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Burgers: 5 mistakes we make often
Burgers: 5 mistakes we make often

In our hot sandwiches, lately, we like to put everything: from lampredotto to pulled pork, from kebab to porchetta. But the Hamburger always remains number one.

Sure, if done right.

Choosing the best sandwich, soft but not crumbling. The right sauces, possibly homemade. Fresh tomato and lettuce and scrocchiarelli. And, ça va sans dire, preparing a state-of-the-art Swiss, with the right meat and technique.

Without blunders that would make your meatball dry and stringy. Here they are, then: you are warned.

1. Wrong ground

ground hamburger
ground hamburger

The meat for the hamburger must be the right mix of lean (70-80%) and fat (20-30%). Reale, shoulder, belly, brisket: we are talking about bovine (for the most imaginative variants, I refer you to point 5) and although many, still, are attracted by the pulp of a perfect and uniform pink, they know that they would commit the first, big mistake.

Because the fat (which is white and soft) gives the meat flavor and softness and there is no way to replace it, not even by drowning your hamburger, once cooked, in a lake of ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard or BBQ sauce..

This does not mean that the selected piece of meat should be ground like this, without too many ceremonies. In reality, it should be well cleaned of nerves and skin that could remain hard or form annoying filaments (yes, those that slip between the incisors at the first bite and torment you throughout the meal).

You will have understood that I am from the school that the ground is made at home or, at least, it is made by the butcher at the time of purchase. Leave the sad mince ready on the refrigerated counter of the super, or in any case relegate it to less pure preparations, such as meatballs and fillings.

Which grind goes a little to taste: there are those who prefer it fine to fine and pass the pulp twice through the meat grinder and those, on the other hand, opt for a coarser knife job: not too much, however, otherwise the hamburger risks don't stay together and crumble.

2. Pressing too hard

hamburger meat
hamburger meat

And here comes the second mistake: that of believing that, by compacting the hamburger as much as possible, it stays in shape more easily.

In reality, there is a risk of an unpleasant "chipboard effect", because the meat that is too pressed at the end of cooking is hard.

If, on the other hand, you want it to remain soft, you have to leave it soft: between one grain and the next, the juices and the melting fat will be able to spread, making the whole - in fact - succulent.

Therefore, shape it with wet hands, helping yourself if you prefer with a metal ring or a small press but without too much energy.

Rather, take care to give the burger the first round only after verifying that the bottom is well cauterized: the cooked side will hold everything else together.

3. To cook violently

hamburger pan
hamburger pan

And we arrived at the delicate moment of cooking. Whether on the barbecue, on the cast iron plate or in a trivial pan, the surface must be very hot when the Swiss style is placed on it, but then proceed to moderate heat.

This is because the meat must cook slowly and evenly and the heat penetrates the center.

It shouldn't be news that the blood burger is unhealthy.

The reason is obvious: bacteria proliferate on the outside of the meat and, at the time of cutting, they go around here and there.

You have certainly noticed that the ground, compared to a whole cut, darkens faster. In short, it is hygienically more delicate than a steak or a roast. Therefore, it should be a good idea to bring the hamburger to at least medium cooking, rather than rare: at the heart, at least 65-70 °.

Careless of bacteria? Then reflect on the fact that, if the burger drips blood, the bread gets soaked and crushed, and it's not really the best.

If you agree with these premises, you will understand that excessive heat would burn the outside before the center stops bleeding. On the contrary, by keeping it under control, it is possible to have a uniform cooking, the right Maillard above and below and a rosy interior.

It doesn't matter, but I'll point it out all the same: of course there is tartare, or minced meat eaten raw, but it must be very fresh and beaten with a knife at the moment - what can I tell you to do?

4. Pressing too hard (2)

hamburger, frying pan
hamburger, frying pan

No, it is not a repetition of point 2 but a warning against that thing that you always see done but it is always wrong: pressing the hamburger on the plate with the spatula enjoying the sizzle and thinking, in this way, to speed up cooking or to form a better crust.

The only effect this practice has is to squeeze out the humors of the flesh. Which - you have already guessed - turns out hard and dry in the end.

I repeat: the cooking must have its right time (at least 8-10 minutes overall, even 15 for the highest burgers), the flame not too strong, the turns performed delicately.

5. Don't consider alternatives

Fish Hamburger
Fish Hamburger

So far we have talked about that of bovine, beef or bullock. But there are many "burgers of …" that can be interesting to experiment.

I leave out the veg of legumes, soy, seitan: if you have read me so far, I think I am not mistaken by stating that they are not your kind.

Instead, those of chicken, turkey, rabbit, lamb, pork, veal could be. Just respect the lean / fat rule and avoid rump, loin, fillet in favor of thighs, coppa, shoulder.

The additions should not be underestimated. My favorite is fresh sausage, both for the fat content (it's never enough!) And for the light spicy note.

There are those who add a finely chopped onion, some paprika or chilli, some chopped aromatic herbs, some a hint of mustard or garlic.

Maybe, purists will twist their snobbish nose, but deep down, we're talking about a meatball. To be stuffed into a rich sandwich, with sauces and everything else: the more delicious stuff there is in it, the more appreciable the result will be.

And, after this roundup, also error-proof.

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