Most agree the juiciest burgers are made from ground chuck with about 20% fat. But if all you’ve got is lean ground beef, some prudent additions can add moisture, and flavor to boot.

Finely minced or grated raw onions will release their juices as the burgers cook, helping to keep the burger interior moist. Finely chopped bell peppers and mushrooms have a similar effect, and all add to the burgers’ flavor. Fresh breadcrumbs soaked in milk and mixed into the ground beef also helps add some juiciness, as can a simple dash of cream.

Akatonbo uses lean ground beef to make a French take on hamburgers called “bitoque” that’s served with a sour cream sauce. Crumble a slice of white bread into small bits, and add enough milk to make it soggy. Add it to 1 lb. ground beef and mix well. Form into patties and dredge each one in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, shaking off extra. Heat 1 Tbs butter and 1 Tbs oil in a heavy
skillet and add burgers to the pan. Cook, turning once or twice, until done. Remove them to a foil-covered plate. For the sauce, add 1/2 cup sour cream and 1/2 cup beef broth to the skillet and stir, scraping all the bits off the bottom. Stir until somewhat thickened, adjusting proportions to taste.Adjust seasoning and pour over the burgers.

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