Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Hambugers, how do you do yours?


Recommended Posts

While reading the article, Hamburger Rules by Coleman Andrews, Saveur article I certainly thought of the number of hamburgers that were cooked on Labor Day and any given day here in the US. With the vast array of possible methods of preparing and topping a hamburger I want to find out what's your favorite way to make a burger.

In preparing my burgers I always grind my meat at home using beef chuck roast primarily. Sometimes I like a combination of chuck/brisket. This gives me a 80/20 to 70/30 ratio of lean to fat which is essential to a good burger in my book. I like to use around 1/3 lb of meat per burger so these aren't little by any means. I usually cook them on the outside grill but cooked inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan works very well for me. I prefer mine pink in the middle. I have become fond of doing stuffed burgers recently. Stuffing with a blue type cheese, goat or fontina is decadent. I have yet to try a foie gras stuffed burger since there is little chance of finding foie locally. I like mine topped with the usual catsup, mustard, tomato and pickle but at times like some spice like chipotle in adobo or other peppers to give it some real kick but not so much that it takes away the flavor of the burger itself. I usually surround my burger in a large soft bun that has been toasted lightly. To me the best is having juice squirt out of the burger on first bite. This doesn't happen with 90/10 lean meat.

So how do you do yours?

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

About 1/3 pound of 80% lean beef. (I don't like mammoth-sized burgers, and if I really wanted 2/3 of a pound of beef I'll have two burgers: huge burgers are like huge creme eggs, the crust-to-interior ratio is off.) Chili-grind/coarse-grind if possible, though I haven't had any luck with that since moving. Cooked on hot cast iron so that it's well-seared, with a real crust to give it texture. I don't like grilling particularly, and I don't like cooking outdoors -- and above all else, I like having hamburgers more frequently than I have an hour free to make lunch.

I cook it to what I consider medium to medium-rare -- still pink, specifics depending on the size of the burger and how long I let the pan heat up -- and let it rest a few minutes.

Any kind of roll will do, really -- I used to have preferences, but the very different bread selection of New England, Indiana, and Louisiana eroded those.

Ketchup or Heinz 57, hot sauce (Louisiana brand, Crystal, or Tabasco) or habanero relish, sometimes a pat of butter or a schmear of foie gras conserve. Pimento cheese, Cheddar, or Muenster if it's a cheeseburger -- but as much as anything else that's because those are the cheeses I'm most likely to have in the house, other than mozzarella; plenty of other cheeses are good too. Sometimes I add about half a small can of Old El Paso chopped green chiles, in which case I leave off the hot sauce.

The butter, I started using sometime after a hamburger show on TV -- I don't use nearly as much as they did at the place (in Madison?) they showed, but boy, if you use butter and Louisiana hot sauce, it's just fantastic. That would probably be my default hamburger if it weren't so prohibitively caloric. The foie gras has a similar effect -- this conserve is made with bourbon and smoked pork jowl, so it's very burger-friendly.

Man, I want a burger now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I like my hamburger to be a fatty mix, too. I really like a ground brisket cut, sometimes I mix it with stew meat, ground twice. I like it best with a touch of coarse salt or some balsamic vinegar. But, wow, even a 1/3 pound burger is too big for me! I make about 6 to the pound. I eat my burger raw. In public,or around guests, I like them rare, charred on the outside, bloody in the middle. I also like to add an onion or two to the grind. That makes such a delicious, juicy and aromatic burger, to me.

More Than Salt

Visit Our Cape Coop Blog

Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma

Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cumin, roasted and ground. Onions, caramelized and minced (this is particularly good for burgers done beyond medium-well, since it is impossible to dry up this way). Toasted bun, brushed with a garlic and rosemary-infused oil.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hot cast iron skillet, 20% fat content and ecoli free ground sirloin, quarter to third of a pound patty, fried rare to medium rare, lettuce, slice of vine ripened tomato, slice of sharp raw onion on toasted Metropolitan Bakery whole grain whole wheat bread. Possible slice of very aged cheddar.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

Twitter

Link to post
Share on other sites

Everything I know about hamburgers I learned from Paul Newman. In some long-ago article he told me:

1)Meat no leaner than 80/20 ground chuck. I actully prefer the 70/30 "ground beef" with the telltale pale pink color.

2)Form the patties lightly -- don't press away that crinkly curly surface.

3) Rub each side with a quarter teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce, as well as salt and pepper.

4) I prefer my burgers fried in a cast iron skillet, medium rare. Dijon mustard, a splat of ketchup, some lightly pickled onion slices, and a sprinkle of gorgonzola.

5) I don't like a big bready presence in a burger -- cheapo soft supermarket buns, lightly toasted and squashed are fine by me.

Edited to add: What was I thinking? A couple of slices of bacon, please.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

Link to post
Share on other sites

Friend and I have been pondering the subject for a few weeks...one of the big questions is what kind of bun....the ones I have seen are with fat added in the form of eggs and a bit of milk to soften...wonder what the concensus is on them.

I use the fattest non chain grocery store hamburger.(I swear the chains add water to their meat.) I have a restaurant type grill with a heavy cast iron grate, and I heat it till the grate is 700ºplus then sear the patties so they are crusty outside and pink inside...

I have been experiementing with a light coating of a "rub" concoction on the faces...best so far seems to be, salt, paprika, garlic powder onion powder and a bit of ground celery seed.

Will watch this thread with interest...

Bud

Link to post
Share on other sites

I make my fresh ground hamburger meat from a 1:1:1 ratio of Prime Chuck (minus the gristle, tendon and other objectionable stuff), Lean Sirloin and Black Angus Tenderloin Strap.

I gave up using L&P Worcestershire, since the formula has changed and it no longer tastes like it has for the last 50 years of my life. It's sweeter and lacks zip. There's a whole thread on this recent development, which I think took place on either egullet or cheftalk.com/forums/

I make my own buns using a typical bread recipe in which I incorporate an extra TBSP of honey and one egg. I bake these at 550F on a pizza stone after using an egg wash on the formed dough balls.

Very happy with the smell of them cooking and the resultant taste, using only S&P.

ON the buns, I make them the way they did when I was growing up in the Quad Cities at the Happy Hollow Bar. Sear on one side first, then turn down the griddle and slowly cook to done. Layer coarse ground German mustard and a thick slice of Bermuda onion on the bottom of the bun. Then the cooked burger patty, then sweet pickle relish, dill pickles and catsup on the top bun.

Ummmmm!

doc

Link to post
Share on other sites
Peanut Butter Burgers :biggrin: For these I always use ground sirloin and grill. I also make a burger with cognac and djion and for those I use a combination of lean and regular ground beef. I alway get my buns from the bakery around the corner, where they make kaisers daily. There's not too much bread and lightly toasted, they are perfect with burgers. I prefer cheese and bacon on my burgers and although I've experiemented with real cheddar, sometimes plastic cheese is just the right way to go on burgers. :rolleyes:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been doing a lot of sliders recently.. I love the little Martin Dinner Rolls.. I throw down a whole bunch of onions on the cast iron in bacon grease.. I take a mixture similiar to Holly's of ground sirloin with a decent fat content and a ton of black pepper.. After having shaped the mini patties into little squares, I toss them on the hot oniony cast iron. Cheese is a must, whatever is in the fridge.. From Blue, Goat, to Chedder, I am a happy man.. Ketchup and mustard..

Link to post
Share on other sites

I grind, or have ground, chuck and season it with just kosher salt, fresh pepper and maybe some cumin or granulated garlic. I've always heard that those Lipton soup packs are great, but have never tried it. I cook them to about medium (for me that is, the better half likes her's damn near burned), usually in cast iron or on my big electric griddle.

I usually use a "better" store brand bun (Mrs. Baird's) that is toasted and keep the condiments simple: mustard, little bit of mayo, leaf lettuce, thinly sliced red onions and the oh-so-important dill pickles.

On occasion I'll add some sliced jalapeños, shredded sharp cheddar and applewood smoked bacon to a pepper crusted patty. I've also made one of those "bloomin' onions" and put the "petals" on that burger, which is nice. It's similar to a burger you can get a Chili's, but a helluva lot better when done at home.

Edited by Grovite (log)

Gear nerd and hash slinger

Link to post
Share on other sites

I love love love ham/cheeseburgers.

Like many of you, I prefer a 80/20 ratio...often times I just grab chuck, as I know that will be plenty fatty to provide the much desired JUICY burger. A while back (maybe 2 years ago, or so...) I choose 90/10, at times even surcoming to 95/5 ratio of beef-fat...I was trying to eat Healthy burgers I guess...thinking if I ate leaner ones I could eat even more!!! I'll tell you what...don't go there...no juices, no real flavor...ICK. Now I go with the "hey, you might as well live", motto... I would rather eat as I wish (full fat cheeses vs low fat, tasteless cheese, fattier cuts of meats, normal yogurt vs. NO-fat yogurt...etc

So, back to the subject at heart...as I was saying: 80/20 ratio. I broil them if I am ina pinch, but I do love grilling them outside if the weather cooroperates! I like mine with cheese, when given the option(which means 99% of the time cheese is a must). I like to top with iceburg lettuce (for that nice crunch), pickle spears (the sandwhich slices are great cause they are thin - and meant for topping sandwhiches and the like, katchup, a lil mustard, plenty of mayonoise (not miracle whip, unless that's all thats available), and sometimes a few slices of onion...MMMM now that's a burger!

Ah, almost forgot to note, like my burgers anywhere between 1/3pd and 1/4 pd...1/4 if I have a really flimsy bun. I like kaiser rolls for my burgers...when given the options. If not, any will do...the meats the star here...

"One Hundred Years From Now It Will Not Matter What My Bank Account Was, What Kind of House I lived in, or What Kind of Car I Drove, But the World May Be A Better Place Because I Was Important in the Life of A Child."

LIFES PHILOSOPHY: Love, Live, Laugh

hmmm - as it appears if you are eating good food with the ones you love you will be living life to its fullest, surely laughing and smiling throughout!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can usually take or leave a burger, but I do love Henry's mini spicy lamb burgers. He uses garlic salt, onion powder, cumin, curry, chili garlic sauce, pepper, sriracha and cayenne and doesn't overmix so the meat becomes tough or dry. The patties are formed nice and thick, and grilled until they're still pink in the middle. Then he tops them with bacon, mayo, avocado, grilled onions, aged cheddar (put on the patty while it's cooking), grainy mustard, lettuce, and tomato (or tomato confit--I don't like commercial ketchup, and have yet to make my own.)

I'm a huge fan of artisinal breads, but I do think the best burgers are put on squishy soft rolls so the focus is on the meat. And because this burger is spicy, Henry uses these mini King's Hawaiian sweet rolls and the slight sweetness is a perfect counterpoint to the heat. :wub:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Typically, I cook (or order) large 1/3-1/2 pound burgers, medium rare, topped with bleu cheese or Stilton, occasionally with bacon for a real splurge. When grilling, it's usually kosher salt, a few grinds of black pepper, and a dash of garlic powder. In terms, of toppings or condiments - too much of anything hides the meat and cheese flavors I crave. Sometimes nothing but the meat and cheese in a roll, occasionally a good slice of tomato or onion, maybe a dill slice.

One oddball burger I enjoy occasionally is the Bonzai Burger at Red Robin - teriyaki, grilled pineapple, cheddar cheese - medium rare with a mai tai... mouthgasms!

Sitting on the fence between gourmet and gourmand, I am probably leaning to the right...

Lyle P.

Redwood City, CA

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a lot of the advice in this thread--80/20 beef, smoking-hot cast-iron skillet, mix the meat gently, use salt. I always add brunoised onion, worcestershire sauce, and a little egg yolk to mine. But I'd like to take them to the next level--find out what makes the difference with those truly superior burgers I've had in restaurants. I don't own a meat grinder, but I do have a Cuisinart. Can you grind your own meat in a Cuiz? What cuts are best? Don't 70/30 burgers shrink a lot when cooked? (80/20s seem to...) I often eat my burgers without a bun on a bed of shredded lettuce, so the flavor of the burger itself is paramount.

I've never made Dave the Cook's worcestershire, but I've tasted it and I wonder if homemade worcestershire sauce makes a big impact. Yesterday I threw a little leftover A1 I had lurking in the fridge into the mix and it was pretty good, but lacked the anchovy zip of worcestershire.

Does grinding the onion with the meat make a big difference? I kinda like the confetti of onion bits in my very onion-y burgers, but since I am buying supermarket ground beef I am stuck with having to work the meat a fair amount to get the onions mixed in well. I think my burgers suffer for this.

Do you put a hole in the center of your burger? I do sometimes, and it results in more even cooking.

Burger Cook-Off thread for more burger love

Link to post
Share on other sites

Rochelle, check out this snippet of a conversation with Danny Meyers of Blue Smoke in NYC. I have tried a mix like he suggested, and it was wonderful.

But, most often what I do is have my local meat guy grind up a chuck roast for me simply because it's easier than finding a mess of different cuts.

I have ground it in the Cuiz, but be careful so you don't end up with paste. The KA meatgrinder attachment is another option, but since the meat man at my local supermarket loves me (I ply him with smoked meat), it's just plain easier. And, I don't add anything to them, and I do the hole in the middle -- it seems like otherwise, they shrink in diameter and puff up and I end up with more of a ball-shaped burger.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
Link to post
Share on other sites

Now there's an idea. I have a country butcher nearby who grinds his own meat anyway--I bet he'd be willing to grind a cut of my choice, or even a few cuts together.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Now there's an idea. I have a country butcher nearby who grinds his own meat anyway--I bet he'd be willing to grind a cut of my choice, or even a few cuts together.

Careful Malawry!! Those grinders they use are huge, even in little meat markets. I used to have the local butcher (many many years ago) grind select steaks. I found out from a friend sometime later that worked there that they feed the grinder a bunch of their own leftovers to get "your" steak grind out of the grinder. And one time I was so shocked at how little bit of ground meat I got from several steaks that I made a note of the total weight of the steaks I gave him right there on the premises, and then I took the small package of ground meat he gave me back and put it on my triple beam balance at home. THere was only about 1/3 of the total weight left from what I had purchased as steaks.

Of course, the butcher never informed me. He has since gone out of business! Yeah!

So I use the KA grinder attachment and it works really well. Been doing this myself now since 1990.

doc

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use a recipe that was in the NYT a few years ago called Barista Burgers which you can Google for the exact recipe. The ingredients include onion, garlic, soy sauce, honey, ginger and some other items. I've gotten nothing but rave reviews when I've served them to guests.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I use my KA grinder attachment as well. It doesn't do as nice of a job as a commercial grinder but it works. I have asked the butcher at the grocery store to grind my meat if I just don't have time. The guy at Publix uses a smaller grinder than the monster one next to it for custom grinding. I appreciate that but still know the first meat out of the grinder is not mine. I need to get a better grinder with a wider finer die for home use.

Back to the burger issue. I get the best texture for my burgers when the meat is right from the grinder so it's still a little loose and hand form the burger gently.

Edited by scubadoo97 (log)
Link to post
Share on other sites

The grade of beef greatly influences the final product. We use Choice or better, chuck preferably. Round is just too lean and better for 'cannibal' sandwiches which used to be popular in Wisconsin.

I mold the burger around a nice piece of unsalted butter rather than adding on top at the end of cooking in the bun as most good Wisconsin places do.

Grilling over hardwood chunk charcoal is the best in terms of flavor.

When I take Prime tenderloins apart, thier is always enough scrapings left to make a couple of burgers. Wrapped around the butter pat, these are the BEST I have ever tasted. -Dick

Link to post
Share on other sites

unfortunately, I don't grind my own meat. that's just too fancy for me.

I use 80/20 or 75/25 ground chuck and I season it with kosher salt and lots of ground black pepper, then I loosely form it into 2 patties. I take the 2 patties and insert about a tablespoon of room temp, unsalted, butter in the middle and then form the 2 patties around it.

Grill on cast iron griddle, top with buttered roll, and eat with ketchup.

BEARS, BEETS, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...