Most discussions I have seen about the quality of burgers tend to stress Sirloin and/or Chuck, degree of doneness, thickness of the patty... maybe even condiments. It seems to me that there is a common consensus towards thick, all beef patties, cooked medium rare etc.,
I am sorry... but when I reflect back on my greatest burger experiences... its rarely the all meat patties that shine... its the patties with fillers! No, no... White Castle fans don't get excited, I am not trying to emancipate you - those - are still disgusting. What I am referring to is the various regional uses of Bread Crumbs, Bacon, Chorizo, Cheese, Pat of Lard, Sugary Condiments etc., to produce a far more tender, juice, intensely flavored burger.
People seem to get caveman like about the thick "juicy" patties... and I am sure there are some legitimate intentions regarding purity, quality & tradition... but I think alot of it borders on overcompensating. The reality is that most lauded, thick juicy burgers I have sought upon advice have been bland... the pink center in most of our American beef is pretty tasteless... also thicker bigger seem to lose a higher percentage of their mosture. In contrast, well thought out "fillers" seem to make big improvements from a purely gustatory perspective.
As an example... I will provide my wife's Turkey Burgers... yes Turkey. I don't remember where she got the recipe from (probably Food Network) but:
a) The bread crumbs keep the patty much more moist than any All Beef burger I've had
and the Chutney provides two functions
b) Speeds up browning of the patty, allowing for less cooking time & a more intensely flavored exterior (as long as you don't burn them!)
c) The complex fruit & spices in the Chutney seem to really bring out the flavor of the meat... in this case even boring, low fat turkey breast becomes mroe interesting than your standard USDA Choice ground Chuck & Sirloin combination.
Finally, there is the assertion that a good meat patty only needs S&P. Bull Pie I say! It may be ironic... but the careful addition of spices & umami actually brings out the flavor of the beef (and I think any accomplished Chef would back me up on this)... the whole S&P only idea comes from the fanatical fantasizing about purity & caveman grunts.
1) Are there any other Chowhounders who find burgers with "fillers" generally superior to an all meat patty
2) Are there any other compelling "fillers" out there.
3) For the rest of you... let the flaming begin!
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