Looking to Master the Art of Burger Making? The talented Kate Olssen from Hey Tucker has shared with us her tips to making the perfect homemade burger patty.
Preparing your meat
Fat means flavour
When purchasing meat the fat-to-lean ratio in ground beef is crucial. Kate recommends a 30/70 spilt - 30% fat is the perfect choice if you like your burger cooked anywhere from medium-rare to medium-well. If you’re looking to cook your burger patty outside of that range then you will need to adjust the amount of fat accordingly. Well done - 40/60; Rare - 20/80.
Which cut is right?
Using expensive cuts of beef is not important when it comes to burger making. Kate insists that what you should be thinking about is whether it’s high-quality and comes from a mature, ideally grass-fed animal. You’re much better off choosing cheaper cuts of beef from more-active muscles, like chuck. This is because these cuts contain more myoglobin, and myoglobin is what gives beef its red colour and distinctive flavour.
Grinding the meat
Grinding your meat with the KitchenAid Food Grinder Attachment will guarantee that the burger maintains a good texture. This ensures a chunkier juicier burger patty than would be found in the supermarket.
Shaping the patties
Kate’s biggest tip here is to be gentle. Resist from slapping the patty back and forth from palm to palm; by doing this you will overwork the meat and the muscle fibre will bind together. When you don’t overwork the meat, the tiny spaces between the pieces of ground beef will remain intact. As you cook the patty and the fat renders, the fat will find its way into those tiny spaces and make your burger extra juicy.
Seasoning the patties
Kate insists that if you’ve done everything right up until this point – the quality of your meat is good, the fat-to-lean ratio is spot on, and you’ve shaped your patties with care and love – then the patties need nothing more than a sprinkle of salt and a freshly ground black pepper. Salt the patties generously 30 minutes before you plan to cook them, and leave them out to come to room temperature; this step helps the salt penetrate the meat.
Time to Cook
Cooking the Burger
- If you’re not grilling your burgers, use a heavy-bottomed pan.
- Don’t add any fat (butter or oil) to the pan when you’re cooking. Keep it dry.
- If you must add anything, use butter or a neutral oil. Stay away from olive oil as it has too strong a flavour.
- Resist from constantly flipping the patties – a well cooked burger will only need 3 flips.
- Let you’re burgers breathe when they’re cooking, don’t squash them down or you’ll squeeze out all the juicy and end up with a brick of meat.
Kate recommends looking for a bun that is big but not too big that you can’t take a proper bite, it’s soft and pillowy, slightly sweet and mildly buttery; think of something of a cross between really good white bread and a decadent buttery brioche. Crucial to a good burger is a warm and slightly toasted bun, so crisp them up before you build you burger upon it.
Cheese, pickles and sauces are not mandatory, of course – but a very welcome addition. Kate likes to add a cheese that has good ‘meltability’ and a strong enough flavour to stand up to the taste of the patty. When it comes to pickles, traditional is best. Hot mustard and a classic tomato sauce is always great on a burger but other options include a little bit of Kewpie mayonnaise mixed with Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, chipotle chilli, lemon and garlic.