|Energy||Hamburger 680 Cal / 2845 Joules|
Cheeseburger 790 Cal / 3305 Joules
A hamburger is a variant on a sandwich involving a patty of ground meat, usually beef (known in the United Kingdom as a beefburger)), or a vegetarian patty. A slice of cheese on the patty makes it a cheeseburger, a common variation in the United States.
- Remove the ground beef from the package and shape by hand into burgers. You should get between 4-6 burgers from 500g (1.1 lb) of beef.
- If adding optional ingredients, either season the outside or mix into the beef before forming the patties. Overworking the beef will result in mushy meat that won't stick together, so only mix the minimum necessary and do so by hand.
- The burgers can be fried or grilled for about 4-5 mins on each side for burgers which aren't too thick.
- Let the burger rest for several minutes before serving to let the juices cool down and not burst out at first bite.
- Ensure your burgers are fully cooked through before serving. If your burgers are quite thick or if you are unsure, you can cut one open to ensure the insides are browned. If the insides are red, there is a chance that the meat is not fully cooked. Alternately, you can insert a meat thermometer into the center of the burger, if the temperature reads less than 71°C (160°F), your burger is undercooked.
- Serve each burger on a bun (sesame seed usually), optionally with relish, sliced pickles, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, ranch dressing, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and/or onions.
Some suggestions of what to add to the meat include: garlic, onion flakes or a small onion, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, mustard, olive oil, cheese, butter and/or 2 tsp of your favorite hot sauce for some kick. The amounts of herbs and/or spices are up to your local taste and meat quality. Depending on the quality of your local beef, for example, you may wish to add some beef stock to improve the flavour. If you add any liquids, mix the ground beef well then squeeze out the extra juice when forming patties.
For further serving suggestions, see the Wikipedia article on hamburgers.
Notes, tips and variations
- Make sure to let the meat get to room temperature before putting on the grill or in the pan. This will help the burgers cook evenly and fully.
- You can use almost any type of minced (ground) meat to make hamburgers, including pork, chicken, turkey, lamb, bison, venison, ostrich, or even a meat substitute such as Quorn. Some variations of hamburgers call for mixing different types of meat (e.g. ground beef and ground pork).
- Do not add salt until right before you put the patty to cook.
- Mixing ingredients in with the meat is purely optional. You can make a delicious burger by simply shaping patties and seasoning with kosher salt, ground pepper, and if you wish, some garlic powder and/or cayenne.
- Do not overmix the meat! You will wind up with a tough, dense, and dry burger. If you must mix herbs or spices in, do so by hand and be sparing in your mixing. Remember that you can season the outside of the patties if you wish.
- If your burgers fall apart, adding an egg yolk will help keep it together. Buying lean ground beef will also help, although if the meat is too lean the burger may be excessively dry. Not mixing the ground meat in the first place will also ensure the patty's integrity.
- Try adding a pat of butter in the center of each burger for an excellent hamburger.
- You may wish to experiment with including cheese in the centre of your burger before cooking.
- Spices which can work well in hamburgers include black pepper, chili (either fresh or powder), Worcestershire Sauce and soy sauce. Experiment to find good combinations.
- Almost any herb can work, including basil, oregano and parsley.
- Some other things which are also sometimes added to hamburgers include: diced onions, bread crumbs, crushed saltine crackers.
- Burgers can also be smoked on a grill. Smoked burgers will appear red and glazed on the outside, but browned on the inside. Smoking a burger before grilling it is an excellent way to seal in the flavorful juices.
- Some vegan patties make excellent meat substitutes, especially for Hamburgers, where strong spices make the difference close to indistinguishable.
- Hand-made burger patties always change shape during cooking, and always in the same way: the edges move in toward the middle. This means each burger will turn out less flat and more ball-shaped than the way you originally formed it. So for the best results, press the raw patties down much thinner than you want the finished burger to be.