The Key Addition For Juicy Non-Beef Burgers

Burgers are one of the most popular dishes in America (and indeed around the world), something that probably doesn't come as a surprise to anyone who's ever had a good burger. And although beef burgers are the standard and classic, there are plenty of other burger variations these days, including meats like bison, turkey, lamb, and chicken, seafood options like salmon, tuna, and tilapia, as well as vegetarian and vegan options using beans, tofu, grains, or mushrooms. No matter what type of burger you prefer, you probably want it to be flavorful and have a nice and juicy patty — after all, no one likes a dry burger, whatever the protein.

The key to a juicy burger is in the fat content. Experts recommend a fat ratio of around 20% to 25% for beef burgers — one of Ina Garten's secrets for perfect hamburgers is using an 80/20 lean-to-fat mix for her ground beef. It's also important that the fat is in the burger mix itself. As Food & Wine explains, adding fat to the outside of your burger in the form of cheese or condiments like mayonnaise won't improve the juiciness of a burger that doesn't have enough fat within the patty itself. It's easy enough to purchase 80/20 ground beef from your local market or butcher, but what do you do in the case of non-beef burgers?

Add extra fat for the juiciest non-beef burgers

When it comes to non-beef burgers, you also want to have around 20% to 25% of fat content for your patty. If your protein is naturally lean, like turkey or bison, then you'll need to add some form of fat. What type of fat you add doesn't matter so much, and will depend on your preferences, as well as what makes sense for the protein you're using for your patty. The key is that you add enough fat so that when the burger cooks, the patty doesn't dry out.

Butter is a good choice (and can even be added to beef burgers for extra juiciness), as it adds fat and moisture. Grate cold butter that's the same temperature as your protein for the best results. For extra juiciness and flavor, try adding some ground bacon to your patty mix. Olive, coconut, avocado, and grapeseed oil, when added to your patty, can also provide the necessary fats to avoid a dry burger. There are other tips you should keep in mind if your burgers are always dry, like not overworking your patty, chilling it before cooking, and of course, not overcooking it.