How To Make Burger Patties

Mar 27, 2012 4:31 pm

A cool technique to get perfect burger patties

recipe for burgers
Photo: Mark Shaw
Follow these simple steps to making your own burger patties for a better barbecue.

I'm going to throw a general sweeping request out there: Don't buy pre-made burger patties. The state of ground beef is dire enough as it is; don't give those meat abusers the privilege of shaping the future of your barbecue. Instead, head to your local butcher up to two days before your burger conquest and request two (or more) pounds of coarsely ground chuck with an 80/20 meat to fat ratio. It may seem like a lot of fat, but plenty will cook off. What would you rather have: a somewhat delicious/somewhat like a hockey puck burger with slightly less fat, or a really awesome burger you get full credit for?

Feel free to season the beef with salt, pepper, onion powder, a little cayenne or anything else that comes to mind, just be sure not to overmix or you'll end up with tough patties.

Here's what you'll need:

  • 2 pounds of freshly ground beef for 6-8 burgers, depending on thickness
  • A shallow, round container the same diameter you want your patties
  • Plastic wrap
  • Clean, willing hands
line the container
Line your container

Tear off two sheets of plastic wrap. Line the container with one, pushing down with your fingers to cover the whole bottom. Set the other aside.

tear off a hunk of meat
Tear off a hunk of meat

Grab a handful of meat the size you'd want your burger to be, or if you want to be type-A about it, portion the meat into six to eight hunks. If you go free-form, you can make burgers of different thicknesses. Just keep in mind thicker burgers will take slightly longer to cook.

Press that meat
Press that meat down

Using your fingers and knuckles, lightly press the meat down into the mold, making sure to push it against all the edges. Don't pack it down too hard or you'll have a rock-solid burger.

Release the burger
Release the burger!

Lift the patty out of the container using the edges of the plastic wrap and set on a plate. 

Cover with plastic wrap
Cover with plastic wrap

Cover with the second sheet of plastic wrap while you're making the other patties — ground beef dries out surprisingly quickly (even before it's cooked).


Repeat the process until all the meat has been used. Don't stack plastic wrap-separated patties more than 4 high or they'll flatten out. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to a day in advance, and allow to come to room temperature before cooking.

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