So, you've been at home trying to cook the perfect burger.
Have you ever had your burger fall apart and into the depths of your barbecue pit a.k.a. barbecue hell? It sucks, and we know it. That's why we came up with 3 tips to NEVER have your burger fall apart on you. Better yet, we're going to teach you how to make a STUFFED burger without it falling apart on you (only because it's the same thing).
Tip #1: Refrigeration
Notice that the secret is to just refrigerate and not freeze your patties. Although frozen patties would definitely stick together, putting a frozen patty directly on your grill is less than ideal for a few reasons. The first reason is that it will simply take longer to cook through. Secondly, the burger may not cook evenly because side of the patty that's touching the grill will likely cook while the other side is still thawing out. Of course you'll be flipping it over, but now the top is perfect, but you're cooking the bottom. This leaves the chance of overcooking the side you started with (now on the top).
So now that you know why freezing it is a no-go, refrigeration is the next best bet because cold meat simply sticks together. Although it doesn't seem like it, your ground beef will absorb a lot of heat from your hands, the atmosphere, and even other non-chilled ingredients like spices while you're shaping them. We recommend shaping patties, putting them on wax paper, and putting them in the refrigerator to cool back down until you're ready to throw them on the grill.
Tip #2: Easy on the Handling
Go easy on the shaping. When you're making your burgers, try not to manhandle them too much or else you'll end up breaking the meat into smaller pieces than you have to. We recommend simply shaping the beef into a vague burger shape with the least amount handling as possible. Or if you'd rather work smarter than harder, you can also use a stuffed burger press like the Big Boy Burger Binder, which shapes the perfect burger every time.
Go easy on the flipping too. Flipping it also leaves opportunity for unwanted breaking apart of meat. Of course, you're going to have to flip your burger eventually. So, we recommend letting the one side sizzle until the patty is half way cooked through, then flip it once to cook the other side. It seems simple enough, but there are a couple reasons why this is best. The first reason is that by the time you flip your burger to cook the second side, you'll have one side of your burger cooked and solid enough to hold the other side in place. Secondly, if you're cooking it on a grill, constantly scraping the patty up off the grill and plopping the it back down is bound to break it apart!
Tip #3: Solids over Liquids
Liquid flavourings like Worcestershire sauce are pretty common in burgers but at the end of the day, they do make the patty more watery, which leaves it susceptible to breaking apart on the grill. We recommend sticking with dry seasonings for your flavour. Give that patty a lil' mama slappin' if you're ever feeling bold.
Bonus Tip: When to Season
This one' doesn't quite have to do with burgers falling apart, but we thought we should mention it because we're just that awesome (it's not bragging if it's true). We recommend adding seasoning and salt to your meat only after you've shaped them into patties. If you add it before hand, the fat in the ground beef will melt prematurely and your burger won't have that meaty texture we love. Instead, it'll feel like a weird round sausage pancake in your mouth (if you just gagged a little bit, its alright because we did too).