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Need great tasting american hamburger recipe

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Ramius Oct 2, 2010 05:11 PM

I´ve started making burgers from scratch. I use the finest ground meat, but the ingredients I put in, don´t do much for enhancing the flavour. Dare I say they become kinda tastless.

I´ve experimented a bit with Gordon Ramsays recipe, but I got a feeling it´s not quite authentic. In this recipe, theres ketchup, dijon, worchestershire sauce, a red onion, egg yolks and salt and pepper.

But I wonder how do you americans do it in your own homes? When you want to beat the restaurants and create the perfect burger?

Hamburgers is an american dish, and since theres alot of americans on this board, I think its the best place to ask. Can you teach me how to make burgers?

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  1. l
    LauraGrace Oct 2, 2010 05:35 PM

    I put NOTHING in burgers. I've noticed that a lot of Aussie and British recipes have you working all sorts of filler/flavoring ingredients in, from bread crumbs to shredded veggies. That, to my mind, makes it a lot closer to meatloaf than hamburgers. And I love good meatloaf, but not when I want a burger!

    The key is to start with good meat that's not too lean (around 15% fat is about right, IMO), keep it cool, and handle it as little as possible. Make the patties larger and thinner than you think you should -- they'll shrink as they cook and you don't want a big round meatball! Salt and pepper the outside of the burgers about 30 minutes before they go on the fire, then cook as briefly as you can, turning only once. I think a burger much beyond medium is a crime against beef!

    Good meat needs little adornment, and too much fussing just makes for weird-tasting, tough burgers.

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    1. re: LauraGrace
      c oliver Oct 3, 2010 01:17 PM

      I do exactly the same.

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    2. g
      gilintx Oct 2, 2010 05:49 PM

      I don't go beyond salt and pepper, usually. Perhaps a little bit of dried mustard. Beyond that, I think you get into the meatloaf territory as LauraGrace describes. Don't pack the patty, and don't press them while you griddle (griddled is much better than grilled in this instance). A golf ball sized divot in the top of the patty will prevent curling. Otherwise, what LauraGrace says.

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      1. Becca Porter Oct 2, 2010 06:35 PM

        http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

        Or look up CI's version of the Shake Shack burger, it was created by the same guy as the one above. He is a genius!

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        1. re: Becca Porter
          amokscience Oct 2, 2010 09:45 PM

          I'm a Burger Lab fan as well. You should read all of Kenji's Burger Lab posts. Burgers come in a variety of styles (slider, thin, thick, turkey, etc.) and he does a good job explaining what effects he's chasing after and how to duplicate them. Once you get all that understood then figure out what style you like and tweak to your taste.

          Personally, I think the majority of hamburger recipes are underseasoned (which explains ketchup on burgers). Some people push 'let the meat do the talking' but I can't get past a few bites of that before being beefed out. Don't mess around with anything more than basic toppings (cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo/mustard) until you get the basics down. Enough addons and you can hardly taste the meat. You'll see 80/20 mix mentioned most but I like even more fat, closer to 60/40. Again, get the basics down then figure out what you like.

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          1. re: Becca Porter
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            classylady Oct 3, 2010 05:39 AM

            Watched the CI program with the version of Shake Shack burger. Could not believe the line of people waiting to have the burger. Where in NY or NJ or elsewhere is the place?

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            1. re: classylady
              greygarious Oct 3, 2010 11:46 AM

              http://www.shakeshacknyc.com/

              Here is a similar burger, from Everyday Food TV: http://www.marthastewart.com/recipe/o...

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            2. re: Becca Porter
              scubadoo97 Oct 3, 2010 09:16 AM

              I happened to see the CI show on the SS burger. Very basic information but key to good texture and flavor. A mixture of flap and boneless short ribs were said to have the best beef flavor and fat to lean ratio. Barely shaping into a burger shape but with little pressure so it's loosely holding together they felt gave it the best texture. I've tried this and it does work well.

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              1. re: scubadoo97
                Becca Porter Oct 3, 2010 10:12 AM

                I am a huge believer in the fact that griddled burgers beat grilled burgers every time. Griddled burgers brown in their own beef fat. They are allowed to get brown on a much larger surface area than a grilled burger.

                Plus, the delicate home-ground meat that is barely bound together would never hold up to grilling.

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            3. r
              Ramius Oct 2, 2010 07:07 PM

              You guys put nothing in it? Sounds very strange to me.
              When I put nothing in it, it doesn´t taste much. Hopefully someone reading this, is a person who has some secret ingredients to hand over! I don´t just want a boring meat taste with nothing added.

              6 Replies
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              1. re: Ramius
                pikawicca Oct 2, 2010 07:15 PM

                Classic American burger does not have anything more than S&P. Make sure you're using good meat. (I like grass-fed ground chuck.)

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                1. re: Ramius
                  mariacarmen Oct 2, 2010 10:54 PM

                  i chop onions very finely, saute them, then mix them into the meat. salt & pepper. then for an extra treat, when you make the meat into a ball before flattening into a patty, make a small dent in the ball with your thumb and put in a good chunk of blue cheese. Cover up the hole with the meat, roll and then flatten into a think disk, and that's it!

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                  1. re: Ramius
                    chicgail Oct 3, 2010 05:14 AM

                    It's not about "secret ingredients." The Gordon Ramsey recipe you sited sounds like it might taste good, but it's not an American burger. Never, ever put an egg in a hamburger. Ever.

                    Get the basics down. Good quality beef. High percent of fat. This is the most important element. If you beef is not excellent, you don't stand a chance. Salt and pepper. I happen to like Lawry's Seasoning Salt, but that's a personal preference. And don't season lightly. Season it well. I prefer the season on the outside, rather than mixing it in. Grill it over a hot flame that gives you a good crust on the outside while leaving the middle pink and juicy. Serve on a good quality bun. This is NOT boring.

                    A simple slice of cheddar, American, Swiss or provolone melted on top if you want a cheese burger. A slice of tomato, raw or saute onion, lettuce and dill pickle on top. Ketchup. Some people like mayo. Mustard is borderline criminal (save it for your hotdog).

                    If you want to mess with it after you've mastered that, chopped onion and green pepper mixed with the meat is an interesting option. You can experiment. Save the egg for breakfast.

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                    1. re: Ramius
                      c oliver Oct 3, 2010 01:19 PM

                      Boring meat taste? If you think it's boring, I shudder to think what you might do to a steak :) I think beef should taste like...well...beef.

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                      1. re: Ramius
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                        SmallGoodThings Oct 4, 2010 03:49 PM

                        I agree with all of the above. I'm sorry, Ramius, but if you do't want a burger that tastes like meat, you don't want an American burger. Good, fatty beef and a lot of salt (add as much as you feel good about adding...and then double it. If you're not sure, you can cook up a tablespoon of the beef to taste it. If it doesn't taste good, keep adding salt. If it tastes good, you've added enough)-- that's it.

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                        1. re: Ramius
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                          Isolda Oct 4, 2010 04:14 PM

                          Okay, Ramius, I cheat. I mix in a little barbeque sauce (any smoky, slightly sweet kind will do). For each pound of meat, you need just a spoonful, along with some salt and pepper, and perhaps a bit of prepared mustard to give it some tang. Make sure your meat is not too lean and don't press it down. Cook your burgers over coals, not a gas grill, and don't overcook them. if the fire is too hot, the sugar in the barbecue sauce will cause the outsides to burn, but this is less likely to happen if you mix it in well. I think the smoky flavor is really the "American" taste you are seeking.

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                        2. Caroline1 Oct 2, 2010 09:38 PM

                          When I want a great tasting hamburger, I use bison (aka American buffalo). GREAT flavor every time!

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                          1. carminabee Oct 2, 2010 10:44 PM

                            Oh!... Pick me, pick me.... I know the answer to this one!!!!! The most important thing about a good burger is the meat. And after reading that a pound of hamburger could come from as many as ten - no not cows - but slaughterhouses, I decided I needed to do something different. I like my meat rare. If you have a rib eye rare you have a limited amount of surface areas for contamination. Ground beef is 100% surface area so it's easy to see this is the most problematic area of meat safety. $40 later with my meat grinder attachment for my kitchen Aid i can't believe I waited this long! Unlike some foodie changes, this one paid off immediately with a product unlike anything I've had before. I follow Judy Rogers of Zuni cafe advice for presalting and am turning out burgers that are absolutely incredible!!

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                            1. hill food Oct 2, 2010 11:01 PM

                              all these posters are right, less is more. good beef with the right lean/fat ratio, a little salt and pepper, maybe some garlic powder. some swear by pan sear, some the grill. but yes, don't work in all sorts of things into the meat, less done the better. don't over-think it. that's the worst thing one can do. it's just cooked meat in a bun after all. as a garnish maybe ultra fresh tomato, onion or lettuce or whatever you like and just a small amount of condiments. and maybe pickle. some toast the bun, some don't.

                              and watch the last 5 minutes of Whit Stillman's "Barcelona" when the Spaniards finally understand Hamburguesa.

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                              1. r
                                Ramius Oct 3, 2010 04:27 AM

                                So most of you are saying to put nothing in. But if I were to list all that "little extra" you guys put in, we are already up to:
                                salt
                                pepper
                                shredded onion
                                mustard powder
                                garlic powder

                                In Norway, nutmeg is common to use in recipes with ground beef. Since hamburgers are not a part of our culture, we use it in meatcakes and such.

                                But I have a hard time believing that high end restaurant quality burgers have no addons other than salt and pepper. I´ve had some great tasting burgers at different places, and they all have this strong but round and sweet meat flavor. It´s something they do that really enhances and brings forth this natural flavor. When I just use salt and pepper, it don´t taste as good.

                                You guys don´t even put eggs in it? Or egg yolks? I might have been using too lean of a meatground, so I will try a 20% fatty version next time.

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                                1. re: Ramius
                                  g
                                  gilintx Oct 3, 2010 04:49 AM

                                  I think that playing with the fat content in your beef will help you achieve the round flavor you describe. A hamburger is a very simple sandwich, and even the high-end places you describe try to not interfere with the flavor of the meat itself.
                                  Rather than focusing on how many things you can add, you should focus on technique. In my opinion, cooking burgers in a heavy cast-iron skillet produces the best product, as it ensures that the patty will fry in its own fat.
                                  I tend to believe that eggs, egg yolks, or breadcrumbs to bind the patty are a shortcut to actually forming your patty the right way so that it doesn't fall apart in the first place. I do know people that use those techniques, but I couldn't say that I like their hamburgers.

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                                  1. re: gilintx
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                                    Ramius Oct 3, 2010 05:03 AM

                                    Oh I make them on the grill. For me, hamburgers are a grill dish.

                                    I usually start out by laying them on the solid plate first, browning them on each side, before I lay them over the grill, in lack of better words. But I do this because the burgers i have made so far, is so loose that when i add them directly on the grill, they fall through the holes and breaks.

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                                    1. re: Ramius
                                      greygarious Oct 3, 2010 06:34 AM

                                      You've asked what Americans do, and we've told you. Beef, salt, pepper. Searing on high heat brings out the flavor of the meat. The add-ons like lettuce, melted cheese, and ketchup, add interest because of their differing temperatures and textures. I like the burgers done in a cast iron skillet for maximum sear, although the charcoal grill does make for great flavor too.

                                      I vigorously agree that adding eggs, bread crumbs, etc, is venturing into meat loaf territory. Nobody loves onions more than I do, but mixing minced onion in with the beef is stretching the boundaries to their limit, as far as I am concerned. Raw onion on top is better than cooked onion inside.

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                                      1. re: Ramius
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                                        ESNY Oct 4, 2010 12:48 PM

                                        Why do you not believe everyone?

                                        Real american burgers have nothing in them besides ground beef. The best burgers, at least in NY, are made from freshly ground beef and nothing else. Chefs experiment with different cuts but there is no filler. If you want something different, then ask, but you are told the truth.

                                        If its boring to you, either you are used to highly seasoned food (i.e., probably don't eat plain steaks), have poor beef or cook the burger poorly. A truly great burger needs quality beef, enough fat/salt/pepper, and cooked properly so a sear develops but the inside is still medium rare (or whatever your final temp is)

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                                    2. re: Ramius
                                      chicgail Oct 3, 2010 05:16 AM

                                      It doesn't matter what you "believe."

                                      Salt and pepper. No eggs! Use good, fatty, freshly ground meat. If you've mastered that and you're dying to add garlic or onion or other stuff, give it a try, but the real deal stands on its own.

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                                      1. re: chicgail
                                        JerryMe Oct 4, 2010 06:39 PM

                                        Well stated CG - If you're not happy w/ what you have mix it up and find out what else you like.

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                                      2. re: Ramius
                                        biondanonima Oct 3, 2010 08:41 AM

                                        I agree with the purists and I usually only use salt, not even pepper. However, I find that supermarket ground beef is a bit flavorless, so if I haven't ground my own meat, I usually put a pat of butter or a spoonful of congealed bacon fat in the middle of the burger before cooking. You have to make sure not to cook them too rare if you've done this, because you want the fat to melt, but with supermarket meat I prefer to cook to medium rare/medium anyway. The fat melts and seeps through the burger, making up for the lower quality of the meat (to a certain extent).

                                        I have tried many times to add stuff to burgers to make them more interesting and tasty but it never works. Salt, fat and good beef. That's the ticket.

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                                        1. re: Ramius
                                          Karl S Oct 4, 2010 01:12 PM

                                          Egg yolks are for meatloaf (the American vernacular form of cooked pate) and meatballs, but *not* American hamburgers. Hamburgers are supposed to be coarsely ground and held together only by the meat itself, no other binders; the addition of egg would make it a meatloaf/pate, and confuse matters.

                                          Americans eat meatloaf sandwiches, but would never confuse those with a hamburger.

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                                          1. re: Ramius
                                            j
                                            joonjoon Oct 5, 2010 11:34 AM

                                            Ramius, I'm not sure if you're looking for toppings or additions to the meat patty itself. Generally speaking, nothing should be added to the meat patty other than salt and pepper. And they should be sprinkled on top of the patty, not worked into it.

                                            As far as toppings, there are, IMO, two styles of burgers that you must master before moving on to other toppings:

                                            1. The "classic" burger
                                            This is just meat, bun, cheese, onion, pickle.

                                            2. The "Cali" burger
                                            The above + lettuce and tomato.

                                            I would start with a good classic burger and get it right before moving on to other toppings.

                                            Also, your patty should not be falling through the grill grates! You might be adding too much other "stuff" to your patty.

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                                            1. re: joonjoon
                                              c oliver Oct 5, 2010 12:39 PM

                                              Do you mean "Cali" as in Colombia?

                                              My burgers are so lightly "constructed" that I have to be very careful when turning. When I form the patty (meat only), I hold it very gently in my cupped hands and barely put any pressure on it. So I've gotten a long metal "flipper" so I can get all the way under it on the grill and use my finger also to help turn it. It's not in danger of falling through the grates but it can start to come apart.

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                                          2. b
                                            Bryan Pepperseed Oct 3, 2010 05:19 AM

                                            Around here, the markets have what they call meatloaf mix - beef, pork, and veal. Once in awhile when I want to do something "different", I'll make a "meatloaf burger" using this mix (although I would prefer to grind my own) but I never call it a hamburger. Otherwise, I'm with the rest - just a little salt goes on the traditional all beef patty.
                                            As long as I'm here and typing - My preferred method of cooking is over a charcoal fire if the weather outside cooperates. Otherwise, it's pan seared and then finished in the oven. With either method I always put a little dimple in the middle of the top and bottom when forming the patties so that the burger ends up flat after "swelling" during cooking.

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                                            1. re: Bryan Pepperseed
                                              hill food Oct 3, 2010 05:56 PM

                                              I'll have to try that dimple idea. thx

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                                              1. re: hill food
                                                eight_inch_pestle Oct 3, 2010 06:13 PM

                                                It also helps the burger cook more evenly, so you can have rare meat on the outside without cold meat in the middle.

                                                Absoutely stellar avatar by the way.

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                                                1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                  hill food Oct 3, 2010 06:18 PM

                                                  thx, and good point (I like things rare to raw)

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                                              2. re: Bryan Pepperseed
                                                c oliver Oct 3, 2010 06:29 PM

                                                I recently cooked my first burgers with the pan sear/oven technique. It worked great. I used my thermometer cause I wasn't confident that I wouldn't overcook.

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                                              3. blue room Oct 3, 2010 06:56 AM

                                                To one pound of ground beef I add one slice of white bread (crust removed) which has been mooshed to a paste in 1/4 cup of milk. This improved the texture, (the moistness I guess) so much that I do it every time now. Salt and pepper too-- seasoned salt or garlic salt optional.

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                                                1. f
                                                  fourunder Oct 3, 2010 07:03 AM

                                                  Arguably, the most famous American restaurant Burger was the *21 Club* version.

                                                  Recipe: 21 Burger
                                                  John Greeley, executive chef of 21 Club Ingredients
                                                  1 pound chuck (cut into cubes)
                                                  1 pound top round (cut into cubes)
                                                  1/2 cup beef fat (cleaned and cut into cubes)
                                                  1/2 cup onion (minced)
                                                  1 tablespoon fresh thyme
                                                  1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (to infuse oil)
                                                  1 tablespoon pickling spice
                                                  1 tablespoon black tellicherry pepper (fresh ground)
                                                  1 pinch cayenne (optional)
                                                  1/2 egg (lightly beaten)
                                                  2 tablespoons duck or pork fat (rendered and melted to room temp)
                                                  Preparation
                                                  1. In bowl over ice (to keep meat from turning brown), blend all ingredients by hand.

                                                  2. Run through meat grinder twice. (OK to also blend by hand.)

                                                  3. Form into 12-ounce meat balls, then form into burgers with small pie tin.

                                                  4. Wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour to set.

                                                  5. Brush burger with oil, clean and oil grill, and cook on moderate heat.

                                                  6. Do not press down on burgers while cooking or overcook.

                                                  http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

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                                                  1. re: fourunder
                                                    r
                                                    Ramius Oct 3, 2010 08:02 AM

                                                    Now THATS more like it.
                                                    Printed out and layed on the kitchen bench!

                                                    Screw salt and pepper haha.

                                                    Thanks fourunder

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                                                    1. re: Ramius
                                                      f
                                                      fourunder Oct 3, 2010 08:23 AM

                                                      If I can recall correctly, the earlier recipe for the 21 Club Burger had celery sweated in chicken stock, cooled and added to the sirloin, with egg, capers and Worcestershire....possibly bread crumbs and onion as well

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                                                      1. re: Ramius
                                                        chicgail Oct 3, 2010 09:38 AM

                                                        Glad you found what you wanted.

                                                        It doesn't happen to have much to do with "how do you americans do it in your own homes? When you want to beat the restaurants and create the perfect burger," but it does fit your pictures.

                                                        Good luck with it.

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                                                        1. re: Ramius
                                                          eight_inch_pestle Oct 3, 2010 02:14 PM

                                                          Screw salt and pepper? The problem, Ramius, is that in your original post you raised the question of authenticity. You didn't say you didn't like Ramsay's burger, just that you worried it wasn't authentic. Now, Americans cook burgers a zillion different ways and they're all authentic by definition because they're made by Americans. That said, if you're looking for a representative example of the classic authentically American burger there can be doubt that the meat is seasoned with nothing but salt and pepper. The goodies go on top and underneath, not inside, and the focus is on finding the perfect cut or cuts, percent of fat, and grind.

                                                          I'm glad you found a recipe that fits what you were actually looking for, but you probably would have been better off just asking for fun ways to season hamburger patties, leaving out questions of authenticity and home-cooked vs. restaurant-cooked altogether. Happy grilling!

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                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                            pikawicca Oct 3, 2010 07:20 PM

                                                            If I walked into any American restaurant, high end or low, I'd be astonished and severely displeased if served a burger with anything other than S&P. If you're serving a weird burger, let me know so that I can avoid it. The meat's the thing -- grass fed beef, bison, elk, all are good. Veggies, egg, bread crumbs, all are bad.

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                                                            1. re: pikawicca
                                                              hill food Oct 3, 2010 07:25 PM

                                                              right, just let me know so I can consider it as something else (Imean who mixes bacon and cheese into the thing? well except for Wimpy's or a defunct DC place that was more interesting for it's location and horrendous service than its food.

                                                              y'know what's fun? order a veggie burger with real bacon and cheese on top! the server will give you a complete WTF? look. and it's good.

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                                                        2. re: fourunder
                                                          blue room Oct 3, 2010 09:30 AM

                                                          Holy kamoly that sounds good -- but the "1 teaspoon fresh rosemary (to infuse oil)"
                                                          does that mean the rosemary is not really an ingredient, but is used some other way ?

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                                                          1. re: blue room
                                                            f
                                                            fourunder Oct 3, 2010 02:23 PM

                                                            brushed on the outside of the meat patty before grilling......

                                                            http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/3233178...

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                                                        3. tommy Oct 3, 2010 11:03 AM

                                                          "american hamburgers" are almost always simply ground chuck, seasoned when cooking with s/p. Of course, most american hamburgers are mediocre.

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                                                          1. re: tommy
                                                            chicgail Oct 3, 2010 11:34 AM

                                                            Most everything is mediocre. That's one reason this board exists.

                                                            The two worst hamburgers I ever had were in London. Many years apart, but equally and memorably horrendous.

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                                                            1. re: chicgail
                                                              l
                                                              LauraGrace Oct 3, 2010 11:40 AM

                                                              Oh, English major nerd alert -- "equally and memorably horrendous" is a particularly lovely turn of phrase. And I had a memorably horrendous burger in London as well -- an overcooked, pasty, gray abomination.

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                                                              1. re: LauraGrace
                                                                hill food Oct 3, 2010 05:58 PM

                                                                this describes a Wimpy's burger (of which I've grown fond as memory provides distance)

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                                                          2. ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 11:10 AM

                                                            Start with good, quality meat.

                                                            80/20 ratio is what I use

                                                            Ground coarsley. Don't make mush. This is key.

                                                            Pack loosely. Don't try and squeeze into perfect balls. Just pack them into irregular shaped globs -- the looser the better.

                                                            Don't overcook. Medium-rare is my preference.

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                                                            1. re: ipsedixit
                                                              tommy Oct 3, 2010 12:01 PM

                                                              What is your blend to achieve 80/20?

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                                                              1. re: tommy
                                                                ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 12:09 PM

                                                                Chuck and sirloin (50/50)

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                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  tommy Oct 3, 2010 12:36 PM

                                                                  Interesting. Chuck is widely accepted as having 20% fat on its own.

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                                                                  1. re: tommy
                                                                    ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 12:59 PM

                                                                    When I'm really trying to impress, I use the following:

                                                                    1 part beef sirloin, cubed
                                                                    1 part beef brisket, cubed
                                                                    1 part oxtail (trimmed and deboned)

                                                                    This, in my opinion, makes an amazing burger, but it's a lot of work, so my default is a combo of sirloin and chuck.

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                                                                    1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                      tommy Oct 3, 2010 01:42 PM

                                                                      I like the way you roll. I'd sub hanger for sirloin, but either way that burger is going to be much better than the typical "american burger."

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                                                            2. cosmogrrl Oct 3, 2010 12:04 PM

                                                              I add stuff to my burger meat. It's just too bland if I don't. I use either 80/20 or 85/15 ground beef.

                                                              to this I add:
                                                              S/P (freshly ground black pepper and kosher salt)
                                                              an egg (or an egg yolk if it's a small amount of beef)
                                                              a sprinkle or two of bread crumbs
                                                              A dash or two of Worcestershire sauce
                                                              and occasionally a dash of Peri-Peri hot sauce, and/or a bit of garlic powder.

                                                              I then fry then in a cast iron skillet. I like to add the egg and bread crumbs because I think it makes for a nice moist burger. Worcestershire sauce adds a bit of something to the overall flavor of the meat.

                                                              Anyway that's how this American makes her burgers!

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                                                              1. re: cosmogrrl
                                                                ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 01:00 PM

                                                                Isn't that called, um, a meatball? Nothing wrong with that, esp. if I want a meatball sandwich!

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                                                                1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                  Becca Porter Oct 3, 2010 01:16 PM

                                                                  *like*

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                                                                  1. re: Becca Porter
                                                                    ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 01:34 PM

                                                                    ... or maybe "lick"?

                                                                    :-)

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                                                                  2. re: ipsedixit
                                                                    c oliver Oct 3, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                                    When someone says that plain ground beef is bland, I just have to believe that they don't like beef. When I grind mine, I'm frequently grabbing little raw bits to eat as it comes out of the grinder. It doesn't taste bland to me.

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                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                      ipsedixit Oct 3, 2010 01:32 PM

                                                                      Maybe they were weaned in a salt lick?

                                                                      But I agree with you. Steak tartare and beef carpaccio, when done right, are true culinary gems.

                                                                      Speaking of raw beef, I was watching the finale of Season 2 The Next Iron Chef last night and the eventual runner-up Chef Jehangir Mehta made this tartare topped with a guacamole ice cream that everyone raved about. Morimoto declared it the best dish of the entire night. Made my mouth water.

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                                                                      1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                        tommy Oct 3, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                                        Steak tartar is often made with tenderloin, which everyone will tell you has no flavor (I don't agree). Of course, there's lots of other stuff in tartar that add flavor.

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                                                                      2. re: c oliver
                                                                        l
                                                                        LauraGrace Oct 3, 2010 01:41 PM

                                                                        Agreed! Or maybe they haven't ever had good beef?

                                                                        The beef I ate growing up was our Christmas present from a family friend with a cattle ranch -- it was the good stuff, locally raised and grass fed before all that was hip. Beef from a regular grocery store can't compare, IMO. Just not beefy enough.

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                                                                        1. re: c oliver
                                                                          blue room Oct 3, 2010 01:44 PM

                                                                          I've heard this, close to your statement: if you don't like beef cooked rare, you don't like beef.
                                                                          I like it only nicely nicely Done--so maybe what i really like is Worcestershire and salted sliced tomatoes and onions--but they sure are good atop a hamburger!

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                                                                          1. re: blue room
                                                                            c oliver Oct 3, 2010 03:30 PM

                                                                            Sorry, that's not what I meant at all. I meant that "even" eating it raw, I like it and I don't think it's bland. How one likes their beef cooked is fine with me. But I'm on the mooing side myself :)

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                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              blue room Oct 3, 2010 06:37 PM

                                                                              c oliver--
                                                                              "I meant that "even" eating it raw, I like it and I don't think it's bland."
                                                                              Yes, that's what I understood, didn't express myself well. Wish I liked it that way too, less derision from tablemates, easier chewing too! My squeamishness is stupid -- I know rare steak and sushi etc. are perfectly wholesome.

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                                                                              1. re: blue room
                                                                                c oliver Oct 3, 2010 06:42 PM

                                                                                My husband converted his ex-wife from well-done to something pinker :) I don't know why people have the mooing-is-better attitude. We should eat what we want, right?

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                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  hill food Oct 3, 2010 07:06 PM

                                                                                  well yes, I'll grit my teeth and cook someone else's into shoe leather if that's what they want, but if you can't stop at rare just leave mine raw.

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                                                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                                                    c oliver Oct 3, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                                    Oh, I know. I couldn't live with someone who didn't want it almost alive :) And if served well done at someone's home, I just grin and bear it. There are at least a few things worse than well done meat. Like world peace, global warming, etc :)

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                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                      hill food Oct 3, 2010 07:28 PM

                                                                                      yeah, what's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding...?

                                                                                      but back to the OP - I think we've expressed there are officially an estimated gajillion variations, and all can be altered to your taste. we've tried to explain the base from which to start. now soar.

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                                                                                  2. re: c oliver
                                                                                    w
                                                                                    walker Oct 5, 2010 10:48 AM

                                                                                    Once, at a friend's house, her husband was cooking steaks outside. He knew I wanted well done but he served me one medium and said no one should eat steak cooked more than medium. I could only eat a few bites of the well cooked edges and left the rest.

                                                                                    If he (or anyone!) came to my house for dinner, I'd cook steak the way they preferred, not well done like I prefer.

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                                                                                    1. re: walker
                                                                                      c oliver Oct 5, 2010 12:41 PM

                                                                                      I was about to say that he was rude but I think "obnoxious" is a better description. I doubt there are many people who like their beef as rare as we do. It's a simple matter to cook them to different degrees (literally).

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                                                                      3. eclecticsynergy Oct 3, 2010 08:29 PM

                                                                        In my experience, a little (very little, not enough to fill out the volume to any great extent) bit of quick oats helps a burger to stay moist, by absorbing and retaining the juices which otherwise would cook out. Does not affect the final flavor, no meatloafy-ness...

                                                                        A few splashes of Worcestershire or Maggi Seasoning (the dark liquid, not a soup mix or some such) boosts the flavor with a touch of umami, without masking the fundamental beef taste.

                                                                        And minimal handling (this includes no squashing during cooking) keeps the burger from toughening up. Dimpling the center can help a burger come out evenly shaped.

                                                                        That being said, I sometimes will add other seasonings, but they are definitely flavor-changers, to my palate the result is no longer a true "basic" burger. Some that have worked well (individually, of course, not all at once) for me:
                                                                        Teriyaki sauce
                                                                        chipotle peppers
                                                                        Montreal steak seasoning
                                                                        Cajun seasoning
                                                                        blueberries (don't laugh, it works surprisingly well)
                                                                        and yes, even that standby of yesteryear, the much maligned pouch of Lipton onion soup mix

                                                                        And for the real purists with an eye towards a custom mix of beef, here's a link to Alton Brown's
                                                                        "Burger Of The Gods":

                                                                        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/al...

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                                                                        1. re: eclecticsynergy
                                                                          hill food Oct 3, 2010 10:17 PM

                                                                          heresy.

                                                                          (smirking)

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                                                                        2. StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 12:41 AM

                                                                          Fillers = ick

                                                                          No bread crumbs, no bread, no oatmeal, no egg, no celery, no green peppers.

                                                                          Add any of that crap = meatloaf

                                                                          If you like fillers or egg, then you don't really want a burger.

                                                                          Simply wrong.

                                                                          Various types of beef can be great. But good chuck is fine. Ground ribeye, sure. Feel compulsive enough to bone oxtail, grind that beefy goodness up.

                                                                          The only thing I add to 80/20 beef is a bit of salt, black pepper, and a smidge of Lea and Perrins Worchestershire.

                                                                          Someone below said 60/40. I like me some fat, but what the heck is with that. That's not a hamburger, that's just fat. Good luck to you, give a shout when you're ready for that cardiology referral.

                                                                          Do NOT over work, otherwise again you get meatloaf. I like a burger about an inch thick, maybe even 1.25". 8-12 ounces of meet depending on how hungry you are.

                                                                          Ideally grill over charcoal.

                                                                          Or a nice cheat is to fry in a cast iron pan in bacon fat.

                                                                          I start off hot to develop a bit of a crust, then turn down the heat a bit til I get to medium rare.

                                                                          Anyone cooking a burger medium, or well done should be publicly flogged, then hung by their thumbs in a dark cave until they repent.

                                                                          I love crap on top. (I also like ice cream with junk in it) sharp cheddar melted at the end (somehow swiss is un-American) raw onion, bacon, lettuce tomato, catchup, dijon mustard, and a bit of my homemade hot sauce on top. YMMV, and a purist might just go for tomato and lettuce. Heck a purist might just go for burger, period.

                                                                          On a slightly warmed/toasted kaiser roll.

                                                                          I made this Sat. night with 12 oz of meat and it was the best burger I've had since Tim's Tavern went out of business here in Boston. My SO said it was the best burger she had ever had, period.

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                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                            hill food Oct 4, 2010 01:18 AM

                                                                            12 oz? I was mostly with you until that (but then again a hamburger can mean so many things)

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                                                                          2. l
                                                                            Lisbet Oct 4, 2010 03:53 AM

                                                                            Good QUALITY CHUCK......GROUND ONCE (very importamt !!) Salt and pepper. Cooked for 3 minutes first side and a bit longer (4½ min.) on second side.

                                                                            Any other enhancements should be offered on the side, such as onions (raw or carmelized), sliced tomato, roasted peppers, any sauces (such as Ranch Dressing) ketchup or relishes.

                                                                            But for the "star of the Show", just good quality meat with salt and pepper! This is basic.

                                                                            If cheese is desired, allow it to soften on top of the burger before removing from pan (I use Cooper's Sharp).

                                                                            Don't forget to butter and toast the bun.

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                                                                            1. re: Lisbet
                                                                              l
                                                                              Lisbet Oct 4, 2010 06:10 AM

                                                                              Found this on the "net"!

                                                                              http://startcooking.com/blog/90/Recip...

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                                                                              1. re: Lisbet
                                                                                StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 07:39 AM

                                                                                That recipe is already a FAIL cause they use a non stick pan. Yuck. Absolutely impossible to get a good sear/crust with awful non-stick. I threw out my non-stick pans years ago and now use cast iron for almost everything.

                                                                                And they use American Cheese, double yuck.

                                                                                To Hill food above, the only reason I did 12 oz was that I had skipped lunch that day and was starving. I do agree, as I said above that 8-12 was a range. And 8oz really is the classic...

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                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                  c oliver Oct 4, 2010 07:45 AM

                                                                                  I make 6oz. patties. They pretty much cover the bun (not a Kaiser roll) and are plenty thick. Yeah, I could eat 8oz. but 6 is perfect for us. We're 500 miles away from home right now doing a house exchange and one of the few things we brought with us were two burgers. Home away from home.

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                                                                              2. re: Lisbet
                                                                                tommy Oct 4, 2010 06:30 AM

                                                                                How would you differentiate "good quality" chuck from other chuck?

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                                                                              3. Karl S Oct 4, 2010 07:30 AM

                                                                                Ground chuck (80% lean/20% fat) - very flavorful, and if you cook it flat patty style, it's just right, not quite a fat bomb.

                                                                                Lightly seasoned with onion powder, garlic powder, ground black pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Raw onion and garlic are *wrong*; this is one of those uses where granulated or powdered form is indeed superior to fresh.

                                                                                Mix with a light hand, form into 5 ounce balls. Press gently between flat surfaces of choice to form a flat patty of perhaps 1/2 in height. Spread a thin layer (a glaze, if you will) of prepared mustard of choice on the top surface. Mustard creates a *great* crust, and does not leave a pronounced flavor like raw prepared mustard (mustard non-fanciers take note).

                                                                                Slice a sweet white or red onion into very thin slices; one or two per burger as desired. American cheese (not cheese food or cheese food product, but regular simple American processed cheese, like Land O'Lakes; this is it's perfect use: it melts beautiful and does not dominate the flavor of the beef, and it's processed texture is the most perfect thing to keep the burger and onion and bun together when you bite into the whole thing - other, wonderful, cheese will tend to be overly dominant in flavor or have texture problems compared to American cheese in this use): one or two thin slices as desired per burger (I think one is better than two, by Americans tend to want more cheese).

                                                                                Butter or otherwise grease a potatobread-bun (very preferably seeded) of choice.

                                                                                Heat a large flat griddle of choice over medium high heat (or high heat if your burner or griddle is weasily; very lightly oil the surface just before cooking (otherwise, it smokes). Put patties, mustard side down, on griddle. Add onion slices and buns, buttered sides down. Do not move things around; they need to be let perfectly still to brown correctly. After about 3 minutes, turn the burgers and top with cheese; also turn the onions. Remove the toasted buns; if having a second slice of cheese, lay it on the hot bun.

                                                                                After 2 minutes, remove onions and burgers and layer as you prefer. Add other condiments as desired.

                                                                                (With time and repetition, you can adjust the heat and timing to your own situation. These are what I do on my stovetop. YMMV.)
                                                                                Serve with half-sour (new) pickle spears.

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                                                                                1. Soop Oct 4, 2010 08:25 AM

                                                                                  Use chuck steak!

                                                                                  I want to make burgers now. Hell I may do, after a weekend of eating Donna's leftovers. And a bit of a poor Sunday roast.

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                                                                                  1. m
                                                                                    MarieO Oct 4, 2010 08:32 AM

                                                                                    I'm afraid I blaspheme the name of good beef everywhere with my Frankenstein bacon cheeseburger... supermarket ground chuck, finely chopped fried onion and bacon, two squirts Sriracha, and grated sharp Cheddar, formed into a patty and seared at a very high heat, turning once.

                                                                                    On a toasted white bun with a small shmear of animal sauce (ketchup + mayo), three thin slices of tomato, iceberg lettuce, and pickles. If all you've got is low-quality beef and no budget to speak of, it's a tasty way to make a sandwich.

                                                                                    The onions add savor, the cheese and bacon moisten the beef with fat and take the place of the salt that is so crucial to a good burger. Also, personally, I find American cheese is only yummy on a fast food burger, so it's nice to incorporate my fave cheese and still have it melt well.

                                                                                    Soon I will have the budget for real beef. And I must agree with most others, good beef needs nothing more than a good generous seasoning of S+P. Fillers like breadcrumbs and egg completely change the texture and weaken the flavor. An eggy or bready burger won't sear correctly either.

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                                                                                    1. re: MarieO
                                                                                      Soop Oct 4, 2010 08:44 AM

                                                                                      Yeah, I was making them the way my nan taught me which bent a lot of hounds well out of shape. I put an egg, olive oil and roughly chopped onion in. It may be meatloaf to an American, but it's still hella tasty!

                                                                                      That said, I did try it their way too, and it was very good.

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                                                                                      1. re: MarieO
                                                                                        StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 09:27 AM

                                                                                        Nothing wrong with chuck.

                                                                                        It's putting stuff IN the meat that is not the real deal. Your onion, bacon, and cheese should go on top of the cooked burger, NOT inside which ruins the texture.

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                                                                                      2. thew Oct 4, 2010 08:44 AM

                                                                                        you won't like it, because you've already decided you need a burger with lots of stuff in it - sounds more like you were asking for justification for what you already decided, rather than a real answer, but.. here's mine anyway

                                                                                        i like to grind together either chuck and shortrib, or sirloin and shortrib. i usually add salt and pepper, once in a while onion and/or garlic powder. shape the patties to be a bit bigger than the bun you want to accommodate for shrinkage. put dimples in the center top and bottom to compensate for the puffing up that will happen. grill, griddle, broiler or cast iron pan - all work. cook 'til rare or medium rare. the hotter the grill/pan the better crust you can get without overcooking or drying out the meat.

                                                                                        frankly, to me, that 21 club burger sounds kinda gross - but what do i know?

                                                                                        for added fun, db bistro moderne puts foie gras and braised short ribs inside the patty.

                                                                                        shake shack is a thin fast food sort of burger - i prefer a thicker burger myself, so stay away from the shake shack and the like style.

                                                                                        also american cheese is a perfect foil

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                                                                                        1. re: thew
                                                                                          c oliver Oct 4, 2010 09:07 AM

                                                                                          I like your meat combos. I'm going to try that, esp.the short rib.

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                                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                                            thew Oct 5, 2010 07:40 AM

                                                                                            and if you buy the shortribs bone-in, you can throw the bones in the freezer for stock making

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                                                                                          2. re: thew
                                                                                            Soop Oct 4, 2010 09:17 AM

                                                                                            I reckon he's probably using very lean meat, which is why it's tasteless. I think he'd be prefectly willing to try the American way.

                                                                                            Just do not understand American cheese though.

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                                                                                            1. re: Soop
                                                                                              Perilagu Khan Oct 4, 2010 09:31 AM

                                                                                              American cheese gets a bad rap, IMO. It has its place. And atop a burger is one of 'em.

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                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                Karl S Oct 4, 2010 09:41 AM

                                                                                                Agreed. Putting a fine Emmentaler/Gruyere/Cheddar on a burger is to misunderstand the role of the cheese in a cheeseburger. For this purposes, those fine cheeses cannot compete with lowly American cheese.

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                                                                                                1. re: Karl S
                                                                                                  StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 10:12 AM

                                                                                                  Totally disagree.

                                                                                                  I am not talking some fancy burger, but just decent supermarket sharp cheddar is WAY better then icky fake American, which after all is not cheese at all.

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                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                    Perilagu Khan Oct 4, 2010 10:15 AM

                                                                                                    Ya know, I honestly couldn't care less whether or not it is real cheese. It tastes great on a burger.

                                                                                                    Now having said that, I also love a good blue cheese on a burger.

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                                                                                                    1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                      scubadoo97 Oct 4, 2010 10:19 AM

                                                                                                      it melts better than other cheeses which is why it works so well on a burger. Plus the flavor is pretty mild with a little bit of saltiness.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                        StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 10:27 AM

                                                                                                        To each his own said the farmer as he kissed the pig.

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                                                                                                      2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                        Karl S Oct 4, 2010 10:39 AM

                                                                                                        Well, American cheese food and cheese food products are not cheeses. American processed cheese is a cheese that melts very well without breaking. You might be shocked to find cheeses around the world that are also processed in different ways for different qualities.

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                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                          blue room Oct 4, 2010 07:43 PM

                                                                                                          American cheese is cheese! It's made from milk, it is cheese. I can't imagine an "American" burger without it.

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                                                                                                    2. re: chicgail
                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                      Ramius Oct 5, 2010 12:10 PM

                                                                                                      I think I might have been wrong with asking about the homes-part. But isn´t it pretty clear that aside from the obvious purists here, many americans do infact go beyond salt and pepper?

                                                                                                      The 21 Club recipe is an american made recipe yes? Indirectly, the majority of people here, communicates that nobody makes restaurantlike food at home. That additives is just to make the food more exciting without being better.

                                                                                                      I might have been misinterpreted as well too. Because I did not ask for the median recipe here - what absolutely every common american does. I asked for what americans, perhaps those really passionate about their own unique burgers, do with the meat. To single out some genuine family secrets or exotic tricks.

                                                                                                      So most people use salt and pepper in their burgers. This did not surprise me, because most people use this in all foods.

                                                                                                      If the same meat is used, and it is applied as a hamburger, in a bun, with cheese and pickles, and eaten with a human mouth, is it not a hamburger?

                                                                                                      I might agree with those saying that it´s not a hamburger if you use duckfat etc. But just because some people put an onion in the otherwise normal hamburger recipe, is it really not a hamburger anymore? This is identifiable as strictness, which I think is meant to be broken in such a creative field as cooking is.

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                                                                                                      1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                        StriperGuy Oct 5, 2010 12:30 PM

                                                                                                        You are missing the point.

                                                                                                        I take my cooking VERY seriously.

                                                                                                        The secrets to making the definitive, excellent, delicious, archetypal American hamburger are getting the technique, and the simple ingredients correct.

                                                                                                        Would you have someone add chocolate to crepes suzette? You might, but then it would not be crepes suzette?

                                                                                                        Would you have someone add Thai Sriracha sauce to Beef Wellington? You might, but then it would not be Beef Wellington.

                                                                                                        Would you have someone add lemongrass to Japanese Miso soup? No that would just not be Miso.

                                                                                                        Is a perfect croissant improved by adding pastrami inside? It might be good, but the art of baking a perfect croissant is something special in it's own right.

                                                                                                        When you take a martini, but make it with vodka, and apple liqueur and call it an appletini, have you improved on the original?

                                                                                                        In the world of cooking some things are excellent BECAUSE of their simplicity.

                                                                                                        I love lots of junk ON my burger, but as soon as you change what is IN the burger you ruin the texture and end up with something that is no longer true to what is the quintessence of an American hamburger.

                                                                                                        Throw all the junk you want inside, eggs, breadcrumbs, herbs, foie gras. It might be delicious, but don't think you are eating a true American hamburger.

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                                                                                                        1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                          c oliver Oct 5, 2010 12:46 PM

                                                                                                          I agree, SG. There are many discussions on CH about changing a classic recipe and continuing to call it by its "birth name." Since I began grinding my own meat I no longer eat burgers in restaurants but when I did they didn't have things like egg and breadcrumbs in them. And I agree that people should cook what they want how they want but if someone is wanting a classic, then yes, start at the beginning.

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                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                            Karl S Oct 5, 2010 01:11 PM

                                                                                                            Yes, the issue is "truth in advertising". Don't put hamburger on the menu and give me grilled meatloaf/meatball. Don't put spaghetti alla carbonara on the menu and give me a pasta dish with a sauce with dairy cream. Et cet.

                                                                                                            Creativity is fine, but respect the taxonomy of well-defined dishes; just call it something else, that's all I ask.

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                                                                                                        2. re: Ramius
                                                                                                          Karl S Oct 5, 2010 01:08 PM

                                                                                                          The 21 Club recipe is American, but not illustrative of anything than that restaurant, which happens to be in America, and that restaurants sometimes feel a need to be creative with things that should, in their ideal form, be kept simple. Remember, Manhattan is an island where fools will be readily separated from their money for the sake of novelty. Especially rich fools.

                                                                                                          But you are getting good advice here about the fact that thoughtful Americans hamburger mavens (and that does not automatically include high-end restaurant chefs) would distinguish between hamburger and meatloaf/meatballs.

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                                                                                                          1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                            alanbarnes Oct 5, 2010 01:18 PM

                                                                                                            No doubt many Americans add extra ingredients to a meat patty. And I'm even okay with calling the resultant sandwich a "hamburger." But that doesn't change the fact that the vast majority of hard-core aficionados will tell you that a really good hamburger patty should be free from addititves.

                                                                                                            I'm not talking about the "median recipe" or what the "common American" does. I'm talking about the top one percent. And it doesn't matter whether preparation is occurring in a home kitchen, a greasy spoon, or a fine steakhouse. There's a consensus among those who take such things seriously that the best burger is made from ground beef. Period.

                                                                                                            But not all ground beef is created equal. Fat content, grind texture, handling, etc. - they've all been discussed here, and you have to get each of them right for the burger to be great. When I make burgers I choose meat that's about 20% fat and grind it myself through a 3/16" die, then carefully and gently form the patties, liberally salt them, and immediately cook them to medium-rare.

                                                                                                            No family secrets or exotic tricks are required. In fact, it's my considered opinion that adding anything to these burgers would be gilding the lily. Of course you don't have to share this opinion. You're free to add whatever you want to your ground beef and call it by any name you choose. But the simple fact of the matter is that those who believe the "perfect burger" contains binders, fillers, or anything other than top-quality beef are outside the American culinary mainstream.

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                                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                              r
                                                                                                              Ramius Oct 5, 2010 01:30 PM

                                                                                                              I think I´ll come back when I have actually tried out some of these recipes here. It´s all too theoretical now, I´ll see what works best myself and come back to give you all the judgement. It might go your way or the other.

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                                                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                                                c oliver Oct 5, 2010 01:31 PM

                                                                                                                And that's why I call mine "Barnes Burgers." I learned at the feet of the/a master :)

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                                                                                                              2. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                e
                                                                                                                ESNY Oct 5, 2010 01:25 PM

                                                                                                                No its not clear. You are reading into it because that's what you want to see. The great majority say a burger is simply ground beef, you have chosen to ignore them because two people posted a recipe that had mix-ins. The secret is to grind your own beef (how have it ground for you by the butcher) and not get preground supermarket ground beef of unknown cuts and origins.

                                                                                                                The people really passionate about burgers have told you the keys. Good quality meat (chuck, sirloin, short rib, brisket, etc), freshly ground, lightly formed patties, generously seasoned with salt and pepper and not overcooked (and for me, don't ruin it with ketchup). Instead, one person posts a link to a recipe and you ascribe that to a family secrets yet ignore those who tell you otherwise to grind your own meat, use a certain cut, etc.

                                                                                                                Again, that is fine if you want to know what time of stuff to mix into a burger but again, you asked for the secrets of a truly great american hamburger and when most people told you, you chose to ignore them. 99% of the top rated burgers in NY are made with only ground beef, no mixin. This is a fact and their burgers are much better than those using Worcestershire sauces, grated onion, butter, etc. The 21 club burger is far from the best in the city yet you cite it as gospel because one person posted a link to the recipe.

                                                                                                                Minetta Tavern is cited by many as having the best burger in New York City (if not the country) and they use a blend of dry aged ribeye, skirt steak and brisket which is custom ground for them daily. They then use a good amount of salt and sear it hard to get a good crust on it. That is it. No need for rosemary infused oil, parsley, egg, breadcrumbs. You can, and many do, replicate that at home and that is the epitome of restaurant style cooking.

                                                                                                                Get quality ingredients and let them shine.

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                                                                                                                1. re: ESNY
                                                                                                                  StriperGuy Oct 5, 2010 01:32 PM

                                                                                                                  I do commit the sin of Worcestershire, but I add a minuscule amount, 6 or 7 drops, not dashes, to a pound of meat. Can't particularly tell it is there, but does round out the flavor nicely.

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                                                                                                                  1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                    Karl S Oct 5, 2010 01:38 PM

                                                                                                                    Right. The Worcestershire sauce is there only for the added umami, not enough to discern its flavor. It makes up for the quality of beef these days when one does not go the distance in getting short rib or oxtail or the like to amplify things.

                                                                                                                    I admit that I added a bit of powdered onion and garlic to my meat so that it doesn't burn on the surface, and that I prefer a mustard-enhanced crust because it's easier in my apartment with smoke alarms that turning the heat up to the max on the 17K BTU burner. These are concessions to local issues, as it were...

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                                                                                                                  2. re: ESNY
                                                                                                                    c oliver Oct 5, 2010 01:33 PM

                                                                                                                    Holey moley, what a great meat combo from MT. Just finished lunch but I'm salivating just thinking of that.

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                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                      e
                                                                                                                      ESNY Oct 5, 2010 01:39 PM

                                                                                                                      And also a reason why the burger costs $26.

                                                                                                                      A bunch of other NY steakhouses have similar types of high quality burgers using the trimmings from their dry aged steaks (think porterhouse tails, chain meat from the tenderloin, etc) to make a very good burger, just not transcendent. and a lot cheaper than $26.

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                                                                                                                    2. re: ESNY
                                                                                                                      f
                                                                                                                      fourunder Oct 5, 2010 02:11 PM

                                                                                                                      Minetta Tavern.....They then use a good amount of salt and sear it hard to get a good crust on it. That is it. No need for rosemary infused oil,

                                                                                                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                                                                                                                      Actually, they use grapeseed oil and clarified butter.

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                                                                                                              3. b
                                                                                                                BigE Oct 4, 2010 10:29 AM

                                                                                                                Here are my thoughts:

                                                                                                                1) I season only with salt and pepper. I'm not light on the seasoning, but I only use those two.

                                                                                                                2) I make my own grind. I've been playing around with different combos, trying to find what I like. This past weekend, I made something along the lines of 2 parts chuck to 1 part short rib...that was very good.

                                                                                                                3) I'm undecided on grill vs. griddle/fry pan. Both have their own charm.

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                                                                                                                1. r
                                                                                                                  Ramius Oct 4, 2010 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                  I just wanna add that, the topic is mostly about the meat grind and what you do with that. It´s hard getting american cheeses here in this part of the world.

                                                                                                                  I remember tasting a dish with cheddar in New York, and the cheese was so sharp in its flavor, but you dont get that at all here. The cheddar we get here is very very mild and round flavoured. The sharpest thing I was able to find was irish cheddar, but nothing close to what I had in america. I dont know what you do with it to make it so sharp. The color is mostly orange on your cheddars, but here its pale yellow. .

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                                                                                                                  1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                    hill food Oct 4, 2010 02:30 PM

                                                                                                                    age. personally I prefer a mild cheese on a burger.

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                                                                                                                    1. re: hill food
                                                                                                                      r
                                                                                                                      Ramius Oct 4, 2010 02:57 PM

                                                                                                                      We have a great norwegian cheese I like to use. You may have heard of it; Jarlsberg..? I was shocked to see them selling it in the Delis in Manhattan.

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                                                                                                                      1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                        c oliver Oct 4, 2010 02:59 PM

                                                                                                                        Jarlsberg is probably sold in almost all grocery stores in the US.

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                                                                                                                        1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                          Perilagu Khan Oct 4, 2010 07:07 PM

                                                                                                                          There is Jarlsberg to be had less than a mile from where I type, here in the bulrushes of West Texas.

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                                                                                                                        2. re: hill food
                                                                                                                          StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 04:41 PM

                                                                                                                          Hey, mild cheddar on a burger is also good, though I like sharp.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                            hill food Oct 4, 2010 04:49 PM

                                                                                                                            for me there really is no hard and fast rule about anything, except our apparent consensus regarding fat content and minimal ingredients. just building blocks. I like a sharp cheddar sometimes. sometimes I like avocado. sometimes I like pickled okra, sometimes just plain old dill.

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                                                                                                                        3. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                          chicgail Oct 4, 2010 03:13 PM

                                                                                                                          "American" cheese -- and that is the name of a specific cheese -- is very mild. And we also have some very good pale cheddars.

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                                                                                                                          1. re: Ramius
                                                                                                                            StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 04:40 PM

                                                                                                                            Irish cheddar is perfect. Would be great on a burger.

                                                                                                                            The American stuff that is orange has been colored with annato or artificial color and is generally not very good.

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                                                                                                                            1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                              Perilagu Khan Oct 4, 2010 07:06 PM

                                                                                                                              Is there anything about the US or its food products that you DO like?

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                                                                                                                              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                                                                                                                                StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 10:57 PM

                                                                                                                                Chili, pecan pie, pig roasts, clambakes, crawfish etoufee cajun style, chess pie, bbq, I could go on for hours and hours.

                                                                                                                                I do not in general like crappy manufactured American food, though will do Kraft mac and cheese on occasion. To each his own in the end. I just can't stand American cheese on a really good burger, it just ruins it for me.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                                  chicgail Oct 5, 2010 04:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  Pig roasts? Where do you get pig roasts in America? The only pig roast I've ever seen was at a Phillipino wedding.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                    StriperGuy Oct 5, 2010 06:19 AM

                                                                                                                                    You are hanging out with the wrong crowd. Certainly common in the south, and not too uncommon even here in New England.

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                      tommy Oct 5, 2010 06:22 AM

                                                                                                                                      I live in NJ and in the past 6 years, have had 2 pig roasts in my backyard, and my neighbors have had 3. Of the BBQ and Cuban variety. While we may not be average people, pig roasts are certainly prevalent in my area.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: tommy
                                                                                                                                        chicgail Oct 5, 2010 07:00 AM

                                                                                                                                        Ok, folks. I stand corrected.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: chicgail
                                                                                                                                          eight_inch_pestle Oct 5, 2010 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                          Just FYI, they're also big with an older generation of African-Americans. I remember lots of my father's friends having the big oil drums sawed in half and hinged in the backyard back in the eighties. And I remember being offered ear. I shuddered then, and shudder now to think about what I missed out on.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                                                                                                            c oliver Oct 5, 2010 01:02 PM

                                                                                                                                            I'm Caucasian and grew up in Atlanta in the 50s. My daddy made one of those grills. Unfortunately no pig. But I'd have been like you and said yuck. Silly me.

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                                                                                                                            2. eight_inch_pestle Oct 4, 2010 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                              I guess it has to be mentioned that Julia Child was never averse to a little grated onion or beaten egg, and that James Beard's favorite burger also called for a bit of heavy cream and grated onion.

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                                                                                                                              1. re: eight_inch_pestle
                                                                                                                                StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 04:38 PM

                                                                                                                                I love Julia, and James was da man.

                                                                                                                                But it ain't 1972 any more and we have learned from our mistakes. Cream with chopped meat is just plain disgusting.

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                                                                                                                                1. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                                  pikawicca Oct 4, 2010 06:48 PM

                                                                                                                                  And Julia was all about French cooking, not American.

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                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca
                                                                                                                                    c oliver Oct 4, 2010 07:15 PM

                                                                                                                                    I was thinking earlier that JC and JB created recipes. A burger, IMO, isn't a recipe. So they were almost required to tart it up, weren't they?

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                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                      StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 10:58 PM

                                                                                                                                      Yah, exactly. Burgers don't really need tarting up.

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                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                        ipsedixit Oct 5, 2010 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                        A burger, IMO, isn't a recipe.
                                                                                                                                        ___________________________

                                                                                                                                        Interesting. Then what exactly is it?

                                                                                                                                        I think the cuts and ratios (equal parts sirloin, brisket and oxtail) that I use for my beef mix, and how I form my patty (loosely packed, never squeezed) certainly borders on what one would consider generally to be a "recipe".

                                                                                                                                        Or am I wrong?

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                          eight_inch_pestle Oct 5, 2010 11:12 AM

                                                                                                                                          Nope.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: ipsedixit
                                                                                                                                            c oliver Oct 5, 2010 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                                            No, you're not wrong. I just said that because it doesn't have ingredients in it. Must be a better term. I do as you do. Recently the butcher convinced me to buy a crossrib roast for burgers. It was too lean and he gave me some fat that he'd trimmed off other meat. I did some simple algebra to figure out how much fat to add to something that probably started out 95/5. So, yeah, I guess a recipe...or maybe a formula.

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                                                                                                                                      2. re: StriperGuy
                                                                                                                                        blue room Oct 4, 2010 07:46 PM

                                                                                                                                        I like to use a little cream to get roast beef hash to brown to a crispy crust. Doesn't add flavor.

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                                                                                                                                        1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                          StriperGuy Oct 4, 2010 10:55 PM

                                                                                                                                          Totally different concept. Sounds like a nice decadent hash.

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                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room
                                                                                                                                            sunshine842 Oct 5, 2010 12:31 AM

                                                                                                                                            Ooh. That sounds good. Ain't a burger, but it sounds awesome.

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                                                                                                                                            1. re: sunshine842
                                                                                                                                              Soop Oct 5, 2010 01:42 AM

                                                                                                                                              Ah, hash is great. I like to make bubble and squeak with goose fat. Different, but similar.

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                                                                                                                                      3. p
                                                                                                                                        pemma Oct 5, 2010 07:42 AM

                                                                                                                                        Yes, everyone is correct in using high-quality beef with a relatively high fat content and simply season with salt and pepper. Do not press down on the burger when cooking. It loses juices this way. The extra-add ons after cooking make a big difference -- add what you like, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, bacon, etc. A good bun is important, too.

                                                                                                                                        American hamburgers do not have bread crumbs or eggs or herbs in them. As everyone says, they start to become meatloaf or meatballs when you do this. They may be tasty, but they are not hamburgers.

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                                                                                                                                          fourunder Oct 5, 2010 11:45 AM

                                                                                                                                          Here's another one for you Ramius....

                                                                                                                                          http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/the-burger-lab-how-to-make-the-ultimate-patty-melt.html?ref=AHT1

                                                                                                                                          http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2...

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                                                                                                                                          1. The Chowhound Team Oct 5, 2010 01:51 PM

                                                                                                                                            Folks, this thread is drawing a bunch of off topic and unfriendly posts. We're going to lock it now.

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