What Is The Key To Making Good Hamburger Patties?

With a few simple tricks, you can learn how to make hamburger patties that are award winning!  Impress family and friends with your new found skill.

In a nutshell, if there is a recipe in making good hamburger patties, it is selection of the right type of meat, forming the patty itself, and then cooking it right.

When buying hamburger, most folks buy prepackaged ground beef and have no idea what is really in that package.  Did the ground beef come from one cow, or maybe a bunch of cows!

Then, did you open up a package of meat that is red on the outside and brown in the center?  Now, some say this is just a natural occurrence. When red meats are exposed to oxygen, and when combined with something call myoglobin, you get this natural condition.  And, not to worry, the meat is fresh and edible.  Are we being jerked around?

Have you bought prepackaged hamburger and received kind of a funny smell from it?  Or, have you noticed it while you were cooking it?  Like it’s not really fresh smelling?

This may lead you to selecting your own meat and either having the butcher grind it for you, or you can grind it yourself.


Grinding it yourself is not a real hassle.  You can use a food processor in the pulsating mode, purchase a hand meat grinder, or a mechanical one.

What are the cuts of meat that you can use for hamburger patties?

You can combine different meats, like ground chuck and sirloin.  Ground chuck has a little more fat in it and if you combine it with sirloin, it will cut down on the fat content.  Or, you could use sirloin by itself.  However, it may result in a real dry burger. 

Mix beef with turkey, but your patties will be a bit softer and harder to cook. But, you can add bread crumbs to make them firmer, especially if barbecuing.

You can also add all kinds of spices, dry rubs, eggs, peppers, onions, garlic, and cheeses to patties.  However, you should get a real feel for the natural flavor of the meat first, and then experiment.

The last time I formed up hamburger patties, I used brisket.  It was a little fatty, so I trimmed some of it off.  Cut the meat into small chunks, about one inch square.

Place it all in a plastic container and put it in the freezer for about one half hour. It will grind up a lot easier.

I coarsely ground the brisket and I formed it into about the size of a tennis ball.  Put a little olive oil on your hands before you do this.

Gently flatten each ball to about a half inch thick.  You want your patty to be loosely packed.  Work around the edges a bit to get it symmetrical. 

Put a thumbprint in the middle of each patty.  This keeps the patty from rising in the middle.  Don’t go berserk, a tiny indent with your thumb will suffice.

You can do something when you know what kind of beef you have, that you can’t do when you buy a package of pre-ground hamburger.  And, that is: you can cook it rare, medium rare, or how ever you want it.

When the barbecue or skillet is hot, cook the patties four to five minutes on each side.  Try up to seven minutes for medium done hamburger.

Now that you have gone through the process, you can experiment by adding different things to the meat.  I prefer not to do this, but to each their own.

For example, you can add onions directly to the patties, but I prefer either uncooked onion rings on my burgers, or cooked separately and caramelized.  I also prefer to add a slice of cheese to the top of the hamburger in the final stages of cooking to make it real good.