold pan with a little olive oil, season with salt, maybe pepper, and sweat slowly for a few minutes. You'll get the taste or cooked onions, but not caramelized onions either.

Experiment, see what you and your guests like best.
 
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If you find the flavor of raw onion too harsh, rinse the cut slices thoroughly in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. This rinses off the sulfuric acid compounds created in the cutting.
 
690
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Ok I'll try them all. I was watching QVC and when selling meat they always press it to show how juice it is and it makes we wonder if its some kind of a trick. They treat the meat like pump it full of juice or is it something special to make the high price worth it.
 
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Step away from qvc, for god's sake don't buy meat from a tv shopping mall. You must have somewhere local to buy burger, don't you?
 
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Buying meat locally can be dicey... but buying mail order or from a TV seems just too dicey.
 
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Ok I'll try them all. I was watching QVC and when selling meat they always press it to show how juice it is and it makes we wonder if its some kind of a trick. They treat the meat like pump it full of juice or is it something special to make the high price worth it.

Remember too that a good portion of that "juice" is fat since you need a relatively high mix of fat to make a great burger. 80/20 is standard for a burger but some places go even higher.

If you're looking to improve your burger there must be dozens of threads on ChefTalk where they go round and round about burgers for pages...search feature is your friend.
 

pete

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Ok I'll try them all. I was watching QVC and when selling meat they always press it to show how juice it is and it makes we wonder if its some kind of a trick. They treat the meat like pump it full of juice or is it something special to make the high price worth it.
Yeah, and all that juice and fat has now be pressed out of the burger leaving it dry. No matter what you do, don't be pressing down on your burgers once they are cooking or you will end up with dry burgers. And don't buy foods off of QVC, especially meat!!!
 
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