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This issue: The Perfect Burger - Part 1 

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VOLUME 37

The Perfect Burger

Part 2

by Mario Fiorucci

as published in
Tonic Toronto

 

Last month I discussed the four rules of making The Perfect Burger.  In this article I will take the discussion one step further and talk about the more subtle rules for achieving perfection – using eggs & breadcrumbs, and proper mixing.


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VOLUME 36 ... THE PERFECT BURGER - Part 2

 

You should know upfront that in the world of burger-making "experts", many will adamantly argue that eggs and breadcrumbs have no part in the making of The Perfect Burger, that such ingredients are appropriate for meatloaf, and it is an insult to add them to good quality meat to make a hamburger. HB burger 

Personally, I`m on the opposite side of the fence and I`ll tell you why: A beaten egg acts as a natural binder, and a small amount of fresh breadcrumbs absorbs the juices that would otherwise melt onto your barbeque and also help maintain the shape and size of your burger. Let`s face reality: A burger that falls apart when cooking is no longer a burger; further, a burger that has lost all of its fat will be dry. Even worse, dripping fat causes flare-ups making the cooking experience that much more difficult and far less enjoyable (try sipping a beer while metre high flames are singing your eyebrows). So, while I agree with the burger purists that the ultimate burger is made up of only good quality beef, salt and pepper, the reality is the finished product is more often than not superior when eggs and breadcrumbs are added... not too much, just enough to do their respective jobs – about 1 egg per two or three pounds of meat, and about 1 cup of breadcrumbs to five pounds of meat.

Mixing and forming your burgers properly is also key to achieving perfection. Rule: Do not overwork the meat. Mix the meat only by hand, not a with a machine, and only to the point where the proteins are binding together. A proper burger mix is semi-emulsified (I’m not sure this term actually exists, what I’m trying to get at is that the mix is not a full emulsification, but the ingredients are holding together firmly). If you under mix, the burger may fall apart when cooking. If you overwork the meat, you`ll end up with a burger that has a pasty texture. I wish there was a better way for me to describe at what point you should stop mixing, but it simply comes from practice – mix till you think it will be easy to form the patties, and not a second more.

All in all, to summarize Parts 1 and 2, The Perfect Burger is made from good quality beef that has fat content around 20%, ground once, seasoned lightly to enhance the flavour of the beef (not overtake the flavour), a little egg and breadcrumb to help with binding, all of which are mixed by hand (but not over mixed), and grilled to pink. If you have all the above, all that’s missing is family and friends to celebrate your masterpieces.

To access previous issues of Live to Eat, click here.

 

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