There’s nothing quite like a juicy burger, but they often shrink when cooked. Unfortunately, many people experience shrinkage when they cook burgers. This can be frustrating, but with a few tips, you can keep your burgers from shrinking. Shrinkage is that unfortunate phenomenon where your burger patty shrinks in size after cooking.
The good news is that there are ways to keep your burgers from shrinking. This blog post will discuss some of the best ways to prevent shrinkage and becoming hockey pucks and ensure you enjoy a delicious burger without any shrinkage drama. Stay tuned for our top tips!
What happens to the meat when it’s cooked
When you cook a burger, the meat undergoes a series of changes. The first change is denaturation, when the meat proteins unravel and break apart. The grill’s heat causes this process and helps tenderize the meat.
Next, the water inside the burger begins to evaporate, causing the meat to shrink and become more concentrated. At the same time, fat begins to melt, adding flavor and juiciness to the burger and dripping out, reducing its weight.
Finally, as the burger continues to cook, the Maillard reaction occurs. This chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars produces hundreds of new flavor compounds. It’s what gives grilled meat its signature taste.
What causes hamburger patties to shrink?
It will inevitably shrink to some degree when you cook a hamburger patty. But why does this happen? There are several reasons why hamburger patties shrink when cooked.
- As the meat cooks, the water inside it evaporates. As a result, the patty loses weight and volume.
- Muscle fibers in the meat contract as they’re heated up, resulting in a loss of volume. Consequently, the patty is becoming shorter and shorter.
- The fat in the meat melts, and juices inside the patty are released, reducing its diameter and thickness.
These factors together cause a hamburger patty to lose about 25% of its original size when cooked. So next time you’re making burgers for a crowd, be sure to factor in this shrinkage when deciding how many patties to make.
What are the other factors that affect shrinking?
1 Using meat that’s too lean.
When making burgers, many people believe that leaner is better. After all, why waste calories on fat when you can get all the flavor from the meat itself? However, there are good reasons to use beef with higher fat content.
The fat is what gives burger meat its flavor and juiciness. First, fat helps keep burgers moist and juicy, preventing them from drying out on the grill. Additionally, fat lends flavor and richness to the meat, making for a more satisfying burger experience. Trimming all the fat off leaves you with a bland, dry, and unappetizing burger.
For a delicious burger, meat is 80% lean and 20% fat. This is the perfect ratio for a juicy, flavorful burger with everyone returning for seconds. So next time you’re at the grocery store, pick up some 80/20 ground beef and make the best burgers of your life.
So next time you’re at the grocery store, don’t be afraid to choose ground beef with a higher fat content. Your taste buds will thank you.
2 Overhandling the meat.
You must handle the meat as little as possible when cooking burgers. Many people think that the only way to make a burger is to squish it with their hands and then press it down onto the grill. Handling the burger meat too much can cause it to become tough and dry. When mixing the ground beef with other ingredients, use a light touch and be careful not to overmix.
The same goes for when shaping the patties. Be sure to use a light touch when forming the patties. Use your hands to gently press the mixture into shape, careful not to compress it too much. Finally, give the burgers a light dusting of flour before cooking. This will help create a crisp exterior while keeping the inside juicy.
3 Creating no dimples in each patty
It’s the eternal conundrum: how to make the perfect burger patty. Some say that the key is to add a dimple to the center of the patty, whereas others say it only leads to uneven cooking. So what’s the best way to achieve burger perfection? The answer may surprise you.
It turns out that creating a dimple in the burger patty is a good thing. The dimple helps to prevent the burger from shrinking as it cooks, which leads to a juicier, more flavorful final product. So next time you’re grilling burgers, don’t be afraid to make a slight indentation in the center of each patty before grilling. Your taste buds will thank you!
How to make a dimple in the center of each patty?
1. First, take your burgers out of the fridge, and then, with your thumb or the back of a spoon, make an indentation in the center of the patty. This will help the burger to retain its juices, leading to a tastier, more flavorful result.
2. Grill your burgers as usual, and enjoy!
4 Putting the salt on the burger too soon.
Any budding chef knows that timing is everything when it comes to cooking. This is especially true when making burgers. Salting the meat too early can result in a disaster, as the salt will start to draw out moisture.
The key is to season the meat just before cooking it. This way, the salt will have time to penetrate the meat, resulting in juicy, flavorful burgers that are sure to please any appetite. However, if you wait too long to add the seasoning, the burgers will be bland and lack flavor.
In addition, if you are using frozen ground beef, it is best to thaw it completely before seasoning it.
Otherwise, you will not evenly distribute the seasoning throughout the meat. With some practice, you can master the art of seasoning your burger.
5 You use a spatula to flatten your burger.
When grilling a burger, it’s essential not to press down on the patty with a spatula. Although it may seem like this would help the burger cook evenly, it has the opposite effect.
However, there are a few good reasons to avoid flattening your burger with a spatula.
- First, it squeezes out all the delicious juices, leaving you with a dry burger.
- Secondly, it increases the chance of the burger sticking to the grill, making it more likely to tear when you try to flip it.
- Finally, flattened burgers are less attractive than plump, juicy ones.
The best way to cook a burger so that it doesn’t shrink
Cooking burgers at home can be tricky – there’s a fine line between a juicy, flavorful burger and a dry, overcooked one. One of the most common complaints about home-cooked burgers is that they shrink up too much on the grill, leaving you with a smaller patty than the bun.
Fortunately, you can do a few simple things to prevent your burger meat from shrinking. By following these tips, you can ensure that your burgers will be juicy and delicious, with minimal shrinkage.
1 Choose the right type of ground beef.
Look for ground beef at least 80% lean and 20% fat for a juicy burger. The higher the fat content, the juicier your burger will be.
2 Avoid over-handling ground beef.
Overworking the ground beef will make it tough and dense. As a result, it’s essential to mix the beef just enough to incorporate the seasonings. When forming the patties, use light pressure and handle the meat as little as possible. Form your patties by hand rather than using a hamburger press. When using a press, the meat is compacted too tightly and is more likely to shrink during cooking.
3 Make your patties slightly larger than the bun
Make your patties slightly larger than you want them to be when shaping them. This way, they will still be the right size after they have shrunk during cooking.
Ensure your burgers are of uniform thickness – this will help them cook evenly and prevent them from shrinking too much in any area.
4 Keep burgers refrigerated until grilling time.
Keep burgers refrigerated until grilling time. Why is that? Because when meat is cooked, the proteins contract. If the burgers are cold on the grill, they will shrink less as they cook. When meat is heated, the proteins contract. The contraction is minimized if the burger is cold when it hits the grill.
This may seem counterintuitive, but it actually works. When the burger patties are cold, they contract less when they hit the grill’s heat. This means they will retain their shape better and won’t shrink as much.
5 Create a dimple in the center of each patty.
Why is that? It helps the burgers cook evenly and prevents shrinkage. The dimple allows heat to distribute throughout the burger evenly, so it doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside while the inside remains raw. This ensures that your burger will be cooked to perfection!
6 Cook your burger patties on medium-high heat
If you cook your burger patties on medium-high heat, they will shrink less and be juicier. This is because the heat will cause the juices to stay inside the meat rather than evaporate while searing outside the patty, creating a barrier that will prevent the juices from escaping. When juices escape from the burger, it causes the burger to shrink. The juices will stay inside by cooking on medium-high heat, and your burger will remain the same size.
Also, make sure you don’t press down on the patties while they’re cooking. This will cause them to lose juice and shrink as well.
7 Don’t press down on the burgers while they’re cooking.
Don’t press down on the burgers while they’re cooking. This squeezes out the juices, making the burgers dry and tough. So resist the urge to press!
8 Don’t overcook your burgers.
The longer they cook, the more moisture they lose and the smaller they become. Take the beef off the heat and rest for a few minutes before serving. This will help to prevent further shrinkage.
9 Give your burgers a chance to rest after cooking
It allows the juices to redistribute, making for a more flavorful burger. If you cut into a burger right after cooking it, all the delicious juices will run out, leaving you with a dry burger. So, after cooking your burgers, let them rest for 2-3 minutes before cutting into them.
What is the typical grilling time for burgers?
We get asked this question all the time. And the answer depends on how you like your burgers cooked. If you want your burgers well, it will take longer to cook them. But it will take less time if you like your burgers rare or medium rare.
The standard burger patty should grill over medium-high heat for about 4 to 5 minutes per side, which is enough time to develop a nice sear on the outside of the burger. This will give you a burger cooked all through but still juicy and delicious.
If you want your burgers to be extra juicy, grill them for a little less time. About 3 to 4 minutes per side should do the trick. This will result in a slightly pink burger in the center but still cooked all through.
And finally, if you like your rare or medium rare burgers, grill them for 3 minutes per side. It will give you a juicy and delicious burger that is pink in the middle.
Here are some general guidelines for grilling burgers:
- For well-done burgers (no pink), cook for about 5 minutes per side; 10 minutes total.
- For medium-rare burgers (red-pink in the center), cook for about 3 minutes per side; 6 minutes total.
- For medium burgers (pink in the center), cook for about 3.5 minutes per side, 7 minutes total.
- For medium-well burgers (a smidge of pink in the center), cook for about 4.5 minutes per side, 9 minutes total.
Keep in mind that these are just general guidelines. A meat thermometer is the best way to know when your burgers are done.