As I was preparing to make a hamburger for our son, I learned a quick lesson on working with fresh hamburger meat (as opposed to pulling a preformed patty from the freezer like I usually do). I’ve always heard that if you overwork the meat, it would be tough, which is true as Chef Husband would explain, as he began to take the handful fresh ground beef and throw it back and forth between his hands like a softball. What he was doing wasn’t “working” the meat by rubbing and smooshing and rolling it over and over, as may happen when making a meatball. His goal was to compress the meat in a way that the air pockets, that would cause the burger to fall apart and lose juices, were being removed. Further, I learned that this technique was similar to putting a prepared meatloaf mixture in a loaf pan and tamping it by (gently) plopping it on the counter a couple times.
Once the meat had been compressed by a few tosses, it was easy to press and shape in a nice round patty that held together. Learn something new everyday.
Until next time…
Mrs. Chef (Christa)
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