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Over-mixing hamburgers.

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
I was making hamburgers today - ground turkey, an egg, misc seasonings.

My wife said she saw on some cooking shows that if you mix the hamburger too much it becomes tougher. I told her I never heard of that (not that I would think for a minute of questioning my wife) and am wondering if that is true and, if so, why.

Thanks.
post #2 of 31
Too much mixing compacts the ground meat together and makes it dense and heavy. There's not much to it in terms of a reason -- the more you handle, the more you're compressing the little strings of ground meat and squeezing them together. The texture becomes more like a meatball and less like a fluffy hamburger. Certain additions, including egg by the way, work in the same direction. Some people prefer the denser texture -- especially with a meat as lean as turkey, which otherwise has a tendency to fall apart.

Tell your wife that she, as always, is right. Not that she didn't know it, but it makes her happy to hear you do too.

Most good cooks don't mix anything inside a beef hamburger. "Truth in advertising" laws say that a hamburger must be 100% beef -- although seasoning are allowed on the outside. On the other hand, "competition hamburger" (do you believe that?) and a lot of specialty hamburger recipe books suggest all kinds of additions mixed in. I'm with the leave it alone crowd. Turkey burgers are different. Turkey must be fully cooked as a matter of safety. There's not enough fat in the meat, to expect good results handling it the same way as you would beef.

Hope this helps,
BDL
post #3 of 31
Thread Starter 
I was actually using ground turkey. So what is the effect of adding egg to the ground turkey? That is, it makes it more dense or less dense?

Thanks.

(I'll be sure to tell my wife she was right.:talk:)
post #4 of 31
Denser. Like me. Also acts like glue and helps to hold the turkey together.

BDL
post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
So if I'm using ground turkey, which is less dense and heavy than ground beef, then mixing it more would be okay?
post #6 of 31
Thread Starter 
So the glue effect is good but the dense affect is not?

If I'm making burgers out of ground beef, then I would not want to add egg because the ground beef is already dense? Unless I need the egg to hold things together?
post #7 of 31
Thread Starter 

Adding ketchsup to burger mixture

Would adding ketchup to a hamburger mixture - before it gets cooked - make it become more dry (which, of course, I wouldn't want)?

Also, if I form the burgers into shorter and more stout shapes, rather than flatter and wider, would that tend to make then juicier?
post #8 of 31
Add egg if you like the way it comes out. I feel burgers with egg mixed in to the raw meat aren't burgers. But that's me, not a rule. You don't need egg to hold ground beef together. You need to form a patty in the regular way. Beware of meat that's leaner than 90/10 or fattier than 70/30. 80/20 is my favorite, some people like 80/15. 90/10 won't cook properly unless cooked VERY rare. 70/30 will shrink too much as the fat renders off, and will taste unpleasantly fatty. A burger cooked with 80/20 or 80/15 will render off most of the fat as it's cooked, will taste about as lean as 90/10, and can be cooked to medium-rare or medium without drying out.

BDL
post #9 of 31
It wouldn't make it particularly juicy or dry. It would make it taste like ketchup flavored meatloaf. Lots of people like these things. There's only one way to find out if that's what you and your family like -- and that's try it. If you're happy with the kind of hamburgers you get in good restaurants that have hamburgers -- it's pure, freshly ground, good quality ground beef; formed into a patty without too much compacting, seasoned, and grilled on a griddle or a char-broiler until cooked to whatever shade of medium the diner desires.

Shorter stouter is usually not a good thing, unless cooking very lean meat very rare. Ground sirloin for instance. It's hard to hit medium in a hamburger that's too thin.

As the hamburgers cook, the protein strands will tighten up and so will the burgers. So even flat hamburgers will fatten up as they cook. When you form the patty, it's a good idea to dish the centers a little so they cook, more or less, flat.

Botttom line: Medium thickness, slightly dished centers.

BDL
post #10 of 31
80/15?
What is the other 5% composed of?
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post #11 of 31
Think that typo was supposed to be 85/15 :lol: I prefer a plain patty with S&P, topped with a nice extra sharp white cheddar and 2 strips of bacon. Onion and tomato when tomato is in season.
post #12 of 31
Personally I think 100% turkey burgers just don't taste right, so I negate the heatlh aspects by making my turkey burgers about 75 - 80 percent turkey, the rest ground pork. The extra bit of fat from the pork helps keep the turkey from being too dry and crumbly.

And I too like to keep the patty meat fairly simple, save the onions, peppers, etc. for toppings later. I do sometimes throw a splash of worcesthire sauce in the meat, though, depending on my mood, I guess.

mjb.
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post #13 of 31
Mary's right. Typographical error which should have read, "85/15." IMO, a great ratio for very fresh, best quality chuck or sirloin, trimmed very close with suet (very tasty beef fat) added as the fat. For just buy it at the super, I usually like 80/20.

However, there are some interesting places to buy hamburger 'round here. We do most of our meat shopping from ethnic places -- either carnecerias, Korean meat markets (great beef, inflated prices, haggling required), or a few ethnic supers with good meat departments. One of our favorite meat counters is in a place called Vien Dong Superfood Warehouse, in Rosemead on Rosemead Blvd just below Garvey. Good prices. Fish counter of the gods. Well worth a field trip if you're in SoCal and have never been to a Vietnamese/ pan-Asian/ nod to Hispanics megamart. It's sort of like Costco for people who have lost the will to speak English.

At any rate, their ratio is, "Nobody know."

BDL
post #14 of 31
Thread Starter 
What happens with the 90/10 meat that it does not cook properly? You mean if you want to cook it longer than rare then it doesn't cook right?
post #15 of 31
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. What's a "dished" center?
post #16 of 31

Ice cubes in burgers

Just a note on ground beef in burgers - if you want it rare, grind it yourself. I've heard its not safe to use readymade ground to make rare burgers.

Saw a show (yeah I'm a cooking food show junky) that if you put an ice-cube in the center of a burger just before you cook it, it turns out moister. The cook did both rare, one burger with ice, one without, One with- he reckons was moister. It did leave a little hole in the middle though.

Anyone tried this?

Dished - I'm thinking BDL means make a depression in the centre of your burger to make it a little thinner there - just presss your thumb onto it to make a little "dish "shape. Helps it cook more easily and evenly. BDL?

P.S. By the way - your wife is ALWAYS right, even when she's wrong. As am I ;)
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post #17 of 31

Lightly packed burgers

I read recently that lightly packing burgers allows nice nooks and crannies for grease to collect in while cooking, especially for a pan-fried burger. You might try to squeeze all of the grease out if you're looking for low-fat. But if you want really good flavor, it might help to keep them loose.

Also, don't flip the burger more than once. Be patient as it cooks to make sure that it stays juicy.
Mike

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post #18 of 31
If you want a low fat burger, use a leaner cut of beef. Some of the markets here sell ground beef for burgers that is as much as 96% lean. I've seen 80%, 85%, 90%, 94%, 95%, and 96% lean.

"Squeezing" the grease out of a burger - I assume by pressing down on the patty while it cooks - is considered a poor technique by many cooks and, IMO, reduces the flavor and the tenderness of the patty.

scb
post #19 of 31
folklore says over-mixing compacts the mix and that's not a good thing. can't say I've noticed me over-mixing, but heh, I'm always up for a better idea.

here's my current approach for burgers and meatloaf:

(oh, all the pure beef only patty people, look away now - my burger additives no know bounds . . . .)

background: once upon a afternoon hurried, I wound up having to rapid thaw (home) frozen ground beef and produce dinner.
once "the brick" has sorta thawed, chopped it up, spread it out in a thin (aaah, 2" thick"?) layer on the cutting board to finish thawing.

then layer on 'yer stuff - options:
ground pork if you got it
salt
pepper
sprinkle Worcestershire sauce / steak sauce / bbq sauce / hot sauce / soy sauce
diced green/red/roasted/pimento pepper(s)
diced onion
diced/minced garlic
finely diced celery
chopped chives
chiffed basil
mushrooms - saute fresh or B&B canned . . .
heh - it's your burger - git yer own 'magination.....

well beat up an egg, slather over
sprinkle some panko

fold it together with a dough scraper.

lop off a chunk with the scraper, make a bigga meata ball, squish it flat - about a 6 ouncer

in the fridge for 30 minutes to (hours) to set

grill or pan fry

for burgers I typically star with one pound +/- of meat and my biggie cutting board works fine
meatloaf - two pounds, two eggs, applesauce, etc and that I do flat out on the granite top - does not "fit" on a cutting board.

I find this "mixing" method works veddy well at incorporating all the seasonings and goodies with minimum "mash&thrash" on the ground beef.
post #20 of 31
Dill,

I don't want to place an over-emphasis on nomenclature. On a "name" only basis, I (and many others) would say what you're doing is making "meat loaf patties" and not "hamburger." A friend of mine had a restaurant and used to sell what he called "deli-burgers." The Alameda County DA warned him to "cease and desist" because he was violating "truth in advertising" statutes. In California, a "hamburger" is 100% beef and the DA thought "deli-burger" wasn't sufficiently distinct from "hamburger" so as not to confuse consumers.

Consumers be darned! Whatever they were, they were delicious. Some of the best ground meat patties I ever had between the halves of a kaiser roll. Whatever your burgers are and/or should be called, no words are more important than "tastes good."

Pattie on,
BDL
post #21 of 31
bdl -

it is an over emphasis. I told you to look away now . . . .<g>

"pure" <whatever> excludes anything and everything from all things.

"100% beef patty" EXCLUDES salt and pepper.
it EXCLUDES any kind of any oil used to fry.
if they're gonna' do detail, then detail it is - truth counts.
neither salt nor pepper are "beef"

if they want to do a recount, tell Al Gore - he's hot on recounts.

=================
edit:

and EXACTLY where is the ham in a pure beef hamburger?
FALSITIES IN ADVERTISING!

it's ludicrous. Californian even.
post #22 of 31
No. "Pure" means "in," not "on" the meat. Also, the word "pure," IIRC, is not in the regulation or statute (whichever it is). The rule is fairly common throughout the United States -- if not a Federal rule, enforced under the Interstate Commerce and Supremacy Clauses of the US Constitution. I'm not sure.

However, I am sure your statement beginning, "100% beef EXCLUDES ... " is wrong on the law.

As I said in my previous post, my remark was meant to reflect language use only -- and that I did not consider strict usage as important as results. That I'd eaten other "burgers" that didn't meet the language purity test -- and those "burgers" were wonderful; and, that you should go ahead and call them whatever you liked.

If I were somehow unclear, or if you found my remarks to be challenging, "passive-aggressive" or in any other way offensive, I apologize for the misunderstanding.

BDL
post #23 of 31
bdl -

apology not required. common sense applies - I submit you possess that.

but since this place is not a UN bureaucratic wrangling over "how high must a chad hang before it is a real hanging chad" the entire 100% in this regard is illusional and utterly absurd.
imho; of course.

a hamburger is a hamburger is a hamburger.
real people don't run around checking it's pedigree.
it's good or it's not good.
end of situation.
only in California do they need such a stringent 100% definition to avoid plastic surgeons recycling liposuctioned fat into "burger food"

if I put in some crumbed Stilton or blue cheese and call it a cheeseburger, does that qualify?

let California crack off and fall into the ocean. it is a culture that can define 100% pure beef patty but fosters plastic surgery, fake boobs and butts as "okay" for real life.

not limited to CA: for a good example of super-dumkopfness, see:
Alosha's Kitchen: illegal or not?
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
I've heard that - don't flip it more than once. What happens if you do?
post #25 of 31
It doesn't get the time to form that nice crust, and gives it more chance to fall apart , the more you flip it.

DC
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #26 of 31
For my burgers I usually prefer 75/25 ratio when I buy at the supermarket. I will go for 80/20 if buying at a butcher. Supermarket burger I like a little fattier, because I now tend to cook my burgers MW to just barely Well, due to e coli scares. Sorry, I don't really trust the big markets or where they get their meat. If I could be sure that all their burger was ground in-house I might trust them, but usually it's a mix of in-house and bought burger meat. Now if buying from a butcher, I stick with 80/20 because I will cook them MR (my preferred way of eating burgers) and the meat doesn't need the extra moistness from the extra fat.

Generally, I am a straight forward burger guy. Nothing in the burger meat and seasoned only with salt and pepper. Once on the bun though, that is a different matter. Occasionally, I like to stuff my burgers with blue cheese or mix the burger meat with Mexican Chorizo at a ratio of 2 parts meat to 1 part chorizo. Top that baby with pickled red onions, nice ripe tomatoes and a cilantro-coriander mayo.
post #27 of 31
The 75/25 and 80/20 explanation make perfect sense. LOVE the chorizo thing. Good chorizo? Or, cheap, bad for you chorizo with glands? You know, the kind we really like.

BDL
post #28 of 31

Hamburgers - Meatloaf

When mixing ground meats for a meatloaf, or meatballs to serve in spaghetti n' meatballs.....I like to use my stand mixer fitted with the mixing paddle. Makes for a fluffier and tastier product. Mixing time; only just long enough that it takes to incorporate all of the ingredients.

Meat patties for hamburger is a whole other thing! A coarse grind. Just shape by hand, gently.....do not compact! Sprinkle with pepper and salt, and griddle no for longer than 3 minutes on each side. (DH Does sautèe finely minced onion and some minced garlic to add to the meat.) Don't squeeze the juices out of it by pressing down on the patty while cooking!!!
post #29 of 31
I think you basically lose more juice from the meat. You have probably noticed juice/grease pooling on top of the burger when you cook it on a grill. Presumably, the more you flip that burger, the more often the grease comes off the top and goes into the fire.

End result is a less juicy burger.
Mike

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Mike

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post #30 of 31

Flipping out.

I think you basically lose more juice from the meat. You have probably noticed juice/grease pooling on top of the burger when you cook it on a grill. Presumably, the more you flip that burger, the more often the grease comes off the top and goes into the fire.

End result is a less juicy burger.
Mike

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