The key to a good burger is a good patty. This may seem obvious, but all too often purveyors and home cooks alike will attempt to use exotic toppings to make up for mediocre patties. An excellent patty will allow whatever toppings you prefer to shine. It should be tender even after being cooked to medium throughout. (Rare burgers are only safe with meat which you have watched being ground.) It must hold together well enough to survive being turned once, and gotten off the grill. It should be seared on at least one side. And it should definitely be served hot.
In order to produce a patty which will hold together when pressed out thin and stay moist enough not to seem tough, we use an egg and a panade again, which we also used in making meatballs. I like using heavy cream, which I generally keep around for various purposes, but milk or water will also work fine. Or get fancy and use beef stock!
Get everything ready ahead of time for the burgers: slice the buns, the onion and tomato, and get the greens clean. Organize your cheese. Once you form the patties, they ought to go straight onto the grill (or back in the fridge), and they cook pretty fast if the fire is properly hot, so there won’t be time to get all the toppings together once the patties are cooked. After all the various pieces have been organized, then it’s time to make the patties.
Makes enough for 4 people, i.e. 4 burger patties.
• 1 large mixing bowl
• squares of wax paper (5), optionally, for stacking and storing the patties
1 lb medium ground beef 400-500 g (1 lb = 454 g)
1 ea egg
1⁄4 cup cream or milk
2 Tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp onion powder
1⁄2 tsp garlic powder or granulated garlic
1⁄2 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp black pepper
1. In the bottom of a large mixing bowl, add the cream to the breadcrumbs.
2. Measure the remaining seasonings onto the breadcrumb-cream mixture.
3. Mix carefully with a fork; it’s best not to spread it out.
4. Let the mixture stand until the breadcrumbs have soaked up all the cream.
5. Add the egg and the ground beef.
6. Mix thoroughly with clean hands.
7. Make the mix into two balls of equal size.
8. Split each of those balls into two more balls, both of equal size. You now have four equal portions.
9. Flatten the four balls of meat into patties; against the side of the bowl frequently works.
10. Apply additional salt and pepper to the patty’s upper surfaces.
11. Place the patties seasoned-side-down onto the hot grill over a decent fire, and season their upper sides.
12. Place the lid on the grill for 2-3 minutes.
13. Flip the burgers (carefully).
14. Cover and allow to cook ~2 min more
15. Remove promptly to a plate.
16. Optionally toast your buns on the grill.
17. Serve everything while it’s still warm.