Crafting the perfect juicy burger starts with homemade hamburger patties. I’m not a burger expert but I’ve learned how to make hamburger patties that are juicy, delicious, and have everyone looking forward to grill season! Here are my tips and tricks!
First, let’s talk about the reasons homemade hamburger patties are better.
You control the meat quality.
This one is HUGE for me. Can I be honest? The only time I eat hamburgers is when I make them myself. Even if I’m at a high end gastro pub serving up the “best burgers in town” I’ll order something else. Here’s the thing…I don’t trust the meat quality. Unless the restaurant spells it out, on their menu, I have know idea if their meat is organic, grass-fed, hormone free, and if one burger patty comes from just one cow. I don’t mean to gross you out here but red meat can be nasty if there’s not quality control. Sorry, but it’s true.
When I make hamburger patties I use organic grass-fed ground beef. When I bite into a burger I know exactly what I’m eating.
Also, high quality beef taste better. I can’t tell you the number of times friends and family bite into one of my hamburger patties and rave about the flavor. I tell them starts with quality. This goes with chicken and other meats too. Just like with any ingredient the higher quality the better it will be.
I purchase bulk packages of organic grass-fed beef from Wegmans for about $6 a pound – this comes to about $1.50 a burger. Think about how much an organic burger would cost from a gastro pub? Probably at least $10. I’ve also seen organic grass-fed beef at Aldis for $5 a pound. Whole Foods sells organic grass-fed beef for about $7 a pound. If you don’t have easy access to high quality beef then check out Butcher Box. Butcher box is a meat delivery service that works with farmers to send only the highest quality organic meats – ground beef included – straight to your door. You can read my Butcher Box review for more information.
You spend less money
You can easily purchase organic burger patties but you’re going to pay more. It’s so easy to learn how to make hamburger patties, you don’t need to pay the extra couple bucks for the pre-made stuff.
Even if you’re using conventional ground beef it’s still cheaper to make your own rather than purchasing beef already formed into patties. I get it’s faster to purchase patties in bulk, and you can do that, but if you want to make a bunch of patties for a crowd then keep reading and I’ll show you how to make them in bulk and freeze.
You control the portions
When you think about a healthy meal, most likely, you’re not envisioning a juicy burger – especially from a restaurant. Most of those burgers are HUGE and racking in at least 600+ calories per burger.
However, when you control the ingredients and portions, you can fit a normal sized delicious hamburger into your weekly meal plan.
What goes into a delicious juicy homemade hamburger patty?
You might think preparing homemade hamburger patties is easy – and it kind of is. But, it’s not just about forming ground beef into patties and throwing them on the grill. From my experience, there are a few tricks, and tips, that go into making a delicious juicy homemade hamburger patty.
Use high quality meat – we already talked about this so I’m not going to repeat myself. But you get my point.
Ground beef with a high fat content is going to be more flavorful and juicy. However, the higher the fat content the higher the calories. A 4 ounce burger made with 93/7 ground beef has 160 calories. A 4 ounce burger made with 80/20 ground beef has 220 calories. That’s not to say you shouldn’t eat the higher fat content burger (because it’s still less than a restaurant) but just be aware and plan for it.
With that said, I’ve prepared many homemade hamburgers using 93/7 ground beef and they turn out delicious. My advice, especially if you’re trying to reduce calories, is to start with the 93/7 and see what you think. If it doesn’t have enough fat or flavor then use the 80/20 next time.
Spice it up. Many people simply season homemade hamburgers with salt and pepper. That’s completely fine, especially if you’re using a high quality beef. But if you want more flavor then try this easy spice blend. I mix together ½ teaspoon of salt, pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder per 1 pound of beef. I also add in 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce per pound. This is give the hamburgers amazing flavor. I also love McCormicks hamburger spice. You can find this in the spice section of the grocery store. I add the hamburger spice to the patties when they’re on the grill.
Do not overcook. I repeat do not overcook. Nothing ruins a hamburger like cooking it too long on the grill. Of course, this is easy to do if you’re not sure how long to cook the burgers. Here are some basic guidelines for getting the desired burger temperature:
After you place the burger on the grill let it cook for 2 minutes or until you see grill marks. Then flip it over and cook for another 3 minutes for rare burgers, 4 minutes for medium rare, 5-6 minutes for medium, and a little longer for well-done. Keep in mind the more done the burger is the less juicy it’ll be. Also, times are going to depend on the size of the burger patty. The bigger and thicker the patty the longer it’ll take to cook.
Also, homemade burgers shrink as they cook. This is another reason not to overcook the burger. You can help prevent this a little by pushing down a small well in the middle of the patty before putting it onto the grill.
If you’re making cheeseburgers then put the cheese on during the last minute of cooking time.
Don’t push down on the burger as it cooks. This squeezes out all the yummy juices you’re trying to save.
After the burgers cook let them sit for about 30 – 60 seconds. This helps to lock in the juices.
Tools for a delicious homemade hamburgers
Pyrex Glass bowls – these are my favorite mixing bowls for any ground meat. These bowls clean up perfectly so you don’t need to worry about any meat juice hanging around…ewwww. You can get a set of 3 bowls for under $13.
Medium cookie scoop – this is to get the same size burgers each time. I like this one by OXO.
Grill tools – if you’re going to make hamburgers on a grill then you need grill tools – at the very least a grill spatula. But I recommend getting a grill set. This set is under $20 and has great reviews on Amazon.
Grill meat thermometer – if you’re unsure about meat temperature then getting a grill meat thermometer will be very helpful. This one is under $19 and has great reviews on Amazon.
Grill pan – Unfortunately, grilling isn’t year round – at least, not here in Buffalo, NY. Having a grill pan is the next best thing. Everything you make on the grill can be made on a grill pan. I love this Lodge Cast Iron grill pan.
How to Make Homemade Hamburger Patties to Freeze
Now I’ll take you through the simple steps of preparing homemade hamburger patties and freezing them. This is really easy, so don’t blink.
Like I’ve already said start with quality ground beef. Of course, if you just want to make 4 patties you’ll be good with 1lb of beef but preparing a bunch of hamburger patties is a great way to use up a bulk package of ground beef.
Then you’ll put the ground beef in a mixing bowl. 99% of the time I use a glass pyrex bowl to mix meat in. Of course, this time I didn’t!! Anyway, don’t be like me – try to use a glass bowl to mix up the hamburgers. Not that it makes a huge difference, a glass bowl is just easier to clean.
Then add the seasonings. Like I said earlier, this is what you’ll add per 1lb of ground beef:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
Gently mix it up. Rumor has it that if you over mix meat then it results in a tough burger. I can’t confirm or deny that but that’s what the experts say 🙂
Time to form the patties. Typically, I make 4 patties per 1 lb of beef. If I’m just working with 1lb then I’ll mix the beef and divide it into 4 sections and then form the patties. If I’m working with 2+ pounds then I’ll use a medium size cookie scoop to try and get uniform patties. Each patty is about 2 round scoops rolled together and then formed into a patty.
You can also purchase a hamburger mold if you really want the patties to be the same shape and size. But I’m good with my cookie scoop. By the way, I highly recommend having 2 cookie scoops – 1 for cookies and 1 for meat. I don’t think I need to explain why.
I like to keep the homemade burgers a little on the thick side. 1. that’s how I like them and 2. they are easier to grill.
Okay, now let’s talk about freezing homemade burgers. This is really simple. All you need to do is lay a burger on parchment paper and then layer the burgers between more parchment. I do about 4 at a time. It’s easier to freeze that way and I typically cook 4 at a time.
Then place all the burger piles into a large freezer bag and lay on a cookie sheet. Put it in the freezer this way until the burgers are frozen. You don’t just want to throw this bag in the freezer because the burgers could get all mushed together. However, if you have a flat surface in the freezer then it’d be fine to lay the bag flat directly into the freezer.
Once the burgers are frozen you can move the bag to wherever you need them to go in the freezer.
When you’re ready to grill you can grill these burgers straight from the freezer. Seperate the burgers from each other – it helps to run them under warm water for a couple seconds. Peel the parchment paper off and place on a hot grill.
See, easy peasy!
A couple common questions about freezing homemade burgers
Would this work with ground turkey?
Yes and I’ve frozen ground turkey patties many times. The only difference is you must cook the turkey patties all the way. A safe temp for ground turkey patties is 165 degrees.
Can I freeze stuffed burgers? Yes but they need to be thaw ahead of time. I don’t recommend grilling stuffed burgers straight from the freezer because they might not cook evenly and the middle ingredients might not reach a safe temp. Take the burgers out the day before and let them thaw in the refrigerator.
My favorite stuffed burger recipes are:
Here are some other tasty burger recipes from my favorite bloggers:
Southwestern Grilled Turkey Burgers by Sweet Peas and Saffron
Greek Turkey Burgers by Sweet Peas and Saffron
Thai Turkey Burgers by Feasting at Home
Can I thaw burgers on the countertop? No, this is not safe. If you want to thaw out the burger then put them in the refrigerator the night before.
Those are all my tips and tricks to help you make the juiciest most delicious hamburger patty for all your cookouts this season! Do you have any other tips to share?