What's with the burger ball?

I don’t think this is a new trend, but I eat a burger, I like a mostly flat disc-shaped piece of meat with about the same diameter as the bun, and a thickness such that, with bun and accoutrements, I can take a complete bite without risking jaw dislocation.

So why do some grillers and restaurants give you a big meatball between two buns? Does anyone prefer this shape of burger?

An example is the Swiss Mushroom burger in this article.

I prefer a holdable shape, but it seems to me that a ball of burger might be juicier. I’m not sure about that, tho

It disguises that the actual patty size is smaller. Even when it’s a standard size (8/pound or 4/pound) it looks Really Really Thick N Juicy!

Marketing, in other words.

Where are you seeing this (in real life)? If it was being done by an amateur, grilling burgers at home, I’d suspect a bit of laziness or incompetence in properly flattening the patty when cooking it. If it was being done by a restaurant, I’d suspect they were doing it to make it look like their patties were formed by hand from fresh ground beef, rather than using pre-shaped, frozen meat patties.

But yeah, my ideal is a hamburger patty of roughly uniform thickness, the same diameter as the bun.

Round balls of beef just don’t cook uniformly and end up very greasy in the middle. Thin is good.

I like hambrger patties thin, I like them thick, I even like them so thick that they are different done-ness levels from the outside to the in; but round freaking burgers???
That’s wrong, and sounds inconvenient and uncomfortable to eat.
(Unless it’s some kind of food snob thing that I’m not familiar with, in which case, pardon my regular-person-food-eaterness.)

I agree with Thudlow Boink - it makes the burger look fresher and gourmet, as if the chef just shaped it from the ground beef in the back kitchen.

I call them meat lumps.

Same here. I used to make burger patties huge, much to the amusement and satisfaction of my friends. But after making burgers every which way over the years, I prefer thin patties.

I think restaurants make giganto-patties because they think they, along with aioli, arugula, truffles, chef’s salad… whatever, makes them ‘gourmet’ – as if they are designed for a ‘refined palate’. Humbug. I can appreciate a ‘gourmet’ burger; but it isn’t a burger, if you follow. I like bacon-avocado cheeseburgers. I like green chile or green chile and fried egg cheeseburgers. I like jalapeño cheeseburgers. I like cheeseburgers with lettuce, tomato, and onion. And pickle chips. But make it too fancy, and it starts losing its burgerness. Burgerity. Burgitude. Whatever.

Anyway, I think the huge burgers – especially with ‘gourmet’ toppings – are the products of restaurants that have forgotten what a burger should be, and who clientele who have forgotten.

I’ll second (or third, or whatever) the “foodie” take on this. People are so used to seeing identical, thin, pressed patties and we assume that they must be mass-produced and frozen… and then we also assume that this must be bad. So the restaurants that want to stand out go to the other extreme. “Look at us! Our meat is so fresh and so hand-crafted, I just ripped off a chunk of beef and threw it on the grill.” Really, this is all in service of convincing you that $12.95 is a justified price for a burger.

(One other possible reason, though: the latest trend is to stuff things like cheese inside of a burger. In that case, a ball is a more convenient shape.)

I do kind of like thicker burger patties and I don’t need perfectly regular shapes, but there’s no reason to go with a ball that you can’t get your mouth around. That’s just stupid.

A thin patty, even a mass-shaped one, is not a bad thing. Those ultra-lean things with square edges that look like they were cut out of a sheet of maroon particleboard, and taste about the same, with the chew of day-old play-doh… those are *very *bad things.

And I’ve gotten some way-too-expensive and way-too-hyped gourmet burgers that had such toroidal turds in them.

Just put a good dish-shape in the patty before you cook it and as it cooks, it’ll contract, but not so much to make it convex. That Wal-Mart commercial has it almost right- a thumb-sized dimple won’t do the trick really- you have to make it more broad than that.

It’s not, unless the person cooking it doesn’t know what he is doing. I was converted by folks on this board: smashburgers are the way to go, unless you’re doing something odd like stuffing it with cheese.

Generally known as a ‘Juicy Lucy’ or ‘Jucy Lucy’ when made with yellow (usually Cheddar) cheese. A blue cheese variety is a ‘Bleucy Lucy’.

I make perfect thin patties this way: Roll a quarter-pound of ground beef into a ball. Put it between two sheets (or one sheet folded over) of cling-wrap or waxed paper. Smash it with a heavy, flat-bottomed pan. I use a 2½ quart Calphalon saucepan. The patty is thin and nicely circular.


I’m definitely in agreement.

My only beef (hah!) with thin patties is that I feel like a single patty is overpowered by the bun. I didn’t order a burger to have a little meat to flavor my bun. But I’ll happily take two thin patties that come out to same amount to meat:bun ratio that I like.

Yeah, my burgers, grilled or griddled, always come out juicy. I form them thick, but flat.

I’ve tried the cheese in the middle, and even shredded mixed in throughout, but I find I prefer to cook the meat, and then add cheese on top last, letting the patty heat melt it. Again, as usual, ymmv

A place out here forms their patties into huge (3/4 to 1 pound) balls. They show you the meat before they cook it. The cooking area is close by (very small place) so you can see them drop the ball’0’meat onto the flat cook top from about 1 1/2 ft up, which flattens it somewhat. Then, they use this GIANT spatula to pat it down and finally turn it. They’ll add cheeses anywhere from cold on the burger as it’s served, to completely melted on the grill. They are only open from 11 - 3, M - F. It’s as much an experience as it is a meal. Which seems to be their selling point. Their fries are also interesting. A combo of deep fried and finished on the griller, a variety of seasonings, either added before or after cooking, depending on the seasoning.

Damn, now I’m hungry

I use the Johnny L.A. method. One good whack with a pan; two, if you’re aim is off. Any more than that and you start to mush the meat and it becomes dense. They end up about 1/4"-3/8" thick and fry up in about 3-4 minutes, tops.

I often discard the top half of the bun to similar effect.

The burger balls in the OP’s link - well, I’d have to eat those with a knife and fork. On the rare occasion I cook a burger, it’s 100 percent meat, smashed flat, and seasonings and toppings are added separately.

And there’s the trick. You need to match the size of the patty with the size of the bun. One quarter-pound patty may not be enough for a particular bun, but two of them may be too much for it. In that case, make ⅓-pound patties.

I eyeball it large, then eat the overhang. :smiley: