Rushville Republican


June 20, 2012

Cooks Corner: Hamburgers

RUSHVILLE — Let's talk about hamburgers this time. Just about everyone likes burgers. It is easy to be creative with just a little imagination. Why leave all the creativity to the fast food chains?  You can change the entire theme  of your burger just by adding seasonings and the style you cook them. You can bake, broil, fry or grill them and generally they are hard to make a mistake. They can be marinated, basted or dry seasoned. They can also be made into patties, rolls or meatloaf style. They can be served on various flavors of buns, open faced or without any bread and simply placed on your plate.

The differences in fat content of beef well determines the basic moisture when cooking. Regular ground beef marked 70/30 has 30% fat content and while you will have a little more shrinkage, they generally have more moisture when cooked. 80/20 ground chuck while with less fat still cooks well and retains enough juice to work well and give you a lot of flavor. While 90/10 ground sirloin has a lot of flavor in the meat moisture need to be added to avoid dryness.

Avoid flipping the burger multiple times and never flatten them with a spatula as this will force the moisture out of the meat. Depending on thickness of your burger they can be cooked over low, medium or high heat.

When using ground beef you need to attain an internal temperature of 165 degrees. This will eliminate any bacteria that may be harmful. The difference between hamburgers and steak is that hamburger is internally exposed to air that may carry bacteria. While the steaks and roasts are dense enough to prevent the bacteria from entering.

I would feel remiss if I did not include other meats in making burgers. Using different meats such as ground pork, ground turkey and so on, well you get the picture. In general any style of cooking hamburgers will apply to these other meats. They create a change in flavors and textures. When using any of these meats including beef  do not compress the meat into to tight of patties. Lightly mix with seasonings and mold into patty form. Some of your drier meats you may want to add  moisture when preparing meat for cooking. One that I like is melted butter mixed into the meat. It will add a richness to the flavor as well as moisture. The down side of using butter is that it will increase the fat content.

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