Thursday, July 09, 2009

Grinding Your Meat

Taking a cue from last Wednesday's NYT, I decided to juice up my burger-making skills. Usually, I buy a pound or so of the highest-fat ground beef I can find, but that's usually 15% at best, which doesn't make for the most succulent burger on the block. Stuffing cheese inside the burger can remedy--or at least cover up--the lack of flavorful, chin-smearing fat, but that has its own problems, like oral--or even facial--burns. And we all know how painful that can be.
Clearly, the juice had to come from fat, and the only way to get that fat is to buy a hunk of chuck, and ask the butcher for a good, fatty piece. Next step, using a sharp knife, cut the hunk into good-sized chunks, trashing any intractable bits of gristle and so forth. Freeze for half an hour or so--depends on the freezer. The meat should be firm but not stiff.
Toss the chunks into the food processor and process for 20 seconds or so. Scrape up from the bottom and process again. Do this until the meat is uniform and not overground. You are not making pate. Salt, salt, salt. Pulse to blend.
Gently form into equal-sized burgers...I got three to a pound and a quarter of beef. Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat until a drop of water cast upon its surface disappears instantly. If you like your burgers rare, get going with the accoutrements while the pan is heating. I sliced some tomatoes, Vidalia onion, and Swiss, then made an homage to BK's special sauce, which included pickle relish, ketchup, mayonnaise, and some Sriracha, aka rooster, sauce. Toast the buns. I recently discovered (at Key Food!) Big Marty's Potato Rolls (with sesame seeds), which are perfect burger rolls: sturdy enough to sop up the burgery juices without falling apart, and having a homey character of their own.
Char the burgers for about three minutes per side for rare. Ramp up the doneness from there, if you must. Assemble. If you don't feeling like tarting the burger up, that's fine. My leftover unadorned burger was delicious the next morning, topped only with a little Maldon sea salt. Nothing better than a naked burger in bed for breakfast. Most days.

Blog Archive

About Me

My Photo
I'm a ninth-generation Brooklyn native living in Manhattan.