Regular ground beef can sometimes make a lacklustre homemade hamburger. You can take your burgers to the next juicy, char broiled level by just tweaking a few things.
(That's a DIY Charcuterie board ↑ you can learn how to make. )
To make some super-delicious homemade burgers you need a little more than just a mess of ground beef. For starters you can grind your own beef with a blade or cross rib roast. I show you how to do it, if you're interested, right here.
If you have pasture raised, dry aged beef with beautiful yellow fat in it you don't need to add anything other than a bit of seasoning to it.
But most of us are just buying regular ground beef at the grocery store which needs a bit of help.
With a few ingredients you probably already have around the kitchen you can make a great, big, juicy hamburger tonight! You have imported Asian truffle foam rooted by a one-eyed panda bear, right? (canned is fine)
Read on for the recipe!
Table of Contents
Homemade Hamburger Recipe
1. Add one egg (yolk only) to 1 lb of the highest fat content ground beef you can find. (fat = flavour)
2. Add finely diced onion.
TIP: Do all your mixing gently. You want to work the meat as little as possible.
3. A blast of ketchup.
4. In goes a glob of Dijon mustard.
5. Squirt in a splash of Worcestershire sauce and gently mix.
6. Add in ¼ cup of breadcrumbs (just enough to help with binding) and a generous dose of salt and pepper.
7. Gently form into patties. DON'T squash them. Gently form them. Squashing is for bugs, not hamburgers.
Update: For everyone in apoplectic fits over adding ¼ of a cup of dry bread crumbs and the egg yolks this does not make it meatloaf. It does not. It really is still a hamburger. The tiny amounts of these two things act as a binder which are important. They keep hamburgers from falling apart on the grill.
How to Make the Patties?
The number 1 rule for making hamburger patties is to be GENTLE with them. You don't want to mush, smash or press them hard. They need to be pressed enough to stay together but you want to keep the integrity of the meat.
Form the meat into a bit of a ball and then press it between the palms of your hands until it's a disk shape. Put that disk on the countertop and continue to gently press and prod it until it's the right shape and size.
Just before dropping them into the pan or grill press your thumb into the centre of the burger and press it about halfway down. This helps it cook evenly.
How Big Should the Burger be?
A good rule of thumb is to make your patty ¾" - 1" thick, and wider than the bun. Anything thinner will run the risk of being dried out and anything bigger and they're easy to undercook.
You Put Egg in Them?
You bet I do. Egg acts as a binder helping to stick the hamburger together so it doesn't fall apart on the grill.
If you can't use egg to keep your burgers together another trick you can use is to refrigerate the patties, allowing them to set up, before cooking.
Making Sure it's Juicy
I've already given you one tip for ensuring you have a burger that drips down your chin and makes your eyes roll into the back of your head. By making it 1" thick. More tips for a juicy burger include:
- Pressing an indent into the centre of it before you cook. This will pop up as the burger cooks, and get you a more evenly cooked hamburger.
- Use regular or lean ground beef - never extra lean.
- Unless the person eating it is very young, very old or pregnant you can cook your burger until it has an internal temperature of 145.
How to Cook
I almost exclusively cook meat in a cast iron pan. That includes hamburgers. Yes, even before using a grill, I will use my cast iron pan.
Cast iron heats up evenly and beautifully, is non stick, but can still get a good crusty sear on meat. The heat you set your pan to will depend on your stove, but I tend to heat it up quickly on high and then turn it down to medium/low once the burger hits the pan.
If you only have an oven (a toaster oven in a dorm for instance) you can cook these in there as well. Slip a cookie sheet into the oven and set it to 450 F (230 C). Once it's heated up slide your patties onto the hot cookie sheet and bake for approximately 5 minutes per side. When you flip the burger, flip it onto a part of the baking sheet that hasn't had burger on it yet - this will get you a better sear on the second side.
How to Make Homemade Hamburgers!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup finely very finely diced red onion. (you want it so small that once it cooks it disappears)
- 1 tablespoon ketchup
- 1 tablespoon dijon
- 2 shakes Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs just enough to aid in binding
- salt & pepper
- Mix together all ingredients gently. You don't want to mush and mash it.
- Form into 4 equally sized patties. (You can definitely stretch it and get 5 out of this recipe)
- Grill outdoors or cook in cast iron pan until done to your liking. About 4 minutes each side.
- Top with your favourite toppings!
Questions & Answers
- Isn't this really a meatloaf recipe? Um, no. It isn't. But I can see the confusion. Just make them. Trust me on this.
- What are the best hamburger buns? I used to be on a sesame seed bun kick, but now I only use brioche buns. I'm obsessed with them!
- What if I want a homemade fermented, New York style, Jewish deli pickle to go with my burger? No problem. Just click here for my classic fermented dill pickle recipe, based on fermenting God, Sandor Katz's pickles.
- Should you put lettuce on hamburgers? According to the late Anthony Bourdain? No. He has a point. If you don't eat the burger immediately the lettuce gets soft, warm and wilty.
- Can these be frozen? Of course! Just mix the ingredients, shape them into burgers and freeze them individually on wax paper. Once they're frozen you can stack them and store them.
Tune in next week for the next big debate: What's better for you? Frozen or homemade ice cubes.
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I'm making this tonight. Thanks for the recipe!
One more item I add is a few dashes of Montreal Steak Spice...….yum. Other than that and the Dijon Mustard, my burgers are exactly the same and renowned throughout the town of Renfrew.
Before you know it their infamy will extend as far as Arnprior! ~ karen
Karen - I made these the other night and they were Deee-Lish! I used 63/37 hamburger from the store. But they fell apart on the grill (with grates). I guess I was trying to not pack them too much and I should have packed them more? Or cooked them in a skillet?
HI Jeanie! I'm not sure what might have happened. The egg and crumbs definitely should have bound them together. So yes, maybe the only thing is that you were possibly toooooo gentle with forming them. :) ~ karen!
Even as a vegetarian (who grew up eating frozen hamburgers and never on a grill)(hadn’t been invented in western Kansas yet!😁) , this was basically the meatloaf I made growing up, and the family and friends loved it. It of course had many more crumbs (saltines) than yours, the entire egg (or two - there were 11 kids so more hamburger needed) and I was the experimental chef of the family with using the entire spice cabinet. Which was very limited) then - yep ketchup on the top!! Everyone seemed to enjoy it lots, so why the fuss over this? I think Karen’s version sounds delicious. If I still ate meat (haven’t for almost 40 years) I’d try it, and I do appreciate the smell of it cooking. I read all the comments, and there was a debate for sure! Just try it - it won’t kill you, and you might like it!! I loved reading this whole thing and every comment, Karen, and enjoyed it all! Thanks for the memory jog. One sister always said I made the best salads and the best meat loaf. There’s no meatloaf emoji, so this wil have to do. 😁😁❤️🍔🍔🍔
Please update the photo from the initial 2012 post showing ketchup bottle which was no doubt taken before Heinz up and left Canada in 2015 putting 740 people in Leamington ON out of work after 109 years of operation there. Heinz products are verboten in my kitchen since that fateful day!
Heinz to close Ontario plant, leaving 740 out of work:
If you want moist flavorful burgers do all the above plus add heaping tablespoon of mayo. I also usually put a tablespoon of BBQ sauce in mine.
You posted this a while back and I have been making 'your' burgers exclusively.... They are So good and juicy. I had company weeks ago and made theses and when the little girl was served burgers at home, she said ' no, I want the ones like Tina made'... LOL I sent the super easy recipe along to them. Thanks for posting this!
ARGH. I had LITERALLY just finished eating my own burger moments before I saw this post!
I'd added diced onion and lots of spices, but skipped everything else in your recipe. Still, it was an amazing burger! (thank you Target organic!) 🍔
Will def. try your way next time. Always up for a smokin good burger! 👍👍👍
Qthanks for the dent idea.
You're welcome! ~ karen
I see that this burger conversation was years ago, but I'm just now binging on all of Karen's posts. No one mentions garlic? I have to question that this burger recipe (yes, burger, not meatloaf) could be greatly improved with a few cloves of freshly minced garlic!
These turned out perfectly and were absolutely delish. Rave reviews from everyone at the bbq. Thank you!
Oh, that's great! Thanks for coming back and leaving a review. :) ~ karen!
My recipe, which my daughters refer to as Papa's Hamburgers, is nearly identical, but with a few twists: instead of red onion I use a yellow onion, diced finely (about 1 cup), and then gently caramelized over 30 minutes in the same cast iron pan in which the burgers will be cooked. I toss this into the ground beef, along with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning and all the other ingredients. Once cooked, we like to top these with slices of salted avocado and, if were feeling decadent, a fried egg.
And even if it's a meatloaf burger it will still be delicious! My dad raises pasture raised and corn finished black angus and I buy it directly from him so I have a high standard. There is a difference but I also buy beef from the grocery store and use it for hotdish-meatloaf, pasta-it's just fine.
Hi Laurie! They are indeed delicious. ~ karen!
I miss Anthony Bourdain :(
Yeah, me too. I was just thinking of him yesterday. ~ karen!