Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Grind it if you've got it

These burgers are more labor intensive than those that call for simply adding seasoning and aromatics to pre-ground beef, but they are sooo worth it. Sublimely flavorful, these patty melts are classic drive-in (or throw-back Shake Shack or In-N-Out) style. This will be my standby homemade burger recipe. It's especially good for apartment dwellers as it requires a pan, not grill.

Special Equipment needed: Meat Grinder Attachment for your Stand Mixer

Mmmmm. Freshly ground meat!

Grind-Your-Own Patty Melts
Adapted From Cook's Illustrated.

10 ounces sirloin steak tips, cut into 1-inch chunks
6 ounces boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 soft hamburger buns
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 slices American cheese
Thinly sliced tomatoes and pieces of lettuce

1 recipe Classic Burger Sauce (below)

1. Process meat in meat grinder, alternating short rib and sirloin pieces into bowl or plate.

2. Transfer meat to baking sheet, overturing bowl (or plate) and without directly touching meat. Spread meat over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.

3. Gently separate ground meat into 4 equal mounds. Without picking meat up, with your fingers gently shape each mound into loose patty 1/4 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, leaving edges and surface ragged. Season top of each patty with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side.

4. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add bun tops, cut-wide down, and toast until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and bun bottoms. Set buns aside and wipe out skillet with paper towels.

5. Return skillet to high heat; add oil and heat until just smoking. Using spatula, place burgers into skilet. Cook for about 2-3 minutes. Flip burgers over and cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with slice of cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer.

6. Transfer patties to bun bottoms. Spread 2 teaspoons of burger sauce on each bun top. Garnish with Lettuce and Tomato as desired. Cover burgers and serve immediately.

Classic Burger Sauce
Makes About 1/4 Cup

2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon sweet pickle relish
1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in bowl. Serve on burgers.


Daniel said...

Since I'm the one who actually made these, I'll add a few notes:

1. Apparently, if you don't have a meat grinder, you can use a food processor. BUT, that only works if you freeze (or, more accurately, semi-freeze) the meat first. We didn't try this, so we can't speak to how well it works, but it is supposed to work fine.

2. We couldn't find sirloin tips, so we just bought some not-great-looking sirloin steak. I'd have never used it as a steak, but it worked wonderfully as ground meat.

3. The recipe calls for you to very loosely form the burgers and not to push the meat together to tightly. This is nice in theory, but in practice leads to burgers that fall apart when you flip them. So, I suggest you do form them like regular burgers, just don't mush them together or throw them between your hands or anything. The relative looseness really does make a difference in terms of flavor and texture in the final product.

I think that's about it. They really were amazingly delicious. Oh, and of course, don't be stingy on the salt!

Leslie Klug said...

Ahem. I made them as well. The second time.

Daniel said...

fair point. I forgot you made them the next day after I did. Correction noted.

Leslie Klug said...

Yeah! Because they were THAT GOOD. I didn't want to use the meat for anything else. Mmmmm