Burger recipe basics
- 500g beef, veal or lamb mince will make four burgers, or six smaller rissole sized burgers.
- Combine the mince with flavourings. You can add 2 tbsp of water to the burger recipe to make burgers just a little lighter and moist.
Mix by hand
- Hold the bowl with one hand and lightly mix the meat with the other (rotating the bowl as you mix).
- Use your fingers rather than the palm of your hand to thoroughly combine the flavourings and achieve a good consistency.
- Don’t overwork the mince mixture – it should cling together but not be pasty. Over-kneading will make the mixture too compact, and the burgers will be tough.
- Dipping your hands in warm water will make the burgers easier to shape.
- Handle the mixture gently, use a light touch and don’t make them too compacted. Rather than a dense burger, which is difficult to cook well, aim for a loosely formed patty that holds together but is not too compressed.
- Take about three-quarters of a cup of the mince mixture and form each into a ball, then flatten the ball top and bottom.
- Don’t squash the patty into a flattened disc. About 2-3cm is the best thickness for a burger; any thicker and they may not cook through. At this size and shape the burger will cook through to the middle without becoming dry on the outside.
How to cook burgers
- Brush or spray the burgers lightly with oil. Refrigerate for 10-15 minutes to firm.
- Preheat the pan/barbecue to moderately high. The burgers should sizzle when you add them to the pan/barbecue. Lower the heat to moderate once the burgers are added. If the burgers are cooking too fast, reduce the heat further.
- Don’t overcrowd the barbecue plate or pan. This reduces the heat causing the burgers to release juices and begin to stew. Leave some space between each burger when cooking.
- Four burgers (made from 500g of mince) will take 6-7 minutes to cook on each side.
- Smaller rissole sized burgers will take about 4-5 minutes on each side.
- To turn the burgers, ease a spatula under each to lift from the heat, and then carefully turn the burger with tongs.
Don’t do rare burgers
Burgers should always be thoroughly cooked; they should not be served undercooked, rare or pink. The internal temperature should be 75ºC. A good guide is to insert a skewer into the thickest part; if it is ready to eat the juices will be clear.
To make sure your burgers stay moist and juicy
Don’t flatten them as they cook or you will squeeze the juices out. Don’t be tempted to turn them too early (they’ll stick to the pan or grill and fall apart as you turn otherwise). Gently ease a spatula under each beef burger to lift it from the heat, then, carefully turn the burger with tongs. Turn them once only
Which mince is best
Mid-range grades of mince, with a little more fat than the leanest grades, are good for burgers as that little bit of extra fat helps keep them moist.