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Ground Chuck Burgers fall apart.

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  • HazardousSmoker
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 10
    • South Carolina Low Country

    Ground Chuck Burgers fall apart.

    I've ground my own burgers the past few times and I'm having difficulties with them falling apart. The last batch I made today were medium ground in the meat grinder attachment for our stand mixer and I handled them as little as possible but I think maybe I'm being overly cautious. I'm not sure however, hence why I'm posting this here.

    Looking for expert suggestions on how to keep my burgers from falling apart when grilling them. If it's relevant they were 1/4 lb burgers.

    Thanks,

    Haz
  • RonB
    Club Member
    • Apr 2016
    • 10820
    • Near Richmond VA
    • Weber Performer Deluxe
      SNS
      Pizza insert
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      Smokenator 1000
      Cookshack Smokette Elite
      2 Thermapens
      Chefalarm
      Dot
      lots of probes.
      CyberQ

    #2
    Have you tried beef flavored Crazy Glue? If you do, make sure the glue is dry before biting into the burger, or you might go on an unintentional diet... LOL

    Seriously, you do have to put some pressure as you form the patties or they will fall apart. Don't forget to dimple the center so that they don't puff up too much in the middle.

    Comment

    • AZRedneck
      Club Member
      • Sep 2016
      • 360
      • Arizona. 90 miles from water and 9 miles from hell.
      • Pit Barrel Cooker
        Weber Kettle 22.5
        CharBroil Gasser 5 burners
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      #3
      Be sure you're not making them too lean. The fat helps them stick together, and make for a great burger. Especially if you slow cook them and reverse sear at the end. Meathead and many others here, including me, recommend an 80/20 mix. I grind chuck all the time, sometimes have to throw in a little bacon fat but it always sticks together.

      Comment

      • Abom
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 191
        • Verona, PA
        • (RJ) Kamado K7

          Weber 22" kettle

          Thermapen

          DigiQ Dx2

          GeneCafe Coffee Roaster

        #4
        As you work hamburger by mashing it together, you cause it to release a sticky protein that binds everything together. Too much, and you end up with a hockey puck. I make burgers with 95% lean, and by not handling them a lot, they end up super tender. I'd suggest experimenting with small amounts of man-handling until you get the right balance.

        Comment

        • HazardousSmoker
          Club Member
          • Apr 2016
          • 10
          • South Carolina Low Country

          #5
          Thanks guys for the quick reply. On the fat content, I had thought the Chuck Roast I used was fat enough but I'm not an expert on that. It did have a good amount of fat which I did not trim before grinding. I also ensured the meat was in the freezer for about 30 minutes before grinding.

          I probably did not press enough as I suspect. Having never ground my own burgers before I wasn't sure how much I really needed to handle the meat.

          Beef Flavored Crazy Glue! LOL that's a good one. I had heard of meat glue before but it's still funny.

          Comment


          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            Usually chuck is about 20% fat, but you need to eyeball it in case it is less.
        • AZRedneck
          Club Member
          • Sep 2016
          • 360
          • Arizona. 90 miles from water and 9 miles from hell.
          • Pit Barrel Cooker
            Weber Kettle 22.5
            CharBroil Gasser 5 burners
            3 x Thermapen
            MAV 732
            Anova Sous Vide

          #6
          Check this out when you get time. From our fearless leader Meathead. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=7-eoiwkkZ3k

          Comment

          • Nuke em
            Club Member
            • Jun 2016
            • 736
            • Nj

            #7
            You don't mix glue with beef. 2 diferent animals. One is cow and one is horse

            Comment


            • RonB
              RonB commented
              Editing a comment
              Not even for meatloaf?
          • Peter
            Founding Member
            • Jul 2014
            • 8

            #8
            Too much fat can cause that. go max 70/30, ideally 80/20 and throw an egg in, never have problems then. 1/4 lbs is a bit on the thin and light side as well, to me a burger is at least 1/2 lbs if not 3/4lbs - that makes them a bit thicker and stickier as well as a lot juicier.

            Comment

            • Meathead
              BBQ Whisperer, Mythbuster
              • May 2014
              • 1158
              • Chicago area
              • Remember, no rules in the bedroom or kitchen
                Meathead

              #9
              Stuff you probably know: Don't press them with a spatula when on the fire. Be gentle when flipping. Don't go crazy with mix-ins like onion, worchestershire, etc. In general I tell people to NOT mix in salt because it binds the proteins, but maybe you need to try that.

              Comment

              • Lost in China
                Charter Member
                • Mar 2015
                • 409
                • Wenzhou, China
                • 22" Weber kettle
                  Slow 'N Sear
                  Hovergrill
                  Maverick 732
                  Thermopop

                #10
                If your burgers are falling apart on the grill then there's not enough fat in them. Add more fat to your grind.

                A band-aid to patch together too-lean burgers is a raw egg. Crack one into the ground beef and mix. One egg is enough for several pounds of meat. The egg helps the burgers stay together and can't be tasted in the final product. I had to use this method when the only beef I could find locally was lean.

                Comment


                • ClayJones
                  ClayJones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Sounds good to me! Guess I was over-complicating things Thanks China.

                • ClayJones
                  ClayJones commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Hey China, I did what you said, found a better butcher, and they already had 70/30 mix ready to go! Thanks for the advice!

                • Lost in China
                  Lost in China commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Yeah, I've been through a lot of butchers. Some are unhelpful jerks, some will bring out an entire half a pig and offer to carve off what you need. Once you get deep into this BBQ stuff, the meat counter at Kroger just doesn't cut it any more.
              • DoubleUpOrQuit
                Club Member
                • Dec 2017
                • 329
                • Minneapolis, MN
                • Old Country offset smoker, 22” Weber Kettle, 4 burner gas. Oak logs, Royal Oak Lump, Kingsford Briqs, Gas.

                #11
                I've had the best luck when letting the patties rest in the fridge after making them. I try to let them sit for at least an hour, longer if I can.

                Comment

                • HorseDoctor
                  Charter Member
                  • Sep 2014
                  • 1149
                  • Central Iowa

                  #12
                  I grind a couple hundred lbs of venison burger every year and have for the past 40+ years. I use lean venison and beef fat trim. It all gets weighed very carefully (especially when my wife is helping ). My 90% lean is a lot less fatty looking than any commercial 90% I've seen. A 90% lean grind will just barely stick together for a burger but will need a little fat in a fry pan or greased grill grates to get started. A true 85% lean will stick together and also be fat enough to not stick to a fry pan (or grill). I don't have any problem with an accurate 80/20 mix and have been known to do that when grinding "unassisted". My "burgers" are always 1/2# and 1 1/4" - 1 1/2" thick and cooked to medium rare (130 max)!

                  Comment

                  • W.A.
                    Charter Member
                    • Sep 2014
                    • 718
                    • Kingwood, TX
                    • Rec Tec Stampede, Pit Barrel Cooker, Weber One Touch Gold 22.5", Kamado Joe Classic

                    #13
                    Just saw this: https://youtu.be/talwV3qDM8E

                    Comment

                    • Abom
                      Club Member
                      • Sep 2016
                      • 191
                      • Verona, PA
                      • (RJ) Kamado K7

                        Weber 22" kettle

                        Thermapen

                        DigiQ Dx2

                        GeneCafe Coffee Roaster

                      #14
                      Trust me if you over-work the hamburger like your making meatloaf, for example, even 95% lean will be like a hockey puck. I only use 80% lean these days, and it makes for a better burger. That video mentions the protein I was talking about "myosin" couldn't remember what it was called. Anyway, I saw a youtube video talking about working the meat as little as possible, and wow, it really works.

                      Have to say that in spite of that, we usually do "smash burgers" these days. 1/4 lb. patties smashed thin over high heat on a stainless steel pan. Makes for a great burger with a great crust. Just have to use two of them is all. My BBQ spatula has a sharpened leading edge that works great for scraping the burgers lose from the pan, so you don't lose all that browned meat.

                      Comment


                      • EdF
                        EdF commented
                        Editing a comment
                        But smashing doesn't work the meat. May be why it works!

                      • Abom
                        Abom commented
                        Editing a comment
                        No, you're right! I just meant that the way we tend to cook them differently now.

                      • Polarbear777
                        Polarbear777 commented
                        Editing a comment
                        As long as you smash them immediately they are fine. 20-30% fat works well. If it’s too lean they dry too quickly and if it’s too much fat you lose too much in cooking.

                        I use a wallpaper scraper when I flip to make sure I get every bit of crust. A flat front sharpened spatula should be good.
                    • Mark E.
                      Former Member
                      • Nov 2017
                      • 113
                      • Nolensville, TN

                      #15
                      Try this. Spread the meat out and season.

                      Like Meathead says, add a little bit of salt, I also add pepper/garlic powder. I don't mix in anything bigger than dried onion or occasionally oatmeal (oatmeal increases bulk, absorbs grease and possibly binds).

                      Knead gently.

                      Roll the meat into a ball. Roll that ball in your hand gently till all the meat sticks together. For flair, I toss and squeeze the ball hand to hand a few times. Then gently roll again.

                      Press meat out into a burger however you choose.

                      Learned this from my mother in the 70s. She never told me her reason why the Oatmeal. Has always worked to date.

                      Rolling action works for meatballs too.

                      M.

                      Comment

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