How do you make your burgers?
Y'know, I laughed and appreciate the intent of ground tenderloin and duck fat. But tenderloin is tender as it is -- no need to grind it -- and it is far from the most flavorful beef. Duck fat is luxurious and flavorful, so it can flavor up the bland ground tenderloin, but it is much better utilized in flavoring and crisping the potatoes. Or for confit-ing the duckmeat. C'mon, a burger can be wonderful...but if you have a beautiful filet and some duck fat, you can create a much better meal.
Frequently I make "lamburgers", which for reasons unknown are more commonly available in Canadian restaurants and hardly at all stateside. I can get lean ground lamb for under $5/lb, which is a good value. I generously sprinkle Penzey's rosemary, garlic powder, and coarse pepper on the burgers. They require a minute longer to cook than beef. I serve them on a nest of Boston lettuce on a bun, sometimes with cheese- havarti or swiss works- and mint jelly instead of ketchup. Tasty alternative to beef burgers, and a nice taste of lamb without springing for the frenched rack.
I would say my burgers are unconventional at best. As many have said, fresh ground, 80/20ish, sirloin and chuck or just chuck, all good. Both of these methods make really MEATY tasting burgers.
I have two different routes for Burgering:
#1 Asian invasion:
1-2 lbs beef
handful of cilantro chopped fine
2-6 thai chilies (depending on taste)
a duck egg (chicken is really okay)
salt & pepper
a couple glugs of Olive Oil
2-4 tbs Oyster Sauce (the brand with the Thai Lady pouring something into a wok is the best)
Mix it all up, form patties (indent the middle so you don't get balls when grilling), cook it mid rare. Interestingly great with a good cheddar. Let them rest for 5 minutes. Slap on some Japanese Kewpie mayo and let it ride.
#2 American Dream
1 lb beef
1 lb bacon burger (ask your butcher to run some bacon into the grinder with your beef.)
handful of chopped onion
A lot of salt & pepper
A few tbs of oyster sauce
Same cooking method as above.
This is also killer with good cheddar, and a nice bbq sauce kills with it. Or just shoving it in your face because you're too impatient to wait for buns and stuff. Enjoy
The key to a good burger is to keep it simple. Everyone tries to fancy-up their burger with extra seasoning, sauces and internal garnish, but all this does is make the burger taste more like meatloaf. Don't get me wrong, I love a good meatloaf burger, or stuffed burger, but when I eat a burger I wanted to taste three things; Good Bread, High Quality Meat (lacking any tinny or vacum packaging flavor), and Good Cheese. So here is my suggestion....... Buy meat fresh from a butcher, not vacum-packed meat (preferably organic) with 80/20 beef to fat ratio. Next choose a high quality cheddar cheese. Lastly be sure to toast your bun and rub it with a thin layer of mayonaisse. As the burger bleeds juices, the fat in the mayo will keep them from absorbing into the toasty bun, thus avoiding a soggy burger.
Hope this helps!!!
I like brisket, single ground, with just salt and pepper. On the bbq, I usually do a 2-level method where I have one side of the grill very hot, and the other side empty (usually use a mixture of charcoal and hardwood). I first cook it over indirect heat with the grill closed until it gets to rare / medium-rare (my prefered doneness). Then I open the grill and move it over the very hot direct heat to quickly sear. This method works especially well when cooking for folks that like their burgers medium or more, because it gets them cooked evenly (rather than overcooking the outside and leaving the inside rare), avoids crumbly dry meat on the outside, and seems to result in an all-around juicier burger. also don't undersalt.
That is more or less what I did. I couldn't face supermarket ground beef so I went to a butcher and good some ground beef "not too lean". I don't know what the ratio was. I mixed with salt and pepper and a little bit of garlic powder, tabasco, and Worcestershire sauce. I sauteed them in butter (because I saw some burger place on tv do that and it stuck in my head) and they were absolutely delicious! I had trouble finding buns that didn't have high fructose corn syrup in them, but eventually I did. We put sharp cheddar on top and I will definitely make them again. Thanks for the responses everyone.
Is there anything better than really good burgers hot off the grill and served with all your favourite toppings?
Clearly this is a board with great burger makers. My only addition to the techniqe is that if you are using higher fat content, it helps to re-chill the burgers before putting them on the grill -- not so many grease flare-ups.
I like to think that I make great burgers and I have an almost-vegetarian friend who comes for my Canada Day bash every year and always says that she its one of her two meat splurges of the year (the other being Thanksgiving turkey and who can blame her). But I think as good as the patties are, the real secret is the tangy barbeque sauce, the carmelized onions, and sauteed mushrooms, all piled in homemade whole wheat buns.
This is making me a little sad as we had a big dump of snow yesterday and I feel like picnic season will never come.
A few ways:
ditto about buying and grinding meat and water addition
Lamb burgers - add chopped, sauteed spinach, little chunks of feta, little dried greek oregano, salt and pepper
Beef - Keg seasoning OR s and p, sometimes I add chopped carmelized onions for extra flavour (keeps them moist too); to add decadence, I put a flat piece of borgonzola or gorgonzola in the middle of the burger making sure it is encased in beef - a nice surprise
Chicken - Add bacon and and seasonings; ground thighs stay more moist
Grill ground lamb patties(spiced as for Greek sausage), chuck into half a pita w/ gyro fixin's! It's all Greek to me!
Funny, in reference to some of the above posts.
Ya know you live in New England(also read Minnesota etc.) when:
There is a grill season.
Dairy Queen is only open from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
You know what a frost heave is.
Lost a car in a pot hole.
Own a snow blower and a roof rake.
Will drive 75 mph in a blizzard.
Know what mud season is. etc., etc. etc.
Thanks for the inspiration, guys! Those sounded so good, last night I mixed ground turkey with dried sage, sauteed shallots and shredded apple, bread crumbs and an egg, grilled them, and topped them with homemade chunky cranberry sauce, brie and a thin smear of mayo. They were delish, and the red meat burger husband even had two - a big compliment.
I don't really do burgers... that is my dh's dept. Here are some really good things he does:
* grass-fed/-finished, antibiotic-free beef
* soak in cheapie balsamic with S&P for less than half an hour before cooking.
* sneak in slivers (razor-thin) of raw garlic all over the burger
* either cheese on buns or mayo + Dijon mustard mix
turkey meat, not the super lean crap.... some breadcrumbs, an eggyolk or 2, fresh chopped parsley, garlic (fresh) and onions to taste) diced or sliced jalapeños, and fresh grated cheddar....and pour some worchestershire sauce to keep it moist, salt pepper to taste.
Grilled, preferably. I usually get the 90/10 fat to feel virtuous since I eat burgers at least one time per week (every day if I had my druthers). Minimal patting, salt and pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, montreal steak seasoning all sprinkled on top. American or swiss cheese, sometimes bacon. Always tomato, onion, mayo, mustard, ketchup (i'm a condiment w*or*). Usually only have one, but it's against my will because I always want two, just can't fit it :)
I stopped buying pre-ground meat a long time ago. My go-to method is to buy a nice looking chuck roast. Preferably when on sale. I clean any non fat connective tissue and silver skin from the roast. This doesn't break done during the short cooking time and there is no reason for it to be there. I assume the lean to fat ratio is like 80/20 on average. I don't shy away from the fat in a burger. I hate lean dense burgers. If brisket is on sale I will often do a mix of chuck and brisket. Both chuck and brisket have similar fat ratios and both have good beefy flavors. I try to wash off the meat before grinding to get rid of oxidized surface proteins and well maybe reduce the surface bacteria count.
I use to use my KA grinder attachment but have switched to a stand alone electric grinder, a Tasin TS-108. Once through the medium plate is like twice through the KA.
The burgers are loosely formed, are 1/3 lb on average and about 3/4"-1" thick.
Grilled outside on the gas grill with some smoking wood or in a cast iron skillet if done indoors. I like mine medium to med-rare so they are reddish pink in the middle. These can be messy burgers so I don't dress them too much. The usual fare for the family like, lettuce, sliced dill pickles and tomatoes, mustard and ketchup. I take mine with mustard, a little pickle, a thin slice of sweet onion and a little lettuce or simply with a little mustard and nothing else except salt and pepper of course
I've done the cheese in the middle and while good the burgers are already very juicy and the cheese just makes it too much. Rather the cheese be on top for this type of burger.
I can go with a lot of different toppings as I'm not a purist. Avocado if I'm in the mood and the grocery store had ones that were actually ripe. Sprouts take me back to the 70s, where's that head band??
Recently did the slider thing and diced up onions and caramelized them. Made the burgers thin and square served on a small soft dinner roll with the caramelized onions. They were really good tasty little treats.
One thing I learned on this board, from Niki Rothman specifically, is to add water to the mix. I tried it and it really made a nice difference. Here's the link to her "Build a Better Burger" post:
So glad it's grilling season again!
mrsjenpeters and nosh are right: fresh ground is awesome. Try grinding your own beef at home in the food processor! I read this idea in The Best Recipe and thought it was crazy, but one day tried it with some boneless short ribs I had on hand and amazingly achieved just the “evenly chopped and fluffy” result the book promised with no unreasonable effort; patties shaped with a light hand were wonderfully smooth and juicy while still having that good old hamburger chew and yes, extra beefy flavor. Cut very cold chuck (TBR claims that your average not-too-fatty, not-too-lean roast will be about 20% fat) into 1-inch cubes, and process in 1/2-lb. batches with the steel blade using fifteen to twenty one-second pulses for each batch. I like to season with salt, pepper, and a little truffle oil, and grill over high heat to med rare.
Here is a trick to keep burgers from drawing up on the grill: when you make the patties (around 6 oz. of ground chuck), press a couple of knuckles into the middle of the patty. For some reason, it makes them grill flatter. Sea or kosher salt before cooking and coarse ground pepper afterwards. Toast the buns....Duke's mayo, yellow mustard, ketchup, thinly sliced onion, slice of lettuce and tomato and you are done.
Do NOT buy prepackaged or preground beef. Any reputable butcher, from a highend shop to a supermarket counter, will take a chuck roast and grind it for you free of additional charge. I ask for a single grind rather than the standard double grind. If the chuck that looks best and is priced most reasonably is not boneless, I ask for the bones back so I can freeze them and later use them for stock. (Chuck comes easily off of a seven-bone with little or no waste or effort.) If a chuck is unavailable, I'll go with brisket -- round steak and sirloin cuts don't give the proper fat or flavor. Getting your beef freshly ground this way makes an enormous difference, and unless the store's ground beef is particularly lowgrade or on super sale, it is usually equally or less expensive. When forming patties, handle them as lightly and little as possible to leave room for the juices to accumulate rather than running out, and never ever ever do the cool-looking but juice-destroying move of pressing down on top with the spatula.
we do burgers a lot and did burgers last night actually. we like to make all sorts of different ones... last night we did chipotle burgers. my husband had made some chipotle pesto, so he mixed that in with some 85/15 and did them on the cast iron griddle. yum.
one of my other favorites, i did smoked paprika burgers. turned out very well.
i'm a big fan of your standard messy burger - simply seasoned with s&p, topped w/ mustard, mayo, red onion, lettuce, tomato, and cheese.
we prefer to use 85/15 but when not available, 80/20 will do. we once ground our own chuck and THAT was the BEST - so much fresher and beef-ier tasting.
A couple of weeks ago mrs jfood visited her mom. Jfood solo on a sunday night. Perfect for some burgers:
- good ground chuck 80/20
- a little water
- a little Montreal Seasoning
- some S&P
- patties made to 3/pound. Jfood's store sells in pounders so he gets three patties.
- into the fridge
- Slice a nice sized sweet onion and slowly caramelize (takes about 30 minutes if done slowly so the sugars really come out
- Make 6 slices of bacon
- When onions are about 5 minutes from completion throw the burgers on a hot BBQ and cook over high until Med-Rare
- While they are grilling slice 2 of you favorite rolls, schmear a little butter on them and place on the grill for some color
- Remove the buns and place one slice of cheese on each side (4 slices in total).
- When the burgers are done, remove and place on a plate to rest for a few minutes.
- Place the rolls halfs with the cheese on top on the grill (jfood uses gas weber so he places on the swinging bread thingy, turns off and closes the lid). Cheese will melt in a few minutes
Build the burgers
- Take the bottom half, layer onions, then the bacon, then the burger, then some tomato/lettuce, then ketchup then top half.
Eat the two burgers and smile
BTW - the third burger gets chopped and given to the dog.
Mine are very similar to yours (though living in an apartment, I have to cleverly use a hot grill pan and hot oven. But I love blue cheese with onions, and I love blue cheese with meat, so once my onions are caramelized (often deglazed with a bit of wine if I feel like it), I melt in a bit of blue cheese. Not enough to overwhelm, just for creaminess and tang.
Also, I have found that the roll is so important. I love it a bit sweet. If you're going to warm it up, consider brushing it with a bit of melted butter.
Only differences in mine are that onions are wedge-sliced thin, and instead of Montreal seasoning, I use a mix of garlic powder, mustard powder, chopped fresh parsley, sea salt, black pepper and pimenton, and the addition, after turning, of a slice(or as close as I can manage to that) of blue cheese or sometimes brie. Dietary considerations usually cause me to have to forego the bacon, but not for lack of desire. The best bun, IMO, is a sweet egg bun with onions on top.
consistent is the word. i try to use the same meat/fat ratio, the exact same-size patties and the same seasoning (sea salt and pepper) every time. this allows me to dial in the right heat so the outside is a bit crusty and the inside more rare than medium rare. the end result is a juicy burger that tastes of meat. cheese is good. roll selection is important.
I'm actually very simple when it comes to burgers -- just salt and pepper for me. But I've been toying with this idea of making a Korean bulgogi burger -- bulgogi seasoning like soy, sugar, scallions, garlic, pepper mixed with ground meat and topped with ssam-jang (or you can just use miso mixed with a bit of rice wine, onions, ginger, etc.)
re: Miss Needle
Unfortunatley, I've never made this nor I use a specific reipce when I make bulgogi. I would try to find a bulgogi recipe on the net (Hannaone on member recipes may have one) cut down on the marinade proportions to the meat. I'm thinking that the ground meat will soak up the seasonings more, so you need less seasoning.
Just saw this thread. This is one version of bulgogi. For hamburger I often use the marinade as seasoning - about three or four tablespoons of the marinade per pound.
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/2 pound lean beef (Rib eye, Flank Steak, Tenderloin, or your favorite cut)
3/4 cup natural brewed soy sauce
3/4 cup unsalted beef broth or water
1 small onion
1 small Nashi (Asian) pear or semi sweet apple
6 cloves garlic
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, or honey
3 spring/green onion
2 teaspoons pure toasted sesame seed oil
1 tablespoon rice wine
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cut onion, pear/apple, and ginger into small pieces and place in blender with garlic and just enough water to blend into a smooth liquid.
Pour into medium mixing bowl.
Trim root and top 1/8 inch of green onion, rinse in cold water, and finely chop. Add to bowl.
Add all other ingredients. Mix well and let stand for at least fifteen minutes.
Note: If marinade is very thick, you can thin it by adding water and soy sauce in a 1 to 1 ratio.
Hand trim any outer fat from your cut.
Freeze meat until stiff to help in slicing.
Slice meat very thinly (slightly thicker than deli sliced meats)
Very lightly salt each slice on both sides and let stand for ten minutes.
Place meat into a bowl, pour in enough marinade to just cover the meat and mix well. (Any leftover marinade may be refrigerated for later use)
Cover and place in refrigerator. Let meat stand in marinade for at least one hour.
Meat may now be placed in zip lock style bags and frozen for later use or cooked.
Grill: Heat grill on high heat. Grill until browned on both sides (10 to 20 seconds)
Stir Fry: Heat wok or stir fry pan to high heat, add meat, (you may add other vegetable like sliced carrot, onion, and separated broccoli crowns at this point) and stir fry until well browned.
Serve with steamed white rice and ban chan.