For The Absolute Best Pork Burgers, You Need A Good Binder

A pork burger with fries
A pork burger with fries - Lauripatterson/Getty Images

Have you ever stopped at a fast food joint and asked yourself why pork burgers aren't as ubiquitous as the all-beef patty? Or maybe you have wanted to make pork burgers at home but were afraid to approach them like you would other burgers. The good news is that pork burgers are indeed a thing, and they are safe to cook and delicious to boot. However, making pork patties requires a few easy extra ingredients, including a good binder.

Both beef and pork are considered lean meats, and ounce for ounce they have about the same amount of protein, with the amount in beef being only slightly higher. Beef also has more saturated fat than pork, but the ratios of saturated and unsaturated fats are distributed more evenly in beef. This is why when pork cooks, it emits more juice and fat than beef. So, while it may seem counterintuitive, cooking a pork burger requires binder to hold all the juices — as well as the flavors — inside the patty.

The two most common ingredients in a binder are eggs and bread crumbs. The egg is used to hold the mixture together, while the bread crumbs are there to sop up the fat and juices and keep them in the pork patty. Using a binder also presents a great opportunity to add seasonings and punch up the flavor of the pork burger. Herbs and spices bind with the egg and bread crumbs to create a burst of flavor, like in this recipe for a homemade sausage burger with peppers and onions.

Read more: Tips You Need When Cooking With Ground Beef

Get Creative With Binder For Your Pork Burgers

Ground meat mixture and binders in glass bowls
Ground meat mixture and binders in glass bowls - Arina P Habich/Shutterstock

Think of a pork burger as hamburger's more flavorful cousin. Before you consider what toppings to add, get creative with the patty itself. The absolute best burgers start with great seasoning. Use Italian bread crumbs instead of plain for an herbaceous burger, or add herbs like thyme, rosemary, or sage. You can also try stuffing the pork burger with even more delectable ingredients. For example, a blue cheese stuffed burger with fig and pear (or substitute apple for the pear) works great with pork.

Because pork has a slightly sweeter taste than beef, it takes on both sweet and savory flavors like a champ. Substitute pork into this recipe for smoky chipotle burgers, using egg and bread crumbs as a binder, and garlic, onion powder, cumin, and chipotles with adobo. The earthy, smoky profile of this burger works perfectly with the pork. You can also try some alternative ingredients to bind the pork burger. For instance, substitute egg for milk or applesauce, and replace the bread crumbs with crackers or oats.

Panko comes in a gluten-free version, or crush up some pork rinds and use them instead of bread crumbs for an even more flavorful binder that contains no gluten. Final words of caution when considering your binder: The more binder present in your patties, the easier it is to overcook them. You can balance out the binder with some liquid seasoning (we love Worcestershire sauce in burgers), or hit the pork mix with some more fat in the form of olive oil.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.