Make hamburgers that won't fall apart on the grill (or disappoint the grandchildren) (2024)

Make hamburgers that won't fall apart on the grill (or disappoint the grandchildren) (1)

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We use our outdoor grill several nights a week and do well with things like marinated lamb, yakitori chicken, Puget Sound seafood and vegetables. But when our grandchildren ask for hamburgers, we fail miserably. We make the patties about 1/2-inch thick from the leanest hamburger or ground round. But when we put them on the grill, they crumble and fall apart. How do we get the patties to stay together?

First of all, I'd make them thicker, maybe 3/4-to 1-inch thick. Cook them over a slightly lower fire so they don't burn on the outside before they're cooked on the inside.

The very low fat content of the hamburger probably has something to do with it, but there are a couple of tricks you can use:

  • Add 1 egg yolk per pound of hamburger. It won't add appreciably to the fat content and will bind the meat beautifully.

  • The other thing you can do is add canned, drained, crushed black beans or chickpeas to the hamburger. The starch from the beans will bind the meat together and add an interesting taste. (The kids might not like it, though.)


Make hamburgers that won't fall apart on the grill (or disappoint the grandchildren) (2024)


Make hamburgers that won't fall apart on the grill (or disappoint the grandchildren)? ›

Make thicker patties: Thicker patties are less likely to fall apart. Aim for patties that are about 3/4 to 1 inch thick. Thinner patties are more prone to breaking apart [2]. Use indirect heat: When grilling, cook the patties over indirect heat rather than directly over the flames.

How do I keep my burgers from falling apart on the grill? ›

Try to work as efficiently as possible and avoid squeezing too hard, since overworking the beef is a big reason why burgers fall apart. If you don't want to grill them right away, however, throw them in the fridge while you wait – colder burgers are less likely to break down when you cook them.

What is a good binder for hamburgers? ›

Egg is a burger binding agent for the ground beef patty. Divide the well mixed beef into four equal round balls and form into patties. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper on each side. Create ground beef patties.

What helps hamburger patties stay together? ›

Common binders include eggs, breadcrumbs, or ground flaxseed mixed with water. These ingredients help to bind the meat, seasonings, and other ingredients together, making the patty more stable and easier to handle while cooking or grilling.

Should I add egg to hamburger patties? ›

Egg yolk acts as a binder and adds flavor

After forming it into a patty, he explains that the egg actually helps bind the meat together, and adds an incredibly rich flavor to the burger patty. As a good rule of thumb, it's best to add one yolk per pound of ground beef.

How do you keep burgers juicy on the grill? ›

What are some ways to get a more juicy burger when cooking on the grill? Simple. Brush with hot melted butter or garlic butter or a little oil or rendered lard, such as bacon fat or beef tallow. Oil helps prevent sticking on the grill and the extra fat means extra juiciness and flavor.

Is mayo a good binder for burgers? ›

While raw egg can be used to bind the burgers, mayonnaise does the trick while also adding an irreplacable dimension of creaminess, moisture, and flavor. When the patties cook, the mayo melts into the pockets of the meat to create a wonderfully juicy patty. Goodbye, dry turkey burgers.

Is mustard a good binder for burgers? ›

Binding agents like mustard and mayonnaise give meat a boost, help seasonings stick.

Does egg help hold hamburger together? ›

If you're making your own hamburger patties, adding egg to hamburger meat can help hold the meat together for easier cooking. Without the proper binder, the burgers may fall apart in the pan or on the grill.

Will burgers fall apart without breadcrumbs? ›

Hamburgers without breadcrumbs are the norm. They can act as a binding agent, but the great thing about burgers is there are so many ways to make them delicious! If you want burgers without breadcrumbs to stay together, use fresh meat and cool them in the refrigerator before cooking.

Why put crackers in burgers? ›

Once you've picked the right meat, the next step in making this incredibly juicy hamburger recipe is the addition of crushed crackers. Sound crazy? Trust us, it works! This is because the starch in the crackers keeps the natural fat and juices from escaping the patty during the cooking process.

Should burgers be room temperature before cooking? ›

Before grilling burgers, it's not required to bring the meat to room temperature. The meat should be refrigerated before grilling, starting the cooking process while the meat is cold. The cold temperatures keep the fat of the meat intact, maintaining the burger's juicy texture during the cooking process.

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