To Prevent Crumbly Burgers, Consider Adding Mayonnaise

Believe it or not, grilling season is right around the corner. If you can't wait, perhaps you've been perfecting your burger technique on your griddle with the overhead fan on high. If you've noticed your patties have been crumbly and dry, you may need to rethink your method and build a better burger. A crumbly burger is a sign that your patty is lacking moisture. Sometimes this might be the ground beef you buy at the store, which is usually made from different cuts of not-so-tender beef. A good rule of thumb is to look for 80-20 ground chuck; it's not too expensive, and the ratio of meat to fat means you should have a juicy burger.

To further ensure a juicy burger, there are things you can do – and some you shouldn't. Don't add salt to your meat until just before you cook – salt leeches moisture, which is what we want to retain. And, one of the best and easiest things you can do to add moisture and fat to your burger is with a refrigerator staple — mayonnaise.

Mayonnaise is full of fat and moisture, which is what a burger needs

If you couldn't find 80-20 ground chuck at the store and need to boost the meat-to-fat ratio of your ground beef, consider adding mayonnaise to your burger mix before shaping it into patties. Warm mayonnaise? Yes, but you won't even notice it, don't worry. Mayonnaise is mostly fat – egg yolks and oil – in a stable emulsion that won't melt or break under the heat of the griddle. This also means moisture, which is what makes the difference between a dry, crumbly burger and a juicy one.

The Burger Guru via The Washingtonian recommends opting for Duke's Mayonnaise instead of other brands like Hellmann's Mayonnaise. Duke's has more egg in it, which gives it a richer, supple texture. And if you don't have Duke's, you can whisk an egg yolk into some Hellmann's Mayonnaise. The guideline is two tablespoons of mayo per pound of meat. Mayo is a pretty neutral-flavor ingredient – it's why it also works well in cake mixes – so it won't interfere with the flavor of your burger. 

And fat is flavor, which is what mayo brings to the party. So if you're looking for the perfect juicy-not-crumbly-burger hack, add some mayo, and then debate whether you can now open your own Bob's Burgers because you are a burger god.