The Definitive Home-Made Burger Recipe


Now needs wood
May 29, 2008
MWF HQ, Ukadia
MX-5 1.8i Indiana SE, update pending
OK, so I do the majority of the cooking in this household, and while I'm generally a dab hand in the kitchen one thing that still eludes me is the perfect, home-made burger. I've tried various recipes from books and the interweb and still haven't cracked it completely.

Any ideas folks? I promise to test the methods thoroughly and report on each and every one in time, probably from the comfort of my bed on the cardiac ward!
For the ultimate burger the first step would be to grind down your own meat from various cuts of beef.
Actually I have a very good butcher down the road whose steak mince is excellent. It's more a case of binding and seasoning ideas that are required.
If the mince is really good, and to get the best flavour, you shouldn't really use any binding agents like egg or bread crumbs. For seasoning I'd simply go with salt, pepper and some worchestershire sauce. And idea could to also include a chopped up beef stock cube.

Struggeling to find a recipe for a bun tho, but maybe you can't be bothered about that anyway. :p

If you can be bothered:
For the pre-ferment
400g/14oz Canadian very strong bread flour
1g/?oz fast-action bread yeast
400g/14oz cold water

For the dough
700g/1lb 8?oz pre-fermented batter
200g/7oz free-range egg yolks (approximately 10 eggs)
60g/2?oz water at 20C
400g/14oz Canadian very strong bread flour
100g/3?oz unrefined caster sugar
70g/2?oz skimmed milk powder
15g/?oz table salt
14g/?oz fast-action yeast (2 sachets)
60g/2?oz browned butter, strained and at room temperature
30g/1oz grapeseed oil
35g/1?oz Trex, at room temperature (available at supermarkets, Trex is a vegetable fat used for pastry and bread)
For the egg wash
50g/1?oz whole free-range eggs
20g/?oz free-range egg yolks
dash water
pinch salt
sesame seeds, as needed

You will need the following special equipment: food mixer with dough hook, very coarse sieve, meat grinder, large cast-iron pan, digital probe.

1. Tip the flour into your mixing bowl and add the yeast.
2. Using a dough hook, begin mixing on low speed and gradually pour in the water until it has all been added.
3. Continue mixing on medium speed until a very liquid batter has formed.
4. Pour this batter into a clean, dry container (at least four times bigger than the volume of the batter). Cover and leave in a cool place for 24 hours to ferment.

1. After 24 hours, weigh out 700g/1lb 8?oz of pre-fermented batter and put it in a mixing bowl with a dough hook attachment. Add the egg yolks and the water and begin mixing on a low speed until the dough is homogeneous and very liquid again (approximately two minutes).
2. Sift the flour, sugar, skimmed milk powder, salt and yeast into a separate bowl through a very coarse sieve (this will help prevent them forming lumps when added to the dough). Stir to combine. If a suitable sieve isn't available, simply stir the ingredients together.
3. Gradually add the sifted ingredients to the dough while continuing to mix on slow speed. Once all have been added, increase the speed to medium and mix for another 2-3 minutes. The dough will look very sticky and wet.
4. Brown the butter in a pan until it develops a very nutty aroma, then strain it and discard the butter solids.
5. Add the browned butter, grapeseed oil and Trex to the dough and continue to mix for another 3-4 minutes, until well combined.
6. Stop the mixer and let the dough sit for ten minutes to absorb the water, then continue to mix on medium speed for another four minutes.
7. Cover the dough and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to firm up.
8. In the meantime, cut a piece of baking parchment to fit a large baking sheet.
9. Cut eight sheets of aluminium foil 50cm/20in long. Fold the sheets of foil in half in the shorter direction, then continue to fold in half until you have an aluminum strip 1cm/?in wide and 50cm/20in long. Tape one end of the strip to the other with a bit of overlap to form a ring approximately 12cm/5in in diameter. Repeat this process with the other sheets of foil.
10. When the dough has chilled, weigh out eight 85g/3oz portions. Any remaining dough can be wrapped up and frozen to use another time.
11. Lightly flour your hands and quickly roll each piece of dough into a small ball using the palm of your hand. Place the balls on the prepared baking sheet and place a foil ring around each one.
12. With wet hands, lightly pat the balls flat, then cover the baking sheet with cling film to prevent the dough from drying out.
13. Set the dough aside in a warm place (between 18-22C), for 1?-2 hours to let it prove.
14. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 225C/425F/Gas 7, and mix all the ingredients for the egg wash except the sesame seeds.
15. Using wet hands, lightly flatten the dough balls within the foil rings.
16. Just before baking, pour some water into a tray and place at the bottom of the oven to make it lightly steamy. (This will prevent the buns from cracking on the surface and developing too thick a crust).
17. Bake the buns for seven minutes, then remove from the oven and brush the tops with the egg wash. Generously cover each one with sesame seeds.
18. Return to the oven for a further seven minutes, or until the buns are done. Remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
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Actually I have a very good butcher down the road whose steak mince is excellent. It's more a case of binding and seasoning ideas that are required.

The important thing is the percentage of fat in the meat. I always use 80/20 meat to fat, and it gives me a nice, juicy burger. And that's without any seasoning or binders.
I don't do it myself, but my friends' burgers, which have been my favorite home-made burger, have garlic power and milk. Apparently the milk and beef together isn't kosher. With a jewish girlfriend, you learn something new everyday.
I don't do it myself, but my friends' burgers, which have been my favorite home-made burger, have garlic power and milk. Apparently the milk and beef together isn't kosher. With a jewish girlfriend, you learn something new everyday.

Not only is it not kosher, it's fucking disgusting and you will most definitely get an upset stomach. I'm fine with eating cheese with meat, but all those times I saw on TV a family sitting down for dinner and washing down their meat with a glass of milk...:sick:
I don't think I've ever had hat result. Every time I've ever been to In-n-Out, I get a cheeseburger & milk. *shhrugs*

And...burgers and milkshakes go together like bacon and...everything.
My dad makes a great burger by putting a little soy based steak sauce (locally sourced unfortunately), garlic powder, and lemon pepper on top. You rub this into both sides and let sit 5-10 minutes before grilling up. He makes them better than I do though. The steak sauce is really salty so you don't add any extra salt.
The burger should be simple. Good beef, salt, pepper, perhaps garlic, and Worcestershire. It's like Chili, it's all in using quality ingredients. I'll use bread crumbs if it's cooked in a pan, browns it up and holds it together. On the grill. . .never!
I use ground beef, stubbs BBQ spice rub and smoked jalapeno tabasco.
I make my own burger rub; Sea salt, Garlic powder, Black Pepper, Brown mustard powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, chili powder, basil, and rosemary. No binders and I grind my own meat, which cut varies with how rich I feel that day:lol:.
As far as i can see it there's no need for anything fancy in home burgers. A solid 80/20 mix, put ice chips in it, keeps it moist.
The breakdown of a great burger is 20% meat, 30% rub/spices and 50% method of cooking.

Charcoal is a must, and I much prefer lump hardwood to briquettes.
Temperature control via ventilation, a good on rack thermometer is helpful.
Meat should be close to room temperature prior to being put on the grill.
Only flip the burgers once, and never mash them down with a spatula.
Well done is for people without taste buds, you shouldn't be friends with them.
Probably why some recipes use milk. Most of the water evaporates and the solids stay behind?

I would think putting ice in the meat would be not much different than just soaking it in water.
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