Science: For the Best Burgers, Don’t Buy Ground Beef—See Why It’s Best to Grind Meat Yourself!

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Watch Test Cook Dan Souza illustrate Concept #14, “Grind Meat at Home for Tender Burgers,” with an in-depth kitchen experiment. Hint: It’s messy. And tasty.

Learn more about the experiment (with action photos!):
http://www.americastestkitchenfeed.com/cooking-science/2012/09/we-prove-it-grind-meat-at-home-for-tender-burgers/

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Guys, even though he has some good points, I have better suggestions for a really, tasty, mouth watering burger.

    First off, You should grind your own meat at home. Use fatty cuts of beef, and try to have the meat at least of a ratio of 80% lean and 20% fat. Fat is what gives meat their flavor. When cooked, the fat in the meat melts and gives meat a nice juicy flavor. My personal favorite and recommendation to grind meat with is Chuck steak. When grinding meat, you can either use a blender (try putting in small portions of chopped up meat one at a time to prevent clogging), food processor, or just a regular meat grinder that you can probably find for cheap on Amazon. After you get your grind up meat, you can just form the patty circle with your hands, or you can use a hamburger mold, and you can make them as thick at you like (I usually make them 1/3-1/2 inch thick)

    Second off, seasoning. Seasoning on your burgers is very important. Using the right umami (savory) seasonings for your burger can make a huge difference in the taste and flavor at the end. Binging with Babish's burger seasoning is a good way to give your burgers a salty flavor, and you can experiment from there. My personal blend includes salt, pepper, msg, bonito flake, dried shiitake mushrooms, dried konbu, a single dried anchovy (5 of these courtesy of Babish), garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika (use smoked if you would like a smoky flavor going on in your patty). If you do decide to use my seasoning blend, I suggest seasoning the patty while its cooking, since the salt will slightly lose its flavor if you season the patty beforehand, and to only season one side, since this seasoning blend packs itself a punch already. Also I should strongly emphatically tell you, do not add ingredients in your burger meat, and do not season it before you form the patty . You aren't making meatloaf, your making burgers, and you want the texture of a good burger. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you later.

    Thirdly, I suggest pan frying your patties (I suggest a cast iron) instead of grilling them, since the juices in a burger is what contributes to a patties flavor, and while grilling a patty may give a burger a smoky texture, the juices will fall in the fire, and end up not giving a patty the flavors it righteously deserves. Also, I suggest toasting your buns in extra virgin olive oil in medium to medium high heat to not only give you an extra oomph to your burger, but also to not be soggy as much if too much of the juices are absorbed by the buns (I suggest getting thick slices). Cook your patties in medium to medium high heat until you see some cooked meat forming on the bottom. Flip it, put a slice of American Cheese on top, put 2 teaspoons of water into the pan and cover the pan until the cheese has melted. Put the patty on the toasted buns and set aside. Put any toppings you desire on your patty, I usually put shredded iceberg lettuce on the bottom bun, then caramelized onions, ketchup, and sometimes a slice of a microwaved tomato seasoned with salt and rubbed with olive oil. Enjoy your burgers guys! Your mouth will thank you for it!

  2. I think how much it splatters is really irrelevant beyond the basic point of the texture of the burger. A lot of you are obsessed with that one factor. If making your own tastes better, that should be the most important factor.

  3. I grind chuck all the time to make burgers. I put 250 grams in my Weston burger press for uniform thickness. I used to buy 80/20 from the store but will never go back to store bought.

  4. I tried this method last night (minus the pot) and they turned out beautifully. I'm never making ground beef hamburgers ever again!

  5. I"d rather a burger that stays together.
    That being said: Looking at the drop test: is that a valid test to use since I don't chew my burgers by dropping a pan on them.

  6. I don't know dude, I bought packed ground beef in a tube from Food 4 Less and it still crumbles as easily as the home grinded one made in this video. I go for 80% Lean 20% fat for my ground beef and tastes delicious. Just meat, salt, pepper, some wet hands so the meat won't stick and you got a tasty patty for your burger.

  7. i laugh at all these hipster burger joints popping up everywhere. Keep your wallet intact go to the butcher shop then back home & make yourself a killer burger

  8. I still prefer shop bought ground beef after that drop test I don't want a slushy burger! If it's cooked medium it will be juicy n tender

  9. The real question I have is, if you grind your own meat fresh the day of a barbecue, would the burgers be tight enough to actually grill? Or is the only option pan frying so that you dont have burgers that slightly stick to the grill and completely fall apart when flipping?

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