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Anyone here make great hamburgers from scratch?

 
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:46 pm
@ossobuco,
ossobuco wrote:
A smart cook I used to know said buy good meat, put only salt on the frying pan, cook to 'taste' re doneness.


Maybe this is something you can help me with. What makes a ground beef "good"?

I usually see that the leaner it is the more it costs but I don't know of any other differentiation between ground beefs. Do you guys pick a cut and have it ground or are you picking out pre-packaged ground beef like I do?

One of my big obstacles in the kitchen has been the meat selection, I'm not near getting it right yet.

Quote:
The biggest problem with burgers, to me, are the buns. Regular store hamburger buns seem to taste/hold together worse these days, and I always have my eye out for a sturdier more flavorful bun or roll.


I was thinking of using bagels or something, because the store hamburger buns are as tasteless a bread as I know.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:47 pm
@rosborne979,
Thanks! I think this might have been the biggest missing link for me.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:48 pm
@rosborne979,
Yup, this part I got. I can do the actual cooking of the meat well enough. I'm not normally a fan of rare but I think I'm going to try to shoot for a lil' pink in the middle of the paddy.
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:53 pm
@ossobuco,
Earth Grains used to put out a great hamburger bun, and may still. They are big, though, and my system doesn't tolerate carbs as well as it used to. Nowadays, I use plain bread. That means you've got to drain the burger on a paper towel, or the whole thing turns into a greasy, disintegrating mass.
0 Replies
 
eoe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:53 pm
When i was a kid, my mother made our hamburgers using regular ground beef well-seasoned with salt, pepper, diced onions and raw eggs. By the time she was done, you could eat it raw, which I often did.
Man. There's nothing better than a mama-burger.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:57 pm
One person who's helped me reduce my kitchen-idiot factor is Alton Brown -- I like how he gets into the science of it and the whys of it rather than just the how-to. Here's his recipe for hamburgers:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/burger-of-the-gods-recipe/index.html

The recipe is pretty dry. Here's the video where he makes that recipe, hopefully more detail there:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_Lj-ZSVvWI
roger
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:57 pm
@eoe,
Reminds me of my first experience in a German restaurant. The only thing that looked familiar was beefsteak something. Tartar, or something like that.

Erp!
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 02:57 pm
I use the leanest meat I can find and mix feta cheese into it.

I smooch it together until most of the chesse is incorporated (in Deleware) into the meat, with some chunks here and there.

2 pounds of meat = 6 burger patties.
Post smooch I divide the meat into 2 big lumps, then divide each into thirds.
It's too hard to get 6 equal size burgers from one huge hunk.

Like Ros said, I cook it on high heat in a pan since we like them well done on the outside, with pink in the middle. (that's the secret to a great steak also. but that's another story)

It I don't have feta cheese, I'll add minced onion for moisture in the burger meat, and maybe some bbq sauce.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:02 pm
@sozobe,
Ooh transcript! Easier scrolling:

http://www.goodeatsfanpage.com/Season2/GroundMeat/GroundMeatTranscript.htm
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:11 pm
@eoe,
eoe wrote:
When i was a kid, my mother made our hamburgers using regular ground beef well-seasoned with salt, pepper, diced onions and raw eggs. By the time she was done, you could eat it raw, which I often did.
Man. There's nothing better than a mama-burger.


That is the kind of home-made burger I had experience with, and without the eggs (which I don't mind much myself) it always ended up as a stir fry for me.

I think I'll have to skip the diced onions if I skip the eggs.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:12 pm
@chai2,
Sorry, I meant this as an answer to Robert, but was also answering Chai. I got confused there..




Well, I like getting any ground meat I buy from a butcher I trust, re contamination and their general sources. That's true for any meat, but especially ground beef. I didn't know the business about not freezing the meat, as Roger mention re Spinn's restaurant, but that makes some sense re protein breakdown. I prefer Harris Ranch (California) beef , but that's out of my league re price. They have it at our local Sunflower Market.
I'm pretty saturated fat avoidant, but I like it in my burgers.
I agree with you on high heat/pink in the middle.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:15 pm
@sozobe,
Nice, I think he convinced me not to make a Homer-car out of the burger by reinforcing what Osso said eariler:

Quote:
Next up, seasoning. And we only need one thing, salt. Kosher salt. I'd say about half a teaspoon for a pound of meat.

That's all. No herbs. No chopped onions. No garlic. No soup mix. No mysteries. Just salt. Why? Well because it actually seasons the meat. Makes it taste beefier as opposed to herby or shallot-y or garlic-y or anything like that. Any other flavors that want to hitch a ride can wait to ride on the bun.


The idea of grinding the meat myself is also an interesting one, just don't know if I'll cook this often enough to merit one.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:17 pm
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
I use the leanest meat I can find and mix feta cheese into it.


Great, now I'm back to considering a Homer-burger. That actually sounds delicious, kinda like a steak and blue cheese thing but with less obnoxious cheese (I really like feta).

I think I'll try a cheese incorporation (in Delaware as I always do, of course) once I nail a basic salt/meat one.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:28 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Looking at your post more closely, Robert, you can use ground chuck or ground sirloin. I'm fine with the chuck; that old friend preferred to have sirloin ground by the butcher. The increase in contamination of ground meat with an E. coli variant (a gut bacterium, I can't remember if stomach or colon, but probably colon) can make having a steak of some sort ground by your butcher a good idea.
A lot of the instances of contamination seem to show up in prepackaged patties, which I've never purchased. I trust my butcher's trays of ground-at-that-location beef, so I use that for my rarish burgers. I sometimes use grocery store packaged ground beef - the kind that comes wrapped as one or two pounds - for meatloaf, because I'll cook that more thoroughly.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:31 pm
@Robert Gentel,
On bagels, mmmm, I don't know. I'd prefer something like a good french baguette or the like. I've been known to use italian hearthbread, the kind that has no preservatives, is pretty dense, pretty tasty. La Brea bakery makes a good one, but it probably hasn't made it to Costa Rica yet. You never know, since it's here in Albuquerque.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Yeah, on the mixed meats. Long ago, Craig Claiborne had a newspaper article for different meatball recipes, often a mix pork and beef, or pork and veal - I forget all the variations but liked all those recipes.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:37 pm
@dyslexia,
Snort. Here I was being good and not saying anything about Roger's favoring charcoal pellets.
Furthermore, Spinns has the worst hamburger buns on earth.
0 Replies
 
KiwiChic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:40 pm
I have always made my own burger patties and especially for the BBQ season, I dont measure anything as I never do, I cant stand the supermarket ones and this is how I make mine:
Lean minced meat
Crushed Garlic (not powder)
Salt or Black sauce
Pepper
Diced Onion or spring Onions
Chilli Powder or Chilli Paste or Diced Chilli (can be omitted)
Curry Powder (Teaspoon)
BBQ Sauce or any Tomato Sauce
Diced Parsley or Chives
1 egg
Breadcrumbs (cup)

Mix it all together, using the breadcrumbs to get your consistency.
For the buns I use Baguettes.

Hope this may help!



0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:41 pm
I haven't read the entire thread closely so maybe this has already been mentioned. The way to avoid your burgers turning into large meatballs is to press your thumb into the top of the burger before cooking. It makes a small well in the top that allows the shape of the burger to return to flat rather than rise up in the center as it cooks. I usually make large burgers (not more than 3/lb) and make them oval shaped. I press my thumb into the center of the top or use the side of my hand lengthwise through the patty before cooking.

Also, for indoor cooking a grill pan works great. Better than a frying pan because the grill bottom lifts the burger out of the fat. Your GF grill probably has a similar advantage but I've never used one.

One last thing... don't turn your burgers more than once. If you're determined to have criss-cross grill marks then you can give the first side a 1/4 turn half-way through it's cooking time and then do the same thing on the other side.

How long it takes for each side depends on the temp you're using and the size of your burger. For my large 1/3 lb burgers I cook each side 5-6 mins for medium over medium high heat.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Thu 25 Jun, 2009 03:50 pm
@JPB,
I didn't know about that thumb business, good tip. Agree re timing, though I use less for myself. Agree with turning only once.
0 Replies
 
 

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