It’s that time of year!! BBQ, smoked meats, outdoor cooking. Today we get to dive deep into the complex world of burger making.
I have to admit that hamburgers have got to be one of my favorite comfort foods. I grew up eating the type of burger that resembled more of meatloaf than a burger and even though I ate my food (like a good boy) deep down inside I knew there was a better way.
A burger should be flavorful, tender, and juicy. It should be rich in beefy flavor and seasoned delicately. As simple as a burger seems it’s remarkable how many bad versions I’ve had in my life. Today I’m going to show you how to perfect each step so that you can too make the perfect burger.
Before I begin though I must admit that this process is a little involved. After all we are talking about burger perfection. Because it is a little involved I recommend making enough to freeze for later. We generally make 40-50 pounds, patty the burgers, then freeze them in vac sealed bags.
To start off we use fresh beef. I like using a mix of chuck, eye of round, and brisket. The eye of round and brisket will give us a lot of beefy flavor in this burger. I am using very lean meat so for me I’ll be adding 25% extra fat to the recipe but if you have meat with nice marbling then you might want to add an addition 15%+ fat. This is up to you. Fat = flavor and will give you a very juicy bite!!.
To grind the meat we will be starting off with chilled meat and a 10mm course plate. For my second grind I’ll be using a medium plate (6mm). This is going to give me the texture I’m looking for. Here is where things get interesting.
During my second grind I like to add a funnel to my grinder. In essence I’ll be using my grinder to stuff some 100mm casings with my freshly ground meat. What this will do is to ensure that the “strains” of meat are all going one way (horizontal). When I cut my patties I’ll be cutting against the strains. This in turn will produce strains in my burger that are vertical leaving me with an “against the grain” hamburger. Each bite will be supremely tender. The other reason I like using a casing for my patties is that I don’t have to work my meat in order to form the disks. All I have to do is cut the patties away from the casing and voila!!
Seasoning is a hot topic these days. I can tell you from professional experience, do yourself a favor and season the meat just before you cook it. If you season before or while you mix the meat the salt that you add will speed up the release of myosin. This acts like a binder for your meat and changes the texture into something that resembles a sausage.
As far as the seasonings go I tend to go very simple. Salt and pepper. This allows the meat to shine without masking the beautiful natural flavors of our beef, but by all means if you want to get crazy with the seasonings have at it.
Finally the cooking process is where it can either all come together or all fall apart. Start with a blazing hot cast iron grill or skillet. Place your patty on the griddle and give it a nice smash. This will allow more contact with the hot griddle, searing the outside and giving you lots of yummy umami flavor. After 3 minutes flip the burger. I like to cook my patties for 3 minutes on each side but that’s just me. I can tell you this that a med-med/rare is a great temp for burgers with this fat content. Enjoy the video and if you have any questions be sure to let me know.
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