Kosher hamburger texture??
- cheeseguysgirl Mar 11, 2012 06:30 PM
Dear CH kosher klatsch-
I have gotten fantastic ideas from this board, and so I wonder if you can give me your advice on a dilemna. I am moving toward keeping kosher, having given up pork and shellfish, but am having a hard time switching certain foods. Hamburger seems to be one of them. In the past, I made my (nonkosher) hamburgers using 80/20 (meat to fat ratio) ground beef (not specific to a particular cut), fairly thick (like maybe 1") and I cook them to medium rare, which gave them a juicy tender texture. Cooking my kosher burgers the same way has left me with a very tough texture, even though they are still fairly juicy. I use the kosher meat from Costco- it's Solomon's brand. I have had other kosher burgers in restaurants that also seem to have this very tough texture- I don't know if it's the kosher cuts that have a characteristic texture, or if it's the brand, or if it's something I'm doing. Would adding a panade (like bread moistened with soymilk or almond milk) help? What can I do to make the texture more tender??? It will be very hard to get my household to endorse the move to kosher unless I can provide the same deliciousness factor-- most things have done well, but this one is a stumbling block. Can you help???
I add 1 egg for each pound of meat and some bread crumbs (Jason's are kosher), ketchup and either steak sauce or teriyaki sauce. This makes it flavorful and juicy. I add chopped onion if I want to bake it into a meat loaf.
I can't tell you exact proportions of bread crumbs or other flavorings. I know by the feel.
Everyone likes my hamburgers.
You can use bread...doesn't even have to be crumbs or dried out bread to soften the texture of your burgers, and there's not even need for a soaked bread panade or egg. I've even used coarsely crumbled mazto. It works great. You don't even need to add anything else (although I do sometimes like just a bit of chopped fresh onion or even some caramelized onion mixed inn). When I use bread, I take a fresh slice and pulse it in the food processor, not too coarse and not too fine. And you don't need a whole lot of it mixed into the meat to make a difference.
Not to be defensive but I have a hard time believing this is a kosher-treyf issue. Assuming the same quality meat, same cut, and same fat ratio, I don't see how salting/soaking would negatively impact something like texture.
Now, if it's a different cut, then you might be getting to something. For example, some treyf ground meat is sirloin, which is quite lean but has a nice mouthfeel. Sirloin is not a kosher cut. I believe Solomons is ground chuck. I have seen 85/15 but not sure if I've seen 80/20.
Soaking and salting definitely has an impact on texture, not necessarilly negative. Infusing meat with water then adding salt will affect the texture, there are chenical reactions when almost brining the exterior of the meat. I find that salt toughens meat. I am old enough to remember that most kosher meat had to be kashered after bringing it home from the butcher. My mother had a bbq grill just for broiling meat that had not been saoked and salted. There was a world of difference in texture and taste from the same cuts that had been kashered before cooking.
The bigger issue is cut of meat. Kosher ground beef is usually chuck. In treyf, the 80/20 may be chuck or any assorted scraps thrown in the grinder. The 85/15 is usually ground round and the 90% is usually sirloin.
I grew up using only ground neck and skirt for hamburg. It is sweeter and has a great texture. Today, I have to grind it myself, as it is not usually available at the kosher butcher and certainly not in the prepaks sold in supermarkets and mass merchants such as Costco.
deiscane- having been in a similar situation to the OP, I can also attest to the difference between the two -making the kosher switch I found it the single hardest thing to give up, even more so than wine and cheese.
also, I have never seen more than one option per supermarket in terms of fat percentage in ground beef.
Thanks, Barry-- but we don't have a kosher butcher here in Minneapolis. Ideally that would be what I would do, to have some sort of control over the blend, but tis not the case.
Deiscane, I'm assuming there is a difference in the cut, as bagelman said.
Thanks for all the suggestions--
It's not hard to grind your own hamburgers. Electric grinders are as cheap as $29.99, or we use an attachment for our Kitchenaid stand mixer. I also have an old fashioned clamp on the table hand chank grinder that I use fro Passover. This allows me to grind the mix of cuts that I want and vary texture.
I checked with my husband a meat mavin who often grills for a kosher caterer as well as making burgers for himself and guests. He adds finely chopped onion and very finely chopped (usually in the food processor) along with some bread crumbs. The onion and mushrooms provide extra moisture. He does this for burgers as well as for meat loaf. This helps counteract the effects of the soaking and salting which seem to dry out the meat. It's easy to see the difference between the liquid given off by trayf ground meat and kosher meat if you pan fry. Hardly any liquid for the kosher, in fact you have to be sure and spray the frying pan with some oil unless you have a no stick or very well seasoned pan.
Well ill give my famous recipe that my dad originated. unsure if if an aversion to having fish with meat(you can find anchovy free worchestershire sauce)
I do 2 kinds
(1lb beef / 1 lb turkey ) / or (1lb chicken / 1 lb beef)
2-3 tbsps mayo
a few shakes soy sauce
a few shakes worchshershire sauce(find anchovy free as per beliefs) / Life' Worcester sauce, produced by MH Foods (Morehands Ltd), is also vegetarian.(unsure hasgachah)
some minced slightly grilled onion ( 1 small)
fresh pressed/smushed garlic 1-2 cloves.
(optional) some white/wheat bread soaked in water for 5-10 min / squeezed out(helps hold them together better)
cook onions first till nice and pink, wait for onions to cool.
combine all together and grill, will be moist and juicy.