The basis of a hamburger is, of course, the ground beef from which you make the “patties.”
In preparing the patties, I have tried all sorts of “add-ins” to mix with the beef – everything from dried onion soup mix, to eggs, to bacon fat, to grated cheese . The absolute best to add is…nothing at all! Why dilute that pure beefy taste?
When making your own hamburgers, start with 1 ¼ pounds of ground beef with 20% fat content. This will be enough for four big patties.
Normally I buy a lesser fat content, but for really tasty burgers, get the 20%.
(Using clean hands!) Divide the beef into four sections. Gently form each section into a round “patty” shape. It’s not necessary to tightly pack the beef into shape. In fact, you should try to handle the beef as little as possible.
Each patty should measure approximately ¾ inches thick and 4 ½ inches across.
Wrap the extra patties in plastic wrap and freeze them for next week’s dinner.
Before you start cooking the hamburgers, toast the cut side of the rolls. (Untoasted rolls get soggy very quickly.) Lay the rolls out on a baking sheet with sides and put them under the broiler.
It will only take a minute or two, so don’t do anything but stand there with pot holder in your hand, ready to remove the rolls from the oven. (They go from beautifully toasted to burnt in the blink of an eye. Then the smoke alarm goes off and ….you know the rest!)
Preheat your fry pan (on medium- high temperature) by putting a few drops of water in the pan. By the time they have evaporated, your pan will be hot.
Make sure the fry pan you are using is large enough to hold your hamburgers without squishing them together.
Cook the hamburgers (on medium-high) on one side then flip them once, and then cook them on the other side.
Cooking times on each side:
- 3 minutes for RARE (caution-see note below!)
- 4 minutes for MEDIUM
- 5 minutes for WELL DONE
If you want to make a cheeseburger, place a slice of cheese on the flip side about 1 minute before the burgers are done cooking. The heat from the hamburgers will melt the cheese.
Serve your hamburgers with sliced tomatoes, lettuce, a dollop of mayonnaise and some salt and pepper.
Add some variation to your hamburger recipes thanks to this Tex-Mex cheeseburger video!
Rare, medium or well done Hamburgers?
The USDA recommends that you always cook hamburgers so that the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees which is well done.
A friend from Canada describes why:
“…one thing I’ve learned from working in the food service industry (McDonald’s in Canada, in my case) for over 15 years is that the only safe way to cook hamburgers is to make sure they are fully cooked, not rare. This eliminates the possibility of there being any harmful bacteria in the burger – in particular, E. coli.In fact, it is standard practice at McDonald’s in Canada to verify a safe internal temperature with the first run of the products from the grill, before anything gets served to the customers. In my area, the minimum safe temperature for cooked beef patties is 156 degrees F. It may vary in other locations – in some areas, the safe temperature is 160 degrees, for example.”
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