Or a barbecue at home? Burgers are a relaxed summer meal but don’t let your guard down on food safety. We have some safety tips to help you make and freeze burger patties.
- Buy fresh ground meat - beef, bison, lamb, pork, veal, chicken or turkey - and other fresh ingredients. Plan so you can prepare and freeze the burger patties on the same day you bring the ground meat home from the store.
- Use disposable gloves any time you handle raw ground meat or burgers. Clean and disinfect your work area and equipment afterward.
- Work as quickly as possible to limit the time the ground meat is at room temperature, especially on a hot day. Prepare the meat mixture and form into patties that are uniform in thickness.
- To keep the shape of your burgers as flat as possible, use your thumb to make a slight indent or dimple in the middle. As the patties cook, they will not puff up as much.
- Place them in a single layer in a freezer bag on a tray and freeze immediately. They can be kept frozen for up to 3 months.
- Don’t thaw your burgers at room temperature; place them in a single layer in the refrigerator until partially thawed, if possible. If you do not have a refrigerator, cook them on the grill from frozen. Frozen burgers will take longer to cook completely.
- Don’t guess when they are done! Test each burger for doneness by inserting an instant-read meat thermometer horizontally in the centre of each burger. Pay extra attention to burger patties cooked from frozen, which can look done on the outside but are still undercooked on the inside.
- Thoroughly cook all ground meat to destroy harmful bacteria that may be present, and never partially cook meat and finish cooking it later.
- Cooked ground meat patties may be frozen for up to four weeks.