Recipes: Three excellent burger recipes (the secret is in the patty)

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Anyone can make a burger, but not anyone can make an excellent burger. The secret to success? It’s all about choosing the right meat from a butcher, using a light hand, and cooking meat to that perfect stage of doneness.

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Anyone can make a burger, but not anyone can make an excellent burger. The secret to success? It’s all about choosing the right meat from a butcher, using a light hand and cooking meat to that perfect stage of doneness.

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It’s also about the bun โ€” my favorite is a large brioche bun, preferably from a bakery.

Ground round is a good choice for pan-fried burgers because it has enough fat (10 to 15 per cent) to keep meat moist but not too much so that the burger ends up swimming in melted fat in the pan. For grilled burgers, use ground chuck (15 to 20 per cent fat) as it withstands the intense heat of the grill.

To form patties, wet your hands to keep the meat from sticking to them, and then gently pat the meat into patties. (Too much pressure makes a dense burger.) this helps the burger cook evenly. Add salt and pepper directly to the meat.

Food safety is also important with ground meat as the grinding process increases the chance of bacterial contamination. To be on the safe side, cook burgers to a minimum of 160 F. That’s medium well, but if you follow above instructions, your burger will still be juicy and delicious.

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Ground turkey seasoned with basil, chopped green onions, fresh herbs and anchovies also makes a delicious burger.

Classic Burger

More a method than a recipe, use this as a guide for cooking burgers indoors. Garnish the burger with cheese (melted on the bun, not on the meat) and add lettuce, sliced โ€‹โ€‹tomato and mayonnaise.

1-1/4 lb (567 g) ground beef, preferably 85% lean

3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt

1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) freshly ground black pepper

Season the ground meat with the salt and pepper. Divide the meat into 5 oz. servings. Using your hands, gently shape each portion into a patty about 3/4 inch thick and about 3 1/2 inches in diameter.

Heat a non-stick griddle or a cast-iron pan over high heat until very hot. (You want the burger to cook in its own fat.) Using a spatula, lay the burgers on the pan without crowding them. (If they’re too close together, they’ll steam.) Turn the heat to medium high and cook until nicely browned on the first side, about 5 minutes Resist the urge to press down on the burger, which forces out the juices and dries the meat. Flip the burgers over and cook until done to your liking, about another 5 minutes for medium (cut into a burger to check).

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Justin Chapple’s Turkey Burgers

1 1/2 lb (680 g) ground turkey

1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped basil

1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped scallion

1/3 cup (80 mL) finely chopped parsley

1 tbsp (15 mL) minced anchovy

1/3 cup (80 mL) mayonnaise

kosher salt


4 burger buns, split and toasted

In a bowl, using a fork, gently stir the turkey with the basil, scallions, parsley, anchovy, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1/2 teaspoon of pepper and the 1/3 cup of mayonnaise. Press one fourth of the turkey mixture into 4 perfect patties. Transfer to a plate. Repeat to form the remaining patties.

Heat a non-stick griddle or a cast-iron pan over high heat until very hot. Season the patties lightly with salt and pepper. Grill over moderately high heat, turning once, until cooked through, about 8 minutes. Transfer the burgers to the buns, top with mayonnaise, onion and greens, and serve.

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Make ahead: The patties can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours before grilling.

Korean Kimchee Burgers


3 cups (750 mL) finely shredded napa cabbage

1/4 cup plus 3 tbsp (105 mL) sliced โ€‹โ€‹green onions, divided

3 tbsp (45 mL) plain or seasoned rice vinegar

3 tsp (15 mL) minced fresh ginger

3 tsp (15 mL) minced garlic

3 tsp (15 mL) sesame oil,

1/2 tsp plus 1/4 tsp (3.5 mL) Asian chili garlic sauce, to taste

1/2 cup (125 mL) mayonnaise

1 lb (454 g) lean ground beef or bison, 4 teaspoons soy sauce, 4 hamburger buns, split

Heat grill to high (450 to 550 F).

To prepare kimchee, mix cabbage, 1/4 cup green onions, the vinegar, 1 tsp each garlic and ginger, 2 tsp sesame oil and 1/2 tsp chili sauce in a large bowl. Set relish aside, stirring occasionally.

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To make ahead: Kimchee may be refrigerated overnight.

In another bowl, mix mayonnaise with remaining 1 tsp chili sauce.

Combine beef, soy sauce and remaining 1/4 cup green onions, 1 tbsp each garlic and ginger, and 1 tsp sesame oil. Shape into 4 patties, each about 1/2 inch thick.

Oil cooking grate, using flip flops and a wad of oiled paper towels. Grill burgers, covered, turning ounce, 7 to 8 minutes total for medium. In the final minutes, toast buns.

Spread bun bottoms with chili mayonnaise. Set burgers on buns. With a slotted spoon, put some cabbage relish on each. Serve with extra kimchee on the side.

kitchen hack: Shaping burger patties โ€” to form patties that cook evenly, mound ground meat on a plastic takeout lid, invert another lid on top, then press down to flatten.

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