Think Twice Before Adding Extra Ingredients To Your Burger Meat

There's an art to perfecting the iconic burger or cheeseburger, and every cook and fan has their own opinions. Between the selection of meat and meat blends to the cheese you pair on top, it seems like there are infinite ways and recipes to make a great burger sandwich. With a lot of noise in the culinary world on the best ways to prepare and cook a burger patty, there's one piece of advice to keep in mind no matter the chuck, toppings, or heat preferences.

Popular on online recipe blogs and even in our favorite grocery butcher shops, you'll see pre-made patties with extra ingredients. Some burger patties, for example, will feature cheese, onion, garlic, and even bacon, to be an easy all-in-one burger with no toppings needed. While delicious sounding, adding these several additions into your grounded meat could do more harm than good when making your burger.

Avoid the meatloaf-burger mash

While seemingly innocent of adding ingredients directly into your ground burger meat, the ingredients ⁠— paired with the handling ⁠— can change your burger patty's composition, texture, and flavor. According to Serious Eats, every second you're working the meat, between kneading and mixing, you're causing proteins to cross-link — making the burger dense and heating the meat, which can cause issues when cooking. The extra handling can leave you with a pseudo meatloaf burger, not the traditional burger everyone knows and loves.

So, what do you do to give your burger ample amounts of flavor? Aside from picking ideal meat cuts like sirloin with the proper fat ratio (20%, according to HuffPost), toppings added to the burger after cooking or grilling can add dimension and flavor to every bite. For those who like to experiment with their patties, add ingredients prior, by grinding them in. Since the texture of a burger is best right after grinding, adding ingredients like onion or garlic while food processing won't lose the integrity of the burger. However, it's important not to include salt in the food processor or grinder, as salt should only be added to a patty right before cooking (via Taste of Home).

Now that you're in on the secret and how to properly prepare your burger patty, you're ready to fire up the grill or stove and get to flipping some epic burgers.