31.10.06

Hambabangers

Marc and I just got back from Princeton. Not the university, but the small town in central BC where Marc just did a locum. I want to post some pictures of our trip but our camera is acting up so I will have to wait for it to be fixed. Instead I will post about meat:

Something that I have been wondering about lately . . . hamburgers. Why do they shrink when you cook them? When my mom was here we made hamburgers and I made sure to make the patties extra huge. Growing up my dad would make hamburgers every Saturday night. I do really mean every Saturday. Saturday came to be known was "icky burger" night in our household. (Sorry Dad!) My Dad's burgers were always very small and usually burnt and I always wondered why he just didn't make them bigger. So the last time I made hamburgers (which I don't do very often) I made sure to make the patties extra huge. I was so proud of them and so excited to see the wonderful VERY LARGE hamburgers I would soon be eating. Much to my chagrin when I opened the BBQ I found small blackened (slightly, not burned) hunks of meat in the place of my former VERY LARGE patty.

Why, Why? Where did all the patty go? Was my dad really making very large patties all along?

9 comments:

megan said...

Of course it's the water in the cells, but I think it also has to do with the binding agents you put in... eggs, crackers... and the thickness. All I know is that the store-bought patties don't shrink much, so they must be putting something in them. Maybe ground-up plastic?

Finally a blog posting!!!

greg said...

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Katherine said...

Well actually Kylie, it has to do with the fat content of the meat used. (I only know this because I googled it, but just for the record, I had a hunch that was the answer) From Readers Digest online discussing the different types of ground beef:

"Regular hamburger: This mix of trimmings has the most fat of all the grinds, which means that the burgers shrink as they cook."

As the fat burns off, your burgers lose their mass. The fat also causes flare up on the barbecue, hence your half-charred burgers.

marcandorkylie said...

Wow, thank you Katherine. I did add more trimmings than usual to these ones so maybe that's what they shrunk a bit more. Dad I am glad to hear that you were making big patties all along. now why were they burnt? :) Kylie

Sparks said...

Well now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I'm pretty sure that the jury's still out on this one. I was talking with a scientist in Atlanta that studies exactly this, hamburger shrinkage. It's the drastically dwindling field of carnisemarcescology. You've probably never heard of it, but don't let the absence of evidence be the evidence of absence, eh. Anyways, he's exploring the realm of anti-burger (like anti-matter but in a burger form), and how it combines with meat at a very specific temperature. I'm not sure about the exact physics of it all, but hey, does a frog have a beak?

marcandorkylie said...

Fraser you are silly!

Anonymous said...

Once I had a huge zucchini the farmer's market lady gave to me for free, and we didnt know what to do with it, so we ended up shredding it and added it our hamburger mix for the BBQ - let me tell you no shrinkage and no burning at all! My dad thinks it's the water content in the zucchini. Those were the best burgers! Man, I'm craving them now.

marcandorkylie said...

Fat, so great to hear from you! I will have to try the zucchini thing. Kylie

Anonymous said...

Kylie, they weren't that bad. Yes they shrunk but they weren't burnt.
And I'll add my two cents to the discussion to say that it must not be totally the fat cntent because you used extra lean.

Mom/Cherri