Pressing out a patty and throwing it on the grill might seem simple enough, but often we end up with burgers that are too crumbly or too small for the buns. The goal is to have a juicy and tender burger that stays together and fits the bun perfectly. Here’s how to get a perfect patty every time.
Temperature. Other meats are often brought up to room temperature before cooking, but with patties you want to break this habit. If a patty is warm and further warmed by hands, the fat will melt too quickly on the grill, resulting in a dry burger. Keep the beef refrigerated all the way up until it’s time to season and press the patties. Toss them on the grill immediately after or cover with plastic wrap and put back in the refrigerator until it’s time to grill.
Handle with Care. Ground beef consists of two parts, lean meat and fat. The goal is to have these two parts stick together once pressed. If a patty is overworked the burger will be dry and crumbly. Handle the beef as little as possible. Fold the seasonings into the ground beef gently, and don’t spend more than 30-45 seconds mixing. You can test the mixture by scooping a tablespoon and pressing it between your palms. Turn it over and if the meat sticks, then it’s well mixed and ready to be pressed into patties.
Four-Inch Rule. A patty will shrink when it’s cooked, so make the patties one inch thick and one inch larger than the bun. Most of the time, buns are around three inches, so a four-inch patty should do the trick. If you’re still unsure about how to press out the patties, trace out the desired sized circles on parchment paper before shaping.
Shaping Patties. Here’s how to get a perfectly flat patty every time. Start with a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Wet your hands and then place 5-ounce mounds of beef on the parchment paper. Press each mount in the center gently with the palm of your hand. Use your other hand to cup the beef and help shape it into a circle. You should end up with a patty with a depression, or dimple in the center with a ½ inch lip around the edge. Patties will bloat in the middle and shrink everywhere else during grilling.
Source: Simply Recipes