There article will cover how to fix chewy burgers, and the reason why/how they end up that way, so you will know how to avoid it. No matter what type of burger you are making, any of the meats can end up chewy. Beef is the most commonly used for burgers of course, and it is also the most prone meat to become chewy after it is cooked.
These are the same things for steaks, which is why some people don’t like eating beef. However, for burgers, this chewy problem with beef isn’t as bad as it would be for steaks, yet it can still happen. There are multiple reasons to why a burger can end up chewy, so let’s go over the main three first.
Reason #1: You are using lean meat.
This is the number one reason to why burgers are chewy. The meat is just too lean. Most individuals make the mistake of buying the more expensive and extra lean ground meat for making their burgers, thinking that it will give them better quality burgers. It is actually the cheaper meat with the extra fat that makes burgers better.
Caution has to be taken when cooking lean meats, as they always tend to be more chewy; even when they are grinded in a meat grinder to make ground meat for burgers. Meat that lacks fat is always found to be more chewy than meats that have fat in them. This doesn’t mean that a good burger can’t be made from leaner meat, but it will always have a lesser quality to meats in texture that have atleast 5% more overall fat.
To fix this, buy the ground beef (or whichever meat you are using for your burger) that has the most fat, particularly around 20%. If you can’t find any meats with more than 7% fat, then the cooking for the burgers need to be more precise to ensure that they don’t lose too much moisture and the small amount of fat that it has.
Buy a thermometer and cook the burger until it reaches (more than) 160 degrees Fahrenheit internally, then finish the cooking. This will make the burger as safe as possible to eat, without having to sacrifice much of its texture and make it too chewy.
Reason #2 You are cooking the burger for too long.
Even if the correct meat is being used to cook the burgers, the burgers can still end up chewy if they are simply cooked for too long. A really well done burger is a really chewy burger; especially if the burger is made from real beef. It is the nature of regular cow’s meat to be tough, chewy, and possibly dry if it is overcooked. This is the same reason why well done steaks are avoided by many.
Though the meat is grounded to help distribute the fat evenly in the meat, it doesn’t mean that the burger is immune to becoming chewy like a steak would. As the burger cooks, it bleeds out its juices, making the burger more dry, less tender, less flavorful, and more chewy.
Eventually the burger can cook to the point that it becomes both tough and chewy. To fix this, again, the burger needs to be cooked only to the point that it has cooked and no longer than this. Use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the burger. Once it reaches the cooked temperature, immediately take it off the heat and let it rest.
Reason #3: You are making your burger patties too thick.
Thick burger patties need to cook longer in order for them to fully cook and be safe to eat. This gives the thicker patty a chance to become more chewy than if it was made thinner. The outer layer of the burger always cooks first, then the inside slowly cooks. This means that if high temperatures are used to cook the thick burger patty, then the outer edges can become tough, rubbery, and chewy once the inside of the burger has finished cooking.
Cooking the burger patty and getting it off the heat as fast as possible is what you want to do when cooking the burger, but you don’t want the outside to become too tough from cooking too much, if the heat can’t reach the middle to cook it fast enough.
To fix this, make the burger patties thinner so that the burgers can finish their cooking and get out of the heat asap. If you want thick meaty burgers, then cook more thin patties to stack in the burger, instead of trying to make one big really thick patty.
Reason #4: You are letting your burger rest for too long.
Letting the burger patty rest after it is done cooking is great if you don’t want your hamburger buns to possibly become soggy, but if it rests for too long, it can become more tough and chewy. This is because the cooked burger patty is exposed to the air while it is resting. It dries out the burger and eventually leaves nothing but a chewy beefy texture to the meat once the moisture is gone.
To fix this, let the burger rest for a shorter period of time. All of the juices don’t have to leave the burger patty first before that burger patty is ready to be placed in the burger. The hamburger bun is designed to soak up some of the moisture so that the burger can be enjoyed while it is still tender and juicy.