The Best Type Of Ground Chicken To Use For Burgers

Ask 50 chefs the best way to make burgers and you may get 50 different answers. One thing they can agree on is that fat in beef equals juiciness. But some of the fat in ground beef comes from saturated fat which can cause higher cholesterol levels, says The American Heart Association. Enter ground chicken, a lower-fat alternative to ground beef. Foodstruct notes ground chicken has less saturated fat and fewer calories than ground beef. The ratio of lean/fat in ground chicken comes to 95/5, according to The Spruce Eats.

Unfortunately, ground chicken's lower fat content means the meat itself doesn't stay very juicy when it cooks. Your patties may turn out too dry compared to their beef counterparts. One aspect of cooking chicken that exacerbates this issue is that it must be cooked to a minimum of 165 degrees Fahrenheit for food safety versus just 160 degrees Fahrenheit for beef, notes the USDA. Luckily, there are simple ways to make ground chicken burgers juicier. Start with the type of ground chicken you buy, says Kitchn.

Go dark when selecting ground chicken for burgers

Dark meat chicken contains 3 more grams of fat versus white meat chicken per every 3.5-ounce serving, according to MasterClass. Dark meat also contains more than twice the amount of saturated fat than white meat chicken. Commercially available ground chicken contains both white and dark meat, notes ButcherBox. You might try experimenting with different kinds to find the right fat content that works for your desired juiciness.

Another option is to request dark meat ground chicken from your local butcher, according to Kitchn. Ask your butcher to grind chicken thighs and legs for you. You'll know it's fresh, and you get to pick the parts you want ground up. Most ground chicken found in your grocer's freezer will look light pink. However, ground dark meat poultry may look closer to the redder side and darker pink, says the USDA. Dark meat ground chicken will help retain juiciness, but mixing in a few extra ingredients will increase your juiciness ratio.

Try adding a panade

Consider adding a panade to your dark meat ground chicken before cooking for extra juiciness. Panade is a simple mixture of breadcrumbs and a dairy-based substance. Breadcrumbs act as a binder for the ground chicken, and milk, yogurt, or buttermilk help the breadcrumbs stick to the meat, via Fox Valley Foodie. Look for low-fat dairy if you're watching your fat intake. Bread is helpful because it contains starch. Starch absorbs water, thereby helping ground chicken retain more of its moisture, according to The Washington Post.

Panade is a versatile mixture you can flavor with just about any herbs and spices. You can also vary the consistency of it, notes Kitchn. Mayonnaise will make the panade thicker, and milk keeps it thinner. Don't overwork the ground chicken when mixing in the panade. Otherwise, your perfect patty could fall apart during cooking. Ground chicken is like a blank canvas for burgers and other dishes: You can paint with as many flavors as you want, like with french onion meatballs or chicken meatball yakitori. So have fun with your ground chicken burgers and happy experimenting!