How To Make the Juiciest Burger Patties

How To Make the Juiciest Burger Patties

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Meghan Splawn
Sep 3, 2018
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Say goodbye to the dry, boring, overcooked burgers you're used to serving. Bid farewell to wondering which ground beef will give you legitimately tasty burgers. There's a new burger in town, and it's the one burger patty to rule them all. Behold, the butter burger.

That's right — there's grated butter in these burger patties. It still kind of blows my mind every time I think about it, but adding a little fat to the ground beef, forming them into patties, and seasoning with salt is our smart (and easy) new technique for better burgers at home. Those little streaks of butter will keep you from stressing over which beef to buy, and you don't even have to be disappointed when your father in-law asks for his burger well-done (it will still be delicious). These burger patties have renewed my love for grilled burgers.

The Juiciest Burger Patties: Watch the Video

Yes, Add Butter to Your Beef for Better Burgers

Last fall I bought a local beef share, which left me with 37 pounds of ground beef. While incredibly flavorful, it isn't labeled as sirloin or chuck (two types of ground beef prized for making burgers) — it's just labeled "ground beef." The type of beef you use for burgers matters, because sirloin has a beefy flavor, while ground chuck has plenty of fat to keep the burgers juicy.

But you know as well as I do that sometimes your butcher has one or not the other, or just has ground beef (especially if you're looking for grass-fed beef). The workaround? Add the fat you seek directly to the meat. Butter is readily available, affordable, and adds moisture and fat to beef — making for a tender, juicy burger.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Key Steps for Juicy Burger Patties

  • Use cold butter and grate it. The most important part about adding butter to your burgers is making sure it's a similar shape and temperature to the ground beef. For example, cubed and sliced butter left deep pockets in the beef as it cooked out, but I found that cold, grated butter makes for the perfect buttery flavor and texture.
  • Be gentle when mixing and shaping. Using cold butter and beef will make handling the beef a little bit easier, but you'll still want to avoid over-mixing or being too rough while shaping the patties.
  • Salt the burgers after shaping. Instead of incorporating the salt into the burger patties, which can draw out moisture and make the patties dry, season the outside of the patties before grilling.
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Grilling and Serving Butter Burgers

Cook the burgers over medium heat (we found that high heat can cause flare ups). The butter on the surface of the patties causes the outside to form a deliciously crisp-tender crust, while still keeping them juicy on the inside. Serve these with all the classic fixings: toasted buns, sliced tomato, cheese, red onion, and lettuce.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

How To Make the Juiciest Burger Patties

Serves 8

Prep time: 25 minutes ; cooking time: 15 minutes

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks

    (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

  • 3 pounds

    ground beef, preferably sirloin

  • 1 tablespoon

    kosher salt

  • 8 slices

    cheese, such as American, cheddar, or Swiss (optional)

  • For serving: Split hamburger buns, lettuce, sliced tomato, thinly sliced red onion

  • Equipment
  • Outdoor grill

  • Thin metal spatula, such as a fish spatula

  • Plate or platter

Instructions

  1. Grate the butter. Using the large holes of a box grater, grate the cold butter into large, thin pieces. (Use the wrapper from the butter to catch the butter shards and make moving them easier).

  2. Form the patties. Place the ground beef in a large bowl and sprinkle the butter on top. Using your hands, quickly and gently fold the butter into the beef. Shape the burgers into 8 (6-ounce) patties about 4 inches in diameter and 3/4-inch thick.

  3. Season the patties. Place the patties on a rimmed baking sheet and season both sides with salt. Be generous, but you might not use all the salt called for. Set aside while you prepare the grill.

  4. Prepare the grill for medium-high heat. Heat an outdoor grill to direct, medium-high heat. Scrape the grill grates clean if needed.

  5. Grill for 4 minutes each side. Place the patties on the grill in a single layer. Grill the burgers for 4 minutes — expect a few flare-ups as the butter melts. Using a thin metal spatula, flip the burgers and grill until the burgers are browned and crisp on the outside, about 4 minutes more.

  6. Serve the burgers. If using cheese, place a slice on each patty during the last minute of grilling. Serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

Stovetop directions: Heat a large cast iron pan over medium-high heat. Cook 3 burgers at a time for 4 minutes on the first side, then flip and cook for 3 minutes more. You may need to drain off the fat and wipe the pan between burger batches.

Storage: Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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