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Mussina

The Perfect Burger

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If the meat is low on fat I add some. Butter works well; partially freeze, cut into chunks and add to grinder with the meat. I've also had the best luck grinding meat just once, using the 1/8" disk on the KA attachment. Minimal handling and compression keeps the texture nice.

 

I presalt if cooking conventionally (sprinkle salt and pepper on the meat right before grinding) but add the salt in the form of a compound butter if cooking sous-vide. This prevents the texture from getting tough and sausage-like. 

 

Burgers done this way are delicate but don't fall apart.

 

I weigh seasonings and use this formula:

0.7% salt
0.2% black pepper
0.01% cayenne pepper (optional. should not be an identifiable flavor)


Notes from the underbelly

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I came home tonight with more chuck and some nice looking naturally smoked uncured bacon.  Sadly I have not the energy to experiment tonight.

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The Perfect Burger is kind of in the eye of the beholder, or maybe the mouth, right?  For me there are two kinds of burgers - Diner and Steak House (which can be a brew pub/steak house/upscale sort of affair.  The diner version is blue collar to fast food burger.  Diner usually runs 4 ounces or under and the Steak House is 6 ounces and up.  Each needs a different cooking style.  

Diner burgers are cooked faster since they are thinner.  In fact, the smash burger is the fastest and flattest of the diner style - just hammered even thinner to create a larger area of the fantastic crusty exterior aka the Maillard Reaction.  Q&D burgers for me are smash burgers.  Just remember to do that smashing within 30 seconds of it hitting the griddle.  The joy of the Smash Burger is that it is not quite so meat dependent for flavor, though as all burgers, it is fat dependent. 

The more common diner burger, the 4 ounce version, not smashed, still cooks fairly quick and should not be smashed,  Meat content is important as is fat content.  Since meat is more important, finding that mix that works for you is worthwhile.  I recently read a master butcher's take on mixed cut burgers which he felt was simply over the top and kind of posing.  I disagree completely.  I use a mix of brisket, short rib, and sirloin usually.  I'll swap out short rib for oxtail when I  can.  I won't spend money on Kobi or similar cuts for a burger, not that it is available where I hang my hat currently.

The Steak House burger starts at 6 ounces and goes up from there.  It takes a longer cook or even bake to get right.  Note, I don't simply want my burgers cooked through, I demand they are.  Serving me a medium rare burger is a fine way to ruin a meal.  Medium rare is for steaks, not ground meats.  That said, the cuts I use for the bigger burger match what I described above for the diner burgerr.  And for fun, I'll SV the burger to exactly where I want it, pull it out of the vac pack, dry it off, and drop it in deep fryer.  Yes, maximum crust for 360 degrees (of exterior, not temperature).  It only needs a couple of minutes to crust up, since the interior is already cooked. 

I do use a bit of salt, but a minimum amount.  I will add small amounts of flavorings, but lightly, very lightly - maybe onion powder, pepper, and that smidge of salt.  Maybe Tatonka Dust if I have any. But doing none is perfectly acceptable too.  Depends on who I am cooking them for.

My perfect burger?  It's actually a combo of my beef cuts, ground twice (which I am considering reducing to one grind) and ground bacon.  I chased this one here at eGullet in a separate thread last year.  My own bacon, ground - roughly 33% to 40%, the ground beef, and then your choice of cooking style.  My wife votes for charcoal most of the time.  I'm the SV & Deep Fry guy.  But for gotta eat soon or die Q&D burgers - its the smaller patty hammered flat on a cast iron griddle.     


Perpetual Novice Living Abroad: High in the Cordilleras of Luzon

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The Perfect Burger is kind of in the eye of the beholder, or maybe the mouth, right?  

Note, I don't simply want my burgers cooked through, I demand they are.  Serving me a medium rare burger is a fine way to ruin a meal.  Medium rare is for steaks, not ground meats.  That said, the cuts I use for the bigger burger match what I described above for the diner burgerr.  And for fun, I'll SV the burger to exactly where I want it, pull it out of the vac pack, dry it off, and drop it in deep fryer.  Yes, maximum crust for 360 degrees (of exterior, not temperature).  It only needs a couple of minutes to crust up, since the interior is already cooked. 

 

Your first statement is certainly correct. Cooking hamburger completely through ruins the texture and flavor in my opinion. They have to have at least some pink in the middle to maintain the perfect texture, flavor and moisture! Of course I also like Steak Tartar so that probably influences my cooking choices a little.

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I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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If you have enough fat in your mix IMO a well done burger can be perfectly delicious and juicy.

Recently I have been preparing a half half mix of brisket and chuck, coarse hand ground, formed into a log and pre sliced into 4oz patties, then individually frozen.

I cook them directly from frozen on pan or grill. I cook them to medium well+ even though I know the provenance of the meat for safety purposes. The crust I get from this technique is out of this world. And I have no juiciness complaints.

Also requires mayonnaise and dill pickles. Other toppings optional.

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If you have enough fat in your mix IMO a well done burger can be perfectly delicious and juicy.

Recently I have been preparing a half half mix of brisket and chuck, coarse hand ground, formed into a log and pre sliced into 4oz patties, then individually frozen.

I cook them directly from frozen on pan or grill. I cook them to medium well+ even though I know the provenance of the meat for safety purposes. The crust I get from this technique is out of this world. And I have no juiciness complaints.

Also requires mayonnaise and dill pickles. Other toppings optional.

 

I certainly agree that adding more fat to the mix allows a burger to be cooked more while it still retains juiciness. I do think however that it is not as tender when it gets cooked more and I certainly prefer to cook leaner meats for health reasons.

 

We do a technique very similar to yours as far as cooking them frozen if we are cooking them on a pan out over if we are grilling them we prefer them to be defrosted first.

 

I'll take my mustard and onions over your mayonnaise and dill pickles anytime but differences are what makes the world go round! :smile: 


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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After cleaning a tenderloin I had a good amount of scraps. A high portion of fat to lean. They gave off a lot of fat when seared in a pan and due to the fat content were not served rare. They had great flavor for being tenderloin and were incredibly juicy

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When cooking leaner mixes I agree that medium- is the way to go.

I need to pasteurize some 90% lean ground bison burgers one of these days at 130F. But sous vide burgers have their own thread.

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Chuck, 80%, cooked like a "Pittsburgh Rare" steak, i.e., charred on exterior, but center square centimeter warm but still raw.


Edited by rlibkind (log)
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Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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MSRadell, I consider ground beef and steak tartar as two different things.  Ground beef is exposed to many surfaces, often is ground and stored for some time before cooking and consumption.  Steak tartar is normally chopped just prior to consumption, on a sterile work surface using a very sharp knife that is sterile too (or darn well should be).  That said, if you want to eat a ground beef burger that's pink inside, more power to you.  Just don't serve it to me or any of my family unless we are grinding beef together and making burgers on the spot.  

Now, there are different rules for different people.  Folks in the "at risk" category are often much more aware of the dangers of food poisoning than someone in their youth and the blush of good health.  If you have spent time in an ICU or even just spent a couple of days in the hospital for some food related illness, the "won't happen" attitude dissipates quickly.  Of course, there are many happy-go-lucky souls that have spent decades doing whatever they want and never had a problem.  But their apparent immunity or good fortune is no great assurance to me of mine.  

I do a number of things to assure food safety when I grind meat.  The standard disinfection procedures for the equipment, the sourcing of good meat, as well as I can in a third world country, proper refrigeration, and I even give the whole meat a hot vinegar spray prior to grinding, let it sit for 1 minute, then rinse it with clean/sterile water.  The  latter step greatly reduces surface bacteria prior to grinding and limits the possibility of problems with my ground meat.  I'd be doing that to any steak tartar too if I made it.     


Perpetual Novice Living Abroad: High in the Cordilleras of Luzon

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MSRadell, I consider ground beef and steak tartar as two different things.  Ground beef is exposed to many surfaces, often is ground and stored for some time before cooking and consumption.  Steak tartar is normally chopped just prior to consumption, on a sterile work surface using a very sharp knife that is sterile too (or darn well should be).  That said, if you want to eat a ground beef burger that's pink inside, more power to you.  Just don't serve it to me or any of my family unless we are grinding beef together and making burgers on the spot.     

I only eat hamburgers at places that grind their own meat daily or ones that I make myself from eat I grind. I don't eat burgers at fast food places or places that make them from commercially processed ground beef nor do I buy ground beef. That's probably one of the reasons I don't mind having them pink on the inside.


I've learned that artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.

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Tonight chuck and uncured bacon double ground through the frozen KitchenAid fine disc.  I allowed the patties to age for an hour or so while I prepared and drank my mai tai.  Served with roast red potatoes and sliced Rutgers tomato.  This is getting into "best burger" territory.

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Chuck, 80%, cooked like a "Pittsburgh Rare" steak, i.e., charred on exterior, but center square centimeter warm but still raw.

I only cook it this with beef I grind immediately before cooking.
Edited by rlibkind (log)

Bob Libkind aka "rlibkind"

Robert's Market Report

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I only cook it this with beef I grind immediately before cooking.

Food safety wouldn't be my main concern with that one. I just don't care for the texture of raw ground beef. I'll do medium rare but even that's pushing it a bit. It's not a squeamish thing, I like my steaks still looking for a nice patch of grass to nibble on, and it's not a food safety thing, I know how to minimalize those issues... it's strictly textural. Warm raw ground beef just isn't a texture I find pleasant.

 


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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I have to say I love a rare burger with a crispy charred exterior.

 

Appreciate that this may not be what everyone wants.

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Tonight chuck and uncured bacon double ground through the frozen KitchenAid fine disc.  I allowed the patties to age for an hour or so while I prepared and drank my mai tai.  Served with roast red potatoes and sliced Rutgers tomato.  This is getting into "best burger" territory.

 

 

I'm wonderingh if you aged it for 5 days ..it would really age


Its good to have Morels

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I'm wonderingh if you aged it for 5 days ..it would really age

 

The hour's rest was at the suggestion of btbyrd to help the patties hold together better.

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I like to cook as soon as possible after grinding. One of the benefits of grinding your own meat is the freshness. There's so much surface exposed to air that meat oxidizes quickly after being ground. It goes from red to gray and gets that not-so-fresh smell. 

 

Packaging for sour-vide helps, but you really can't evacuate all the air from the bag ... the meat's now full of air. And you pretty much have to use water displacement. A vacuum machine will squash the burger and make it tough.


Notes from the underbelly

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If getting the patties to hold together is the point, couldn't you just add salt and then mix a bit to build up some myosin? Obviously there's going to be a fine line between "holding together" and tough, but that's always true.

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Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Why?

 

To the best of my knowledge all the advice I have ever seen for hamburgers says to shape the patties as gently as possible, preferably without touching the patties with one's hands.  I have been using two forks for this.

 

For meatloaf or meatballs, yes, I would probably mix ingredients into the meat after grinding.  But not for hamburger.

 

At the moment the seasoned chuck and uncured bacon strips are in the freezer till I complete my scorpion.  I'm trying to decide whether to single or double grind the meat this time around.

 

Do you salt after grinding, Chris?

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I think hand forming is okay. Just keep your hands in ice water for 30 min before forming ;))

Trying to form burgers with two forks seems very awkward. Do they hold together?

I gently form by hand

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I think hand forming is okay. Just keep your hands in ice water for 30 min before forming ;))

Trying to form burgers with two forks seems very awkward. Do they hold together?

I gently form by hand

 

I don't find it awkward at all to use two forks for shaping and the resulting patties look beautiful, both before and after cooking.  However the fork shaped patties hold together a bit better after resting than when cooked immediately after shaping.

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Anyhow, tonight's burger was too salty, and possibly too unctuous.  But it did not fall apart!  I could not eat it with ketchup because of all the salt, but on a roll just by itself it was pretty good.

 

Whatever else I would not want to mix in salt after grinding.  That would have been disgusting.

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