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Making the Best Hamburger


tommy
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Thanks to everyone who helped me out with advice. I made the burgers last night and fried one up for a test. Best burger I've ever had. Coarsest grind my Cuisinart mixer could produce using chuck and flank steak, with bone marrow for some extra fat. 0.75% salt, 0.25% pepper. They barely held together while cooking, but the coarse grind gave them a nice bite, and the meat developed a really nice crust.

I just wish the sausages I made had turned out as well.

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TK: if you grind your own, try aging the meat for a few days in the refrig first. I do this with sirloin tips (flap) and then grind and they are stunning.

very good idea on the marrow. Ill add that to my ToDo list!

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TK: if you grind your own, try aging the meat for a few days in the refrig first. I do this with sirloin tips (flap) and then grind and they are stunning.

very good idea on the marrow. Ill add that to my ToDo list!

Rotuts.. I stumbled up your idea.. by accident one day , when I had left a package of beef in the refrigerator.. the beef was brown and funky smelling.. rapid aging I recalled!! Definitely not bad.. good idea here!!

Cheers Paully

Its good to have Morels

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TK: if you grind your own, try aging the meat for a few days in the refrig first. I do this with sirloin tips (flap) and then grind and they are stunning.

very good idea on the marrow. Ill add that to my ToDo list!

Interesting idea. Could this cause any bacterial problems for anyone used to eating their burgers medium, or is this just analogous to eating a piece of aged meat?

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well I do it all the time. the meat I use I do not touch, leave in the package and its 'fresh' that day in the store. some wrap the meat in cheese cloth and put it on a stainless steel rack in a cold area of the refrig. you would have to look in the sections on aging meat which there are good ones here.

Id never do this with discounted meat etc. wash your hands etc etc

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this had gotten me thinking about 'age' and 'tender' i recall a ref from nathan that i took a snap of: 1 jan 2011:

holding meat at 40c - 50c (45C best) for up to 4 hours is within food safety guidelines and has a significant tenderizing effect

i wonder if this would be appropriate to try for your 'days grilling' just before the grind and grill (in a SV pouch)

then again: is 'tender' = 'flavor' ??

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I was starting to get worried that I won't have enough burgers for my bbq this weekend, especially if my fear about the sausages not turning out comes true, so I made some more hamburger patties. Half of them got stuffed with St. Agur blue, and the other half with a 5yr cheddar. With the really beefy flavour of these burgers, the ones stuffed with the blue cheese are especially tasty.

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I know little about burger making but I've seen and read more than once that an excellent way of forming burger meat is when grinding your own to lay the meat strands on cling film, salt and wrap tightly to form a cylinder. Chill to firm up and then slice, hope this is helpful.

About 10.00 mins in.

*http://vimeo.com/28030554

Edited by antdad (log)
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  • 2 weeks later...

"bone marrow"

i nominate you for the 2012 Nobel Prize in Hamburger. Really an outstanding idea,

lol...well it was certainly tasty and made for a nice juicy burger. Gummed up my grinder when I didn't freeze them first though. The marrow came out looking more like Dairy Queen soft serve and I had to mix it into the meat a little more than I would have liked.

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I made burgers last night and they were possibly the best I've ever eaten. I used a ratio of 3 Chuck eye to 1 Hanger steak. Ground it with a coarse die then small die while almost frozen. Handled the beef very gently forming patties of 6oz each and salted and peppered just before putting them on the grill. I had a VERY hot fire on one side of my kettle grill and after a good sear moved them off heat to finish coming to mid-rare.

Those were truly elevated burgers my wife said they were the best I had ever made!

Thanks Paul Rapheal for the proportions. I need to try heartsurgeon's blend so I can compare.

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They barely held together while cooking, but the coarse grind gave them a nice bite, and the meat developed a really nice crust.

Consider grinding and forming the patties the night before. Mixing the meat well and allowing it to rest overnight allows the proteins to do their thing and stick together better. In the case of hamburgers, freshest is not necessarily the best.

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Saw a cool idea on tv yesterday!! as you grind your burger, keep all the rope strands of meat in a line, layer them together into the thickness of a patty-- he had a grinder the actually extruded the meat thicker ( 4" or 6" ). he then basically wrapped all the built of strands in plastic wrap, then slightly froze it and then cut out the burgers, without compressing the meat into patties.

Hope this makes sense: it seems to hold well together!!

Cheers

Edited by Paul Bacino (log)

Its good to have Morels

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After eating a terrible burger the other day I've been thinking on this one. The patty, the texture was very much akin to sausage. And I'm not talking about some gourmet, coarse ground pure pork sausage here. I'm talking about the mystery meat type of sausage. Really cheap. Really nasty. I should've known, should've foreseen bad things coming, when the burger was marketed as being made from 10000% lean beef or something absurd. Fat, of course, is an important part of keeping the patty juicy. I admit to not going all out, Heston's perfect burger-style, and carefully lining up the strands of meat as they emerge from the mincer. I know why he does it but I'm usually more inclined, because my mincer is hand-cranked, I guess, and not very good--to just ask the butcher to freshly mince a piece of chuck for me. In fact, if you can't/don't want to go to the effort of buying skirt, chuck and ... the other cut he uses (shin? rump?) then that's the road I recommend. If you wanted to make an especially large batch of burgers, and usually I'm just cooking for two and have limited freezer space, so I don't, then maybe you could go a 50:50 blend of skirt and chuck. But I find that freshly minced meat binds better (without the use of eggs, etc) and, for some reason that someone can probably explain, tastes better. And while, to some extent, you need to work the meat to blend the salt in and shape it, keep this to a minimum--otherwise you end up with sausage. And that's just a sad story. I'd also be wary of adding too much seasoning (exc salt, of course) to the patty, as I feel to some extent a strong pepperiness in the meat itself can accentuate the sausage-like qualities of your patty.

Edited by ChrisTaylor (log)

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Although I normally don't particularly like hamburgers, I had such a good one (bacon blue cheese burger) at a grill in Santa Fe that I decided to try the recipe in Modernist Cuisine, and hang the expense.

I bought 2 lbs of short rib meat, 2 lbs of bison rib-eye (Whole Foods didn't have any aged rib-eye) and 1.5 lb of hanger -- $75 for hamburgers!. I chilled them in the freezer for an hour after bringing them home, then cut them into 1" cubes.

I chilled my Kitchen Aid grinder with some liquid nitrogen, then started grinding. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a half cylinder mold, so I decided to improvise. I laid out some plastic wrap on top of a Silpat mat, and started grinding, using a 14/" aperture plate. I alternated the various cubes fo meat, soit would be mixed. But unlike the MC recipe, instead of coming out in nice strips that I could lay down lengthwise, this just made little bits or balls of meat, which I spread out as best I good, with minimal handling.

I rolled up the Silpat/plastic into a cylinder about 3" in diameter, then wrapped the plastic around in and tightened up the edges. I made two of those rolls, and chilled one and froze the other. After chilling, I cut the roll, including the plastic, into about 1-1/4" thick patties.

The MC recipe said not to vacuum seal the patties, but I tried sealing three patties with my chamber vacuum, first at 50% ( too much air -- it floated too much), and then 70%, which seemed about right.

MC said 30 minutes would be enough, but I used Sous Vide Dash and came up with 47 minutes for that thickness, at 52C.

I then removed the plastic wrap around the edges, and dipped the patties in liquid nitrogen for 30 seconds, then into the deep fat fryer for a minute at the maximum setting of 375F.

I then slapped those on Whole Foods Seeduction buns that had been previously prepared with blue cheese, tomato slice, and an onion slice.

The results were disappointing, frankly, especially considering the time and expense.

The patties seemed a bit overdone, and not particularly juicy. Maybe I went overboard in trimming out the fat, and by using the very lean bison rib-eye. Next time I'll use more fat, or perhaps heart surgeon's suggestion of some butter.

The second problem was that my Krups electric deep fat fryer won't go any higher than 375F, whereas the recipe called for 450F. I may buy a second fryer and void the warranty by adjusting or defeating the upper temperature limit. I had one that I had done that to, and stupidly gave it away with I bought the Krups.

Anyway, I think 350F is a bit low, and a minute a bit too long. Next time I'll try 30 seconds,

And finally, the buns and the blue cheese were cold, and the blue cheese didn't melt. Next time I'll pop those in the oven briefly, just to warm them up a bit.

And to add insult to injury, I forgot to cook the french fries twice, once at a lower temperate, and once at a higher temp, and as a result they were rather limp. Again, I don't think the oil was hot enough.

Anyone else gone through all of this, with better results? I've still got five patties, plus the frozen log to try again.

Any other ideas?

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Robert, I went part of the way towards the MC "ultimate mushroom swiss burger": meat grinding here, finished burger here. As you suggest, I think your using bison was a mistake, it is far too lean. Secondly, you seem to imply that you trimmed some of the fat from the other cuts, which I think was also a mistake (if you did in fact do so). Fat is critical for burgers, you really shouldn't be removing any from those cuts.

For my MC burger I wound up searing mine over high heat rather than deep-frying it: if you want to do a high-temp deep fry I'd suggest forgetting about using a commercial deep fryer and just using a pot on the stove.

Finally, both toasting your bun and giving the cheese some time on the hot patty are both important, although blue cheese is never going to melt like these reconstructed modernist slices from the book.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Chris, glad to see your post.

Regarding the lining up of the strands (I didn't have any strands), what size grinding aperture disk were you using?m Is there any reason to think that the KitchenAid grinder wouldn't do as good a job as a dedicated unit like yours?

Would more fat have held the strands together better, do you think?

Maybe I'll run the meat through the grinder again, and add some fat, or maybe butter. Or maybe bacon grease?

And yes, I should have made the patties bigger -- they were more like sliders.

Hatch green chiles are in season now in Santa Fe. Although my wife can't handle spicy foods, maybe I'll try making some green chile burgers.

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Robert - in my experience the key to keeping the strands distinct is temperature and blade sharpness. You want to meat cold but not too cold, and you have to make sure your grinder blades are sharp. The dedicated grinder helps a lot, but I've gotten decent results from the KitchenAid attachment too. I don't think more fat would have caused the strands to hold together much better, but maybe a little. All told I'm still not convinced that lining up the strands is worth the effort. The texture is marginally superior to unaligned, but it's quite a bit of trouble to go through.

The problem with adding a pre-rendered fat like bacon grease is that it behaves quite differently from fat that is still embedded in tissue: you can add rendered fats up to a point, but they start to feel greasy rather than juicy if you add too much. One thing you might try is adding ground bacon or pork belly: that will get your fat content up in a hurry.

Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Had hamburgers tonight. Freshly minced chuck jacked with some bone marrow, a fair amount of salt, pepper and a tiny sprinkle of cayenne pepper. Froze them for about a half hour before cooking, which seemed to help hold them together. The bone marrow idea is excellent.

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Glad you liked the bone marrow. I made another batch a couple days ago grinding up bacon as the extra fat. It was certainly good, but was lacking in the great beefy flavour of the previous batch. Something else I've been noticing... When I cook from completely frozen the burgers end up feeling denser and tougher than when I thaw to room temperature first. Thawed to room temp they didn't hold together quite as well, but were almost as good as fresh from the grinder. Do I need to moderate my temperature if cooking from frozen?

So far I've just been passing the meat once through the coarse die of my grinder and it ends up coming out almost like small chunks of steak. Good, but not what I'm used to in a burger and I haven't decided yet if I prefer it like this. Some people pass through the coarse die once and then through the medium die. What would the difference be between this and just going with the medium die on the first (and only) pass?

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  • 4 weeks later...

Tried another method: roughly equal parts short rib, chuck and skirt steak minced (coarsely) by the butcher. Obviously I wasn't going to ask the butcher to carefully shape the mince into a log, Blumenthalstyle. I simply salted the mince and worked it as little as possible. I made a large batch and then portioned them into lots of three. There are maybe six nights worth of burgers in vac packs sitting in the freezer. I think it's very good--I really like the texture and flavour--but it'd be better with some bone marrow. And maybe dripping in place of oil (I was cooking in a frypan).

Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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