Thursday, April 22, 2010

Grinding Your Own Burgers - A Summer Cookout

I've been jonesing to try my handy dandy new Kitchen Aid meat grinder attachment, and now that it's grilling season, I finally had an excuse. Always the obsessive researcher, I scoped out several articles to figure out how to approach it and ultimately relied on Mark Bittman's article and Tyler Florence's recipe for grind your own brisket burgers.

Turns out grinding your own burgers is a bit of manual labor but not really hard at all, and it made for AMAZING burgers. The big perk to grinding your own meat is that you actually know what cuts of high quality meat are going into your burger, you can control fat content, and you can actually cook them to medium rare without fear of imminent ebola-like illness.

The key to grinding meat is to have it and the equipment nice and cold. Put the meat in the freezer for about 30 minutes and the grinding equipment for about 20. The hardest part of the whole process is cutting up the semi-frozen meat into smaller pieces to feed the grinder, so just work up a bit of a sweat before you eat those juicy, fatty burgers! Then grind the meat into a bowl placed over ice. Run it through twice on the coarse setting for a good mix of fat and protein. With just a little salt and pepper, these burgers were beyond juicy and oh so flavorful. Yum! Our guest said they were top 10 burgers of all time for him - now that's a compliment!

The Burger Bar Recipe
Tyler Florence - Food Network

Directions

Preheat a large cast-iron skillet to medium hot. Take a few paper towels and fold them several times to make a thick square. Blot a small amount of oil on the paper towel and carefully and quickly wipe the hot skillet to make a nonstick surface.

Season the ground meat in a bowl with salt and pepper. Give it about 3 turns in the bowl with your hands or a big spoon and it's done. Shape into 4 patties. When the skillet is hot, put the burgers on the skillet and cook 4 minutes on the first side and 5 for the second side for rare; 7 minutes per side for medium, adding the cheese during the final minute or 2 to melt. Remove the burgers to a plate. Rub the skillet with the folded paper towel again to clean it. Then toast the buns cut side down for about 1 minute, just to mark them. Serve the hamburgers in the buns with the accompaniments below.



I paired the burger with caramelized onions and herbed horseradish mayo from the same burger bar recipe, and a simple salad of heirloom tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive oil - delish and so easy!

Caramelized Onions:

Heat 2 tablespoons unsalted butter with 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add 2 onions, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook slowly until well caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes.

Herbed Horseradish Mayonnaise:

Stir together 1 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, 1/4 cup freshly minced herbs such as parsley, basil, chives or scallion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, a little squeeze of lemon juice, and salt and pepper.

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