Busting Pork Myths: Using Pork Mince for Making Burgers –
Yes You Can!
When you think of making a burger, you may not immediately think of using pork mince but we’re here to tell you that you’re missing a trick. Pork makes for an incredibly juicy and tender burger and is also very budget friendly.
Using pork mince for burgers
THE MYTH: Pork mince isn’t good for burgers.
THE TRUTH: Pork mince is PERFECT for burgers!
One of the reasons pork mince may not be thought of often is because it’s not readily available in your local butchery fridge. There is a very easy solution to this however, simply ask your local butcher to mince it for you. The bonus of this is that you’re getting super fresh meat that has been processed just for you and you can ask for it to be prepared just the way you want it.
THE MYTH: Pork mince will be dry.
THE TRUTH:You can control the fat ratio.
No one wants a dry burger and you can start off on the right foot here by also asking your butcher for the meat:fat ratio that you prefer. We recommend 80:20 (70:30 would be even better). Ask your butcher to mince a piece of pork shoulder that has a good amount of fat, if the selected piece needs a little extra, your butcher should be able to add in extra fat for you to get the perfect mix.
Hot tip! Because we’re huge fans of pork, most specifically the dreamy smokiness of bacon, we added a packet of chopped streaky bacon to our pork mix. It was the ideal flavour profile to work with the sweet bourbon BBQ sauce and the combo was an absolute hit.
The thing you want to remember is to ask your butcher to mince your pork for you on a coarse grind setting so that it retains a level of texture. The downfall of any burger is highly compacted meat, so you want to avoid that at all costs and a thicker mincing setting will give you a crumblier texture to work with. Trust us when we say using pork mince for burgers is going to be your new piece of culinary wizardry.
THE MYTH: You need eggs and breadcrumbs to bind the meat.
THE TRUTH: The fat in your mince meat will help with binding.
There’s a classic Eddie Murphy comedy skit that talks about momma’s homemade burgers – with made paprika, chunks of green pepper, onion and eggs. Let’s avoid that disaster at all costs! The beauty of a great burger is actually a well made, meaty and juicy patty with layers of flavour and texture coming from external additions. In short, keep it simple. When you start adding things like eggs and breadcrumbs you are veering into meatball territory – abort, abort! You don’t need all of those additional things, the meat has natural binding ability and just needs a little TLC to get it to where it needs to be – more on that next.
THE MYTH: You need to season the mince before you make the patties.
THE TRUTH: You want to avoid doing that to avoid springy meat.
As soon as you salt meat the salt starts to dissolve the proteins on the surface of the meat. This makes it stick together more which makes your patty tighter or springy. As mentioned above, the aim is a crumbly, looser texture so you don’t want to add salt at this point.
THE MYTH: You need to fiddle to get that perfect patty.
THE TRUTH: The less you meddle the better.
Your patties should be carefully constructed – the less you fiddle with the meat the better. Make sure the meat is straight-out-of-the-refrigerator cold and that you don’t overwork. Weigh out the portions into loosely formed chunks. Flatten lightly with the palm of your hand and then work the edges to form a round patty. Lastly, use your thumb to make a light divot in the centre to help prevent curling when you fry the patties.
THE MYTH: Your burger needs to be cooked all the way through.
THE TRUTH:You can enjoy your burger medium.
It’s definitely a myth that pork has to be cooked to death. As with beef, you can enjoy your burger cooked to medium. You want it to retain its juiciness and not become a dry puck. Aim for around 65 ºC internal temperature and then take it off the heat as it will continue to rise a few degrees as it rests.
Make our Big Bourbon Burger with Cheese & Onions
A burger should be a flavour bomb and this one fits the bill with explosive flavour. We’ve complemented the pork with a sweet bourbon-based BBQ sauce, melty cheese and extra crispy bacon (you can never have too much bacon). To give a bit of crunch and piquant flavour we’ve added pickled jalapeños to the mix. All this hugged on a lightly toasted sesame bun and served with potato wedges. It just doesn’t get more delicious than that!
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