How to Make Burger Patties Without Getting Your Hands Dirty

This Mad Genius tip is the smartest way to store your leftover ground beef.

Dealing with frozen hamburger meat is unpleasant stuff. Just picture it: an impenetrable lump that never seems to fully defrost, no matter how hard you try. You put it in the fridge, run water over it, hack at it with an icepick — all to no avail. It happens every grilling season.

But you're in luck — because you'll never have to suffer those lumps again. Justin Chapple, Food & Wine's Deputy Test Kitchen Editor and full-time Mad Genius, has a fix.

"If you're a burger fanatic like me, then you buy your meat in bulk," says Justin. "That also means that, often times, you have a little extra on hand." Instead of storing your frozen ground beef in a shapeless mass, follow Justin's kitchen hack for pre-portioning patties for the freezer — "so that your burgers are ready for the grill when you are."

Place the ground meat you'd like to freeze into a resealable plastic freezer bag, unzipped, and begin to carefully flatten it out with your hands. Create an even layer (even in the corners!) while allowing the air to escape through the open zip-top; when you're finished, seal it up.

Use a ruler to divide the meat into even sections — you'll basically end up with a grid of squares. Transfer the bag to a baking sheet (so it stays flat) and transfer to the freezer, where you can keep it until you're ready for the grill.

"Now here's the fun part," says Justin, pulling out a frozen sheet of burgers. "All you've got to do is snap them on the seams." Justin breaks off a corner patty with no effort, kind of like a square of chocolate. "Look at this — I've got the perfect burger."

Need inspiration? We've got recipes for hamburgers, turkey burgers and seafood burgers. And for more kitchen hacks, check out the rest of Food & Wine's Mad Genius Tips.

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