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Sometimes when cooking a burger I have had it completely fall apart for no apparent reason. Is this due to using a ground meat that is too lean? I don't add anything to the meat and don't spend too much time working the meat in forming the patty.

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See also: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/143/… for general homemade-burger preparation. –  Eclipse Jul 9 '10 at 23:08
    
I've also had burgers fall apart when using ground beef that had been frozen, then thawed. –  anon Sep 24 '11 at 1:16
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5 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

In addition to the fat content, making sure the meat is cold while forming can help.

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I generally find that you need a binding agent in the pattie to ensure it stays together - either egg or breadcrumbs work well.

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I second the breadcrumbs +1 –  Darko Z Jul 10 '10 at 0:25
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I find additions like breadcrumbs and egg detract from the texture and flavour of a good burger. –  PaulS Jul 16 '10 at 14:43
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@PaulS - I understand how maybe breadcrumbs could, but not sure how egg would dramatically change the texture and flavour. –  LeopardSkinPillBoxHat Jul 16 '10 at 23:12
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I always use a patty press when I make my burgers since it compacts them really well and helps them stick together.

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Your guess is correct. Sometimes it also sticks to the grill and gets damaged while turning it . You can use a bit of vegetable oil to make the grill surface less sticky.

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Freezing patties before cooking them keeps them much more solid on the grill until they're cooked enough to hold together and reduces the amount of sticking to the grill.

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