You can’t wait to take the juicy, tender mouth-filling burger. After all, it is nutritious and has some filling fiber. It’s affordable and readily available. If you enjoy cooking, you can make some at home. You can use a stovetop or even a grill then customize it with your favorite toppings. It gets frustrating when you form and cook large burger patties only to shrink. That leaves you wondering, why do my hamburger shrink when cooking? Below are the possible reasons.
Possible Reasons of Shrinkage
Whether you are using ground beef, chicken, or turkey, you can quickly get the meat in a grocery store. Unfortunately, many business people are money minded and will go to any extent to make a profit. In some stores, customer satisfaction is not a priority. They add salty water to the meat to make it weigh more. The whole idea is to make more profit. Once you buy such meat and place it on the grill, the water will evaporate, causing the meat to shrink.
Meat that’s too lean
Do you want your bugger to have a good shape? Get a beef that is 80% meat, and the fat content should be 20%. Fat gives your meat a sweet flavor and helps it hold together. If you want some more flavors, add ground sirloin. If the available meat in the grocery store is lean beef, you should not postpone your mission of making a homemade burger. Remember, meat without fat will not hold together, meaning it will give you hand time. You can consider adding pork to your beef. If you have lean turkey, you can add high-fat ingredients to help it hold together. Other than losing shape and flavor, a burger made with leaner meat dries and crumbles easily.
Over Handling The Meat
You intend to make a tender, juicy burger that is loosely packed. As you try to make it neat and tidy, you may end up over handling it. In return, you will end up with a tough, dry burger. That’s why you should minimize handling it.
Failing To Make A Dimple
You don’t need magic to make a good-sized, flat-topped burger. All you require is first to make a wide patty then put a small dimple on it before cooking it. How can you do that? Simply press down patty’s center using your fingers.
Another cause of the shrinkage is the temperature. If the temperature is too high, then shrinkage will increase. So, when cooking your burger use moderate heat. If you are using a grill, avoid using a grill with a closed rid instead, use an open fire.
Failure To Season On Time
If you want your burger to retain the flavor and the texture, you must season right before cooking it. Otherwise, if you fail to season, you will not have a loose patty; neither will your burger be tender.
Flattening Your Bugger Manually
Some people think that flattening their burgers using tools such as a spatula will cook faster and get better char marks. That’s not the case. Instead, you will squeeze the juice out, making your burger shrink and loose shape.
How you can keep your burger from shrinking
Knowing the causes of shrinking, you need to follow the following steps.
Choose Your Meat
Buy the meat from the meat vendors who don’t add additives. Avoid buying lean meat instead; ensure that it has 80% meat and 20% fat. The fat will give it flavor and help it hold together. Avoid store-bought meat. Instead, ground fresh beef at home with a grinder.
Prepare The Grill
If you are using a charcoal grill, you need to prepare it. Light the coal and let it heat until you see ash coating. Season your grill grate before placing it on the heat.
Divide And Dimple
Before handling your meat, wash your hand thoroughly to prevent bacteria. Divide your meat into four parts and shape each portion into a sphere shape. Pat the meat and make it flat. Ensure that the thickness of your patty does not exceed one inch. It should be larger than the burgers’ diameter.
You can decide to freeze it and cook it later. Freezing will help it to hold together. Season both sides with salt and pepper. You should not season it in advance and take long before cooking it. If you do, the burger will lose its shape since the salt will have dissolved protein. Put a dimple in each patty.
Note: In case you have lean meat, you can mix it with bread panade. Pick two slices of bread and remove the crust. Cover the slices with milk and freeze it. Once the bread absorbs the milk, remove it and squeeze out any excess milk. Mash it until it becomes a paste.
Mix the bread panade with ground beef. The bread panade acts as a fat substitute. You can season it with pepper and salt before placing it on your grill.
Place the burger on the coal and let it cook for at least 4 minutes. Using a long-handled spatula, flip it over and don’t attempt to flatten it. After the other side cook for another 4 minutes, your burger should be ready. Use the meat thermometer to check the temperature. It should be around 160 degrees C. Undercooked meat can harm you since the chances of getting foodborne diseases are high.
Before handling the meat, you should wash it thoroughly. That will protect it from bacteria. When buying the flesh, you should ensure that it’s 80% of meat, and the fat content should be 20%. It’s essential to know the reason why your burger is shrinking. Could be you are buying the meat that contains additives, and it’s too lean. When cooking, avoid high temperature and season it first. Put a dimple on your patty using your fingers. If the only available meat is lean meat, add bread panade or any other fat ingredients.
John DiBella is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, a cooking enthuthiast and a writer. When he’s not writing blogs about home kitchenware, he enjoys hiking, camping, sailing and cooking.