What goes in your hamburger meat mixture and why?

When I was a kid, I knew lots of moms who would do this, for two reasons:

  1. Meat was expensive and they would stretch it by adding bread crumbs or crackers.

  2. It was a good way to use up bread or crackers that were reaching the end of their shelf life.

A lot of this kind of stuff has its roots in poverty and since a lot of people do what their parents or grandparents did when it comes to recipes, the tradition continues even among folks who don’t have to do it any more.

My hamburgers consist of lean ground beef + Penzey’s Chicago Steak Seasoning, which is a dry seasoning you sprinkle on before grilling. My mom wasn’t a very good cook so I’ve pretty much been on my own when it comes to recipes!

  1. When I came back from Europe I was the first to point out to my family and friends that Hamburger Helper actually cost more per pound than hamburger.

  2. As a cheeseburger purist, I will add nothing to hamburger but an occasional sprinkle of something like the steak seasoning you mention is not bad.
    And if there is no cheese on a burger, it is inedible.
    Preferably two thick slices of sharp cheddar, or jalepino, melted so it covers perfectly.

Well, of course it is. It’s a pre-packaged, processed mix. I’m not sure what that has to do with what I said?

I think the original goal of hamburger helper was to make the expensive meat go further with a large family. Sort of defeats the purpose if the ingredient to “stretch” the volume costs more than what you are trying to stretch. Might as well make a meatloaf and save the bucks. But whatever…guess my point wasn’t made so well.

I love adding crackers or crusty bread soaked in milk, it’s the way my grandmother made hamburgers (which she did to stretch the meat, as romansperson mentioned). Usually, however, I’m too lazy to do this.

I think it tastes delicious – I’m sure part of it is nostalgia, but I also think the crackers/bread does something to hold in the fat. It’s not something I would serve to guests, though, because I do think of it as “poor” food.

Ground chuck, carefully fromed into patties.

Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

That’s it.

I also only cook burgers on the grill. I don’t like the way they taste if they are cooked in a pan. I keep my deck shoveled in the winter for this very reason.

Might I as why not salt? Is it for health reasons, or do you just not trust salt? Although you have worstershire sauce, which ahs salt in it, so I understand if adding extra aslt makes it too salty.

What? No liquid smoke?
You sir, are mislabeled. :wink:

I’m a sullier. They seem to stay more moist (moister?) and they hold together better. I also put all that other good stuff you just mentioned. Sometimes, I do soy sauce, too.

My batch of hamburgers usually consists of beef, an egg or two (depending on how large a batch it is - egg really helps with your patty consistency) and finely diced onions, plus a lot of spices.

Onion soup mix is also good.

Onions = Happy

Another meatloaf recipe.

Blah blah blah meatloaf blah blah blah. You’re a chicken, and my burgers taste better.

The so-called “wellfare burger” containing eggs and bread that the burger purists here seem to get all worked up over is actually a German delicacy and may in fact be The Original Hamburger. These highly spiced, egg and bread hamburgers are known asFrikadellen. Although the theory that the addition of egg and bread and other fillers to stretch the meat and save money may have some basis, it is also very likely that this is a German culinary contribution to American cooking.

When you get right down to it, an unembellished ground meat pattie is pretty boring and usually made of lesser and less tasty cuts. It would only make sense to enhance the flavor. Traditionally, Frikadellen are served naked, without a bun and condiments (maybe a little hot mustard) so they had to have the flavor inside. Maybe our addition of the bun and condiments is a bit redundant, but the bread and egg burger is the Grand-Daddy of all Burgers and is a worthy and noble dish in it’s own right. The Wellfare burger camp are really the true Burger Purists and true to its origin.