How to Make Hamburger Patties

hamburger patties
Leah Maroney
  • 01 of 06

    Starting Out

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    There are a lot of ways to make a good hamburger patty. They can be made out of ground beef, pork, lamb, sausage, turkey, or more. They can be stuffed full of garlic, cheese, spices, peppers, or virtually anything small enough to fit inside. They can be mixed into the ground meat, eggs, bread crumbs, cream, and everything but the kitchen sink. Regardless of what is put inside (and simpler is usually better), it all starts with making the perfect patty.

    What I have here are some coarse ground beef...MORE and some salt and pepper but you can choose any burger recipe you want. I also prefer a high fat content in the meat, something in the 85/15 range. Extremely lean meat will not produce the flavor desired in a good burger. Of course, the higher the fat content the more shrinkage of the patties will occur. Before getting started, you will need to be aware of a few of things:

    • Keep the meat cold as much as possible
    • Do not overwork the meat. Handle it as little as possible
    • Keep your hands and work area clean
    • Wash everything as soon as you are done
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  • 02 of 06

    Dividing the Meat

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    The size of the patties should be determined by the size of the bread you will be putting them on. Also, remember that the higher the fat content of the meat the more the patties will shrink as they cook. If you are using 85/15 lean/fat or higher, make the patties larger than the buns, otherwise, the same size as the buns will work best.

    Another thing to be aware of is that all the patties to be the same size so they cook at the same rate. If not, you will end up with small overcooked burgers and...MORE large undercooked burgers. By taking a ball of the ground meat and holding it in your hand, you will get a feel for the size and be able to make all the burgers the same size.

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  • 03 of 06

    Shaping the Patties

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    So you have a ball of ground meat in your hand. If you simply press the meat into a patty it will crack and break up around the edges. What you want to do is press down in the middle and in from the sides, turning the burger around in your hand until it is even and uniform. It should be a solid disk of meat that is tightly compacted.

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  • 04 of 06

    Depressing the Center

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    When hamburger patties cook, they shrink. As they shrink the edges tend to break apart causing deep cracks to form in the patty. To combat this, you want the burger patty to be thinner in the middle than it is around the edges. Slightly depress the center of the patty to push a little extra meat towards the edges. This will give you an even patty once it is cooked.

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  • 05 of 06

    Seasoning the Patties

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    Now that the patties are formed, it is time to season them the way you would a good steak. Remember that a good burger isn't any different than any other piece of meat you are going to grill. Since the ground meat has fat uniformly spread inside the meat you don't need to oil the surface like you might with a pork chop, but a nice sprinkling of herbs and spices will give you burger added flavor. Personally, I prefer just a little salt and pepper, the same way I like my steaks.

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  • 06 of 06

    Finished Hamburger Patties

    hamburger patties
    Leah Maroney

    Once the patties are formed and seasoned they are ready for the grill. I know people who like to prepare the patties way ahead of time and keep them in the refrigerator. You really don't want your hamburger patties to spend too much time exposed to the air. If you are not going to cook them right way then they need to be wrapped tightly, otherwise, they should hit the grill right away. Don't allow ground meat sit around to grow bacteria.

    To wrap burger patties, stack them up with pieces...MORE of wax paper between each patty. Wrap tightly in foil and refrigerate.