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Salt in the burgers

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Eziemniak

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Do you put salt in your burger mince or only on the burger before searing it?
I have not done any empirical studies but the first school of thought says salt will dry the meat if mixed,
second one it does not matter plus it allows for more control
 

birdsfan

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Thanks Viggetorr! I have always been in the salt right before cooking camp and have had this same debate with other cooks I work with. Its good to have a definitive study to cite.
 

Runner_up

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Interesting. I've heard this debate before but never gave it much thought. I've always salted and peppered the minced meat, it's how my Pops made his burgers, and how we did it when I worked grill at a fine dining spot. Never once have I had burgers turned out like the sausage looking patties from Kenji.

To this day I make burgers at home at least once a month. I'll play around with this next time.
 

Eziemniak

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TBH while I do not doubt Kenji's results I have never seen this kind of texture either.
But it is certainly food for thought
 

Viggetorr

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It probably has to do with the amount of times the mince is salted before ending up in the pan. Longer wait between salting and frying should result in more sausage-like texture.

Anywways, Kenjis reasoning is sound. There really is no sound reason to salt in advance.
 

daveb

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LuvDog

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Salt it right before it goes on the grill. Handle the meat as little as possible. Tender and juicy
 

McMan

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Salt on burger before cooking... better still too much salt on burger before cooking!
 

ian

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Perhaps it depends a bit on the fineness of the grind? At home, if my grind is a bit coarse, then salting during the grinding process helps it stick together into a well defined patty when cooking. Otherwise, it'll hold together fine, but it'll feel a bit soft and crumbly when you eat it. I like to have the patty be something with a little resistance to the tooth. It shouldn't feel like a sloppy joe. That said, I'm no burger master. But I've wondered about this myself, too, which is why I'm chiming in.

I've also never seen a texture like Kenji's from salting during grinding.
 

Dendrobatez

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I go by Hestons method which is to dice the meat, salt it and let it sit for a couple hours, then grind, shape and let sit for another few hours to allow it to "glue together". If you buy it ground I would still do it but make sure you don't overmix.
 

Up_dog128

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This is rubbish. Several problems with homeboy's experiment:
First off, who puts a tsp of salt per burger?! 2% salt by weight and he IS making charcuterie. Seriously, does anyone here use over a tablespoon of salt in a pound of beef? This is probably why none of us have ever seen a burger that looked like this. He made corned beef.
Second of all, he didn't try eating them, he just dropped a f***in pan on them. Is anyone in the habit of doing this to their food before they eat it, to make sure it will be a suitable texture? I understand he wanted some visible results for the post, but that isn't how chewing works. I eat alot of sausage patties that have quite a bit of salt (but still only half as much as he used), that have been with that salt for a long time, and they do indeed hold their shape more than I might like a burger to, but when I actually chew them they are by no means rubbery.
Thirdly, so many other variables:
Size of the grind, time spent with the salt on it, did he press the patty with the spatula while cooking (probably).

And of course, there is the plain fact that burgers that only have seasoning on the surface are bland... So there ;-)
 

The Edge

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I treat my burgers like steaks, and only season the outside with salt right before cooking. I use Kosher salt, and season aggressively. I also dry age the beef like I do steak, and after forming patties with my hands (be careful not to overwork the meat), leave it on a rack in the fridge for at least a day. The outside layer of beef will start to turn a dark red, and dry just a bit. This helps form an amazing crust, since there's no water to a) cool down the grill b) form a layer of steam between the meat and the pan/flat top. I also only flip once, and after flipping is the time to add cheese. Forming a tiny divot in the middle of the meat will help the patty from bulging in the center, allowing the meat to remain in contact with the cooking surface. The burger should also never be cooked past medium. I live in a burger town, and I'll put mine up against anyone :)
 

mise_en_place

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Mixing salt in before grind will definitely help with binding, but affects the texture significantly.

Just like pizza, there are lots of different burger styles. I work somewhere where we're famous-ish locally and regionally known for our burgers. We dice the meat, salt, grind, and mix before portioning, chilling, and cooking on a char-broiler. People love them. The flavor is great (thanks to great beef) but the texture is tighter than I like because of salt and mixing.

I prefer a burger to be minimally mixed, salted on the surface before cooking, and seared on a flat-top, plancha, or cast iron pan.

That's just me, though.
 

FishmanDE

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Salting during grinding is just sausage without the casing and lower fat content. If you're working with a dumb thicccq patty, you can season about 5-10min before cooking to allow for better penetration, but other wise salt right before hitting the grill.
 

ethompson

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I use a 80/20 blend of kosher salt and MSG right before throwing on the grill or griddle. I tend to get pretty heavy handed with it too. I don't want anything to taste like a salt lick, but the patty is the only thing getting salt besides what is in any non-salad condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, etc...), so I find it pretty hard to overdo it since it is, in effect, also having to season the lettuce, tomato, and onion.

On the above Kenji debate, I find 2% by weight to be about right for most meat if seasoning right before cooking.
 
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applepieforbreakfast

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I use a 80/20 blend of kosher salt and MSG right before throwing on the grill or griddle. I tend to get pretty heavy handed with it too. I don't want anything to taste like a salt lick, but the paddy is the only thing getting salt besides what is in any non-salad condiments (mustard, ketchup, mayo, etc...), so I find it pretty hard to overdo it since it is, in effect, also having to season the lettuce, tomato, and onion.

On the above Kenji debate, I find 2% by weight to be about right for most meat if seasoning right before cooking.




But serious time, you've got a really good point about the patty having to carry the seasoning for basically everything else on the burger.
 
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