Mouth-Watering Wednesdays: The Power of Panade

17 Apr


I have a confession: I used to be terrible at making burgers.

Maybe 20% of my burgers would be juicy AND fully cooked. The other 80% ended up as dry, shriveled up pucks of disappointment. People were still polite whilst pouring on more ketchup in the hopes that it would drown out the taste of sadness that lived between their hamburger buns.

If you are like I was, take heart! There is an easy* way to get juicy, tasty burgers that are in no danger of grazing on your petunias. My secret to achieving this beefy bliss boils down to a fancy sounding cooking term/method/ingredient/thingy called a panade.

A panade is just a fancy way of saying a paste, typically made of milk and bread. What this will do for your burgers is keep them moist even when cooked well-done. When all is said and done, you end up with juicy, flavorful burgers that everyone will love (or your money back!).

As for a recipe, I don’t really strictly follow one. The first time I made my burgers I followed America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Well-Done Burgers, but every time I end up with something slightly different.

Here’s my basic methodology:

  • Bread – About 1 slice per pound of hamburger
  • Milk – Enough to make a paste out of the bread
  • Hamburger
  • Black Pepper
  • Garlic
  • A dash of Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 squirts of BBQ Sauce
  • Whatever other seasonings you like in your burgers

You take your bread, tear it into quarter-sized pieces, and add just enough milk to make it all one big (kind of gross) milky mush. Then add all your seasonings. Finally, get in there with your hands and “incorporate” the bready/milky/saucy goodness into that beef. Form them into patties (I like to put a divot in the middle to make them come out more even after they shrink on the grill.) Top with whatever. Eat.

You can scale this up as large as you want; I made these burgers for my brother-in-law’s wedding reception. This recipe is very forgiving on length of grilling. Just don’t let them start on fire.

So, armed with your new-found knowledge, get out there and grill. Practice makes better. And if you are still in the middle of winter (Thanks, Minnesnowta!) get out and grill anyways! Shout your defiance to the skies and say “I won’t be kept down by you, weather! I will cook my meat with fire!”

*I won’t say foolproof, because grilling is at least as much Art as it is Science. I can also be a pretty big fool sometimes

-Aaron Pearson


Aaron Pearson is a radio engineer living in Pequot Lakes, MN. He is a husband and almost a father (he and his wife are expecting their first son) which is why he is so excited to be a part of the MTAB community. Aaron is an avid disc-golfer, board-gamer, tinkerer, brown-thumb gardener, literary connoisseur (of the SF/Fantasy persuasion), and facial hair enthusiast.

photo credit: Another Pint Please… via photopin cc

2 Responses to “Mouth-Watering Wednesdays: The Power of Panade”

  1. Bryan Logan April 17, 2013 at 14:46 #

    1/4 cup of bacon bits per pound of hamburger. Mix into the burger. Sooooooo goooood.

  2. engineeraaron April 17, 2013 at 14:50 #

    I also like to mix shredded cheese into the beef before making patties. Melty greasy goodness.

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