Barbecue Questions | How Do You Make Hamburger Patties?

One debate that goes on in the barbecue and grilling world is how to make the ever perfect burger patty.

Let's talk about it a little bit. I was always told that unless you don't ask, you may never know! So I did some digging and wondered, what is the best way to make a burger patty? USUALLY, when you bring home a pound of ground beef, what do you do with it? You make hamburger patties and prepare them for dinner to cook over an open flame or on a hot skillet inside. 

Making a patty is the BASE for everything from a burger to a "Juicy Lucy"! Whether it is for the tailgate or your weekday dinner, hamburger patties are the palette for your favorite toppings. Now, let's shape up and talk about how to form AND season your patties to perfection! 

First Things First: What Is The Best Ground Beef?

When you head to the store and ground beef is on the list, there needs to be a few standards to look for that will yield some of the BEST patties! First, fat content. Some home chefs and grillionaires™ prefer to use a less lean ground beef. The thought process here is that it stays juicer as the meat cooks, due to its high fat content. USUALLY 80/20 is the standard for making great patties! 

Another questions is, what color should the ground beef be? When we are getting primal and working with raw meat and our hands, we tend to think that the bright red meat feels the most natural. That may be, but oxygen reacting to the meat effects the color and makes it the bright red. Meat is naturally a purplish-red color. ALSO, do not panic if the meat is grey on the inside; this just means that the meat has interacted with oxygen.

Second: How Do I Form The Patty?

Another great question that I hope to answer for you in the easiest way possible! Hamburgers can be made in a VARIETY of ways! Think stuffed burgers, smash burgers, sliders, thick, extra-thick, and even seasoned! However, keep reading for a few tips on making the perfect patty! 

1. Should I season the meat? Seasoning the meat for patty making is TRULY a personal preference here. Salt will enhance the natural flavor of the meat. Other spices and seasonings should be added after the patty is made. This will enhance the flavor on the inside while building a nice crust on the outside.


2. Divide the meat into equal sections. Before forming the patties, cut the meat into equal sections. Have you wondered how the "Golden Arches" makes the quarter pounder? The divide the meat into quarter pound sections, which means one pound of beef yields four equal patties! This makes portioning SO much easier. And this can be a measurement yours to divide your patties at home! 

3. Roll each patty section into a ball. This is pretty self explanatory here. Roll each section of the divided meat into (as much as possible) equal balls. It is not going to be perfect, but you can eye ball it.

 4. Flatten the balls into patty shapes. There are MANY ways we can form patties here. Some use a press, others use their hands, and some smash the burgers onto the grill or griddle from the ball shape. Either way, press each ball into a patty shape with your desired thickness. I like to form each of the patties with my hand, to get a nice custom hamburger patty for each individual. 

Grillionaire Pro Tip: When forming the patties, make sure to put a thumb sized dent in the middle of the patty. When grilling, the patty will shrink, and this helps prevent it from shrinking more when brought over the heat.

Patties Are Formed, So How Do I Cook Them?

ANOTHER great question that needs to be asked. This is where you can be as CREATIVE as you want to be, when it comes to your burgers! You can cook them over an open flame, on a griddle, smash burger style, EVEN in the oven! 

Cooking your burgers over an open flame can create a smoky flavor that is often desired when it comes to a burger. However, grilling them inside in a pan can yield flavorful AND juicy burgers as well. The sky is the limit, just make sure you DON'T overcook them! 

There you have it. The BEST and EASIEST ways to form burgers and how to cook them! Simple questions need to be answered because even the most seasoned grillionaire needs to get back to the basics. 

Until next time, make sure you eat well, do well, and serve good food! 

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