Beef patty

Beef patty

The Huxtaburger Book
makes 4
Chris Middleton

The beef patty is the star of the burger. If the patty isn’t good, then the whole burger is ruined!

When cooked, the patty must be the same diameter as the bun, as there's nothing worse than a patty which only fills up half the bun. Meat has a natural tendency to shrink when it’s cooked, so it's important to take this into consideration when shaping the patties. I’d suggest that you shape the patties to be at least 20 per cent bigger than your buns.

In pursuit of the ultimate beef patty, let’s now consider the merits of the different types and cuts of beef.

Grass-fed versus grain-fed beef: When using regular beef, I prefer to use grass-fed as opposed to grain-fed – the main reason being that I think grass-fed is better for the cattle and the environment, as the cattle are free to roam and are not kept in feedlots. The meat also has the taste of where it comes from (terroir) and what the animal’s diet is, which can often be identified as having a mineral flavour. Many farmers may also top up the feed with hay and silage harvested from the property after an abundance of spring growth.

Beef from grain-fed cattle can all taste the same, as the animals are essentially eating the same type of feed. The upside to grain-fed is the consistency of the marbling and tenderness of the meat; grass-fed beef can be a lot more variable in tenderness and marbling, due to the fact that the cattle roam more.

Wagyu beef: Wagyu literally means ‘Japanese cow’. The special thing about these cattle is that they have a high amount of naturally occurring intramuscular marbling. This means that the fat is evenly dispersed inside the muscles, not just between them, creating deliciously juicy beef.

Wagyu beef can either be full-blood (pure-bred) or F1, which is a cross of full-blood and another breed, commonly Angus or Holstein, which bring their qualities to the beef. F1 is cheaper than full-blood.

The fat in wagyu beef is high in unsaturated fats, which means it is better for us, and also melts at a lower temperature. A good test for wagyu beef is to put a little of the fat on your thumbnail; it should melt from your body temperature.

The majority of wagyu beef is grain-fed, although we use grass-fed wagyu for our patties at Huxtaburger, as it has an excellent flavour and retains moisture during cooking.

Composition of the patty: There are many schools of thought on the make-up of the patty. Some people swear it must have certain percentages of different cuts to make the perfect burger.

If you have a good relationship with your butcher, maybe you can ask them for specific muscles, although this may be tricky if you only want a small amount. If you have a mincer at home, you can get the cuts you want and grind the beef yourself.

When grinding your own meat, it is very important to keep the mincing equipment and the meat itself as cold as possible. If it warms up, the fat can start to melt, which will cause the meat to become dry, and crumble when cooked.

You really don’t want more than about 20 per cent fat in the meat, otherwise you’ll find that most of it just comes out during cooking. If you are cooking on a flat grill or pan, the meat will become crispy on the outside, yet greasy at the same time. If you use a flame-fired chargrill to cook the patties, it will flare up too much and give the patties an unappealing burnt-fat flavour. Personally I think 10–15 per cent fat is the sweet spot.

In our patties at Huxtaburger, we mainly use the muscles from the butt area – generally the silverside, topside and knuckle. These give a patty with good texture and mouth-feel, without too much sinew.

As you will see from the recipes, we add only salt and pepper to our patties. It comes down to personal preference, but some people like to add fillers such as onion, tomato sauce, mustard, breadcrumbs, egg, etc – but I believe this detracts from the flavour of the beef itself, and can give the patties a pasty texture. Also in the case of tomato sauce, it can make the patties burn excessively during cooking.

It is best to make and cook the patties on the day you plan to serve them. I would not recommend making a few and freezing them, as the juices will come out of them and they won't be great. Fresh is always best!


Quantity Ingredient
1 heaped teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
400g minced wagyu beef


  1. Mix the salt and pepper through the beef. Weigh out the mixture into four 100 g portions and flatten them to about 1 cm thick. Lay the patties on a sheet of baking paper.
  2. Heat a flat grill plate, or a large non-stick frying pan, to a medium heat. Cook the patties for about 4 minutes on the first side, then turn them over and cook for a further 4 minutes, or until cooked through.
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