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Unread 06-02-2013, 03:38 PM   #1
wilson1010
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Revisiting the Simple Burger

Recently, I have tired of all of the complexity of burger recipes and longed for the return of simpler times when a burger was a burger. I suppose part of the problem is the tasteless ground meat one finds today. Lean and formulaic, I can barely eat a plain burger.

So, I started with a meat recipe. 70& ground chuck roast (I picked one from the butcher with plenty of fat and with the gristle removed), 30% ground boneless short ribs with plenty of fat on. Now most of you know how good rib roast fat is, and that's the flavor we are looking for.

Then, a really thin burger. Take a 1/2 pound each, flatten between wax paper with a pie plate until it is about 8" in diameter and 1/2" thiick. Don't touch them with the hands or squeeze them. Just pound to flatten.

I used a store rub from the little spice guy in the outdoor market. Typical stuff: cumin, garlic, pepper, chipotle, cayenne, coriander, etc. Sprinkled sparingly. Warm to room temperature.


A really hot fire of cowboy charcoal and hickory chunks. Gates of hell.

On they go. Flames everywhere. Without a long handled spatula and a glove to the elbow they would have been lost. About a minute and a half, each side.

Now the buns are a problem. Where to get a real bun, thin and airy enough to make a good burger. Good luck. I just bought mine off a guy with a gourmet food truck who bakes his own buns. Part slider, part ciabatta. Toasted face down, five seconds, maybe.

No sauce, no bacon, no mustard. Just a big slice of raw vidalia onion.

Not a complex burger, but very satisfying. Oozing juices. The bun saturated. I think its all in the meat.

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Unread 06-02-2013, 04:55 PM   #2
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Mmm, simplistic in nature but damn that sounds tasty. I agree ,try to find a quality bun these days. They are either overly preserved or crumbly.
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Unread 06-02-2013, 06:51 PM   #3
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Agree. I can't stand a burger that is shaped like a baseball and a bun with three inches of bread.

IMHO, the best burgers are cooked on a flat top.

I like a fairly thin patty. Sometimes cooked on top of onions low and slow like a white castle slider. Most of the time just over medium heat in a cast iron pan, salt and pepper only, on a soft white bun with pickles and mustard. Maybe American cheese but only the deli style, not the cello wrapped "cheez"

George Motz knows how to do it.

http://www.travelchannel.com/interes...ed-motz-burger
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Unread 06-02-2013, 11:37 PM   #4
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Everybody has different taste and can vary on any day.

I like In-N-Out some days and my own grilled burgers others. I'm not a fan of raw onions on burgers, so you lost me there and our local Whole Foods and Meat Shop have excellent patties, so not sure about where you live. Tons of independent bakeries here too with good buns.


My point being: good to see you're taking burgers seriously, but tastes vary and access to good meat + buns varies by location.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 04:47 AM   #5
wilson1010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DangFoo View Post
Everybody has different taste and can vary on any day.

I like In-N-Out some days and my own grilled burgers others. I'm not a fan of raw onions on burgers, so you lost me there and our local Whole Foods and Meat Shop have excellent patties, so not sure about where you live. Tons of independent bakeries here too with good buns.


My point being: good to see you're taking burgers seriously, but tastes vary and access to good meat + buns varies by location.
I think that you are getting my point exactly.

The In N Out burger is the endpoint, the lowest common denominator, if you will, of everything I am weary of in burgers. Endless components (In N Out even has a series of secret menu items) which each detract in their own way from the basic burger. And, if a couple of slices of local bacon or some Jarlsberg Swiss detract, which is my argument, imagine what a couple of slices of the crappiest american cheese, a styrofoam bun or a hot house tomato like In N Out uses will do to that basic burger.

So, you have hit the nail on the head. Of course you do not have to have a raw Vidalia onion on the burger. Try a real Polish dill pickle perhaps. But, in the end, I think it is about the meat and the bread. And, as you say, one does not have to live in Ohio or Kansas to get these wholesome ingredients. Certainly, it is possible to get locally raised and slaughtered beef even in S.F.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 10:55 AM   #6
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It's extremely rare that I buy ground beef for burgers anymore. 99% of the time I grind my own from a quality cut. I try to keep the seasonings simple: salt, pepper, maybe some garlic powder and a dash of Worcestershire. I have a hamburger press I use to make patties, I usually will make them 1/2"-3/4" or so thick.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 11:46 AM   #7
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Ground sirloin mixed with a little ground bacon, 1/2LBS, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled till its cooked through.
Bakery quality bun, toasted on the grill.
Lettuce, tomato, onion, Cheese, ketchup, and mustard.
Some times, cooked bacon and BBQ sauce.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 12:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDDAVE View Post
Groung sirloin mixed with a little ground bacon, 1/2LBS, seasoned with salt and pepper, grilled till its cooked through.
Bakery quality bun, toasted on the grill.
Lettuce, tomatoe, onion, Cheese, ketchup, and mustard.
Some times, cooked bacon and BBQ sauce.
I have always been interested in the difference between the rendering point of bacon and that of beef. It seems to take a lot of heat to have bacon give up its fat, but then the solid bacon fat turns back into a liquid at body temperature. Hard to understand that.

Beef fat is rendering out of the meat way below what it takes for bacon.

Do you have an understanding of this process? I've been using beef short ribs so the fat is running everywhere by the time a burger get to medium. Does the bacon fat render out at that temperature? Seems unlikely given how bacon is oven cooks at much higher temperatures than beef.

Tell me what you know.

BTW, ground sirloin is my least favorite beef for grinding. I don't even like the consistency of it in a burger, much less the dryness of it. No offense, but I think you might want to try some alternatives.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 05:39 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wilson1010 View Post
I have always been interested in the difference between the rendering point of bacon and that of beef. It seems to take a lot of heat to have bacon give up its fat, but then the solid bacon fat turns back into a liquid at body temperature. Hard to understand that.

Beef fat is rendering out of the meat way below what it takes for bacon.

Do you have an understanding of this process? I've been using beef short ribs so the fat is running everywhere by the time a burger get to medium. Does the bacon fat render out at that temperature? Seems unlikely given how bacon is oven cooks at much higher temperatures than beef.

Tell me what you know.

BTW, ground sirloin is my least favorite beef for grinding. I don't even like the consistency of it in a burger, much less the dryness of it. No offense, but I think you might want to try some alternatives.
Slaters 50/50 does it with bacon. If it were me I would par cook the bacon first. I just threw out ground sirloin, because anything else with bacon, tooooo much fat!
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Unread 06-03-2013, 06:37 PM   #10
wilson1010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDDAVE View Post
Slaters 50/50 does it with bacon. If it were me I would par cook the bacon first. I just threw out ground sirloin, because anything else with bacon, tooooo much fat!
Well, I'm definitely going to try that first with raw ground bacon. There is never too much fat in a burger for me as long as it melts.

Beef fat will melt in your hands while you are working the raw patties if one is not careful. I just don't like the texture of sirloin (or tenderloin) for a burger.

Those short ribs have a lot of fat. And, the fat has the flavor.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:19 PM   #11
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Mix 2/3 ground beef with 1/3 ground pork. Add quality garlic powder, a little salt, onion powder, and red pepper. Cook until its cooked all the way through with no pink at all but not over cooked.

Spread garlic butter on the buns then toast them.

Dress the rest of it to your liking.

Here is a tip. Store bought tomatoes usually are bland and taste like plastic. Obviously there is no substitute for home grown vine ripened tomatoes, but there is something you can do. Apply a little ketchup to store bought tomatoes will enhance them. Something else I Have read about is using fried or grilled grilled green tomatoes on burgers, but have not tried that myself.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 09:50 PM   #12
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I got to agree with jbolty here .

Although I am a big grilling guy some of the best burgers and steaks can be cooked in very hot cast iron pans or low and slow on a grill .
A quicky burger on a grill does not have the smoke taste that I want if I am grilling .

Prot, I like useing a 1/3 mix with hot ground pork sausage too .

Yum .
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Unread 06-03-2013, 10:16 PM   #13
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It all comes down to using quality meat and treating it well and simply. No one would drown a prime rib or t bone in A1 sauce, because it does not need it. There is nothing inherently wrong with mixing in seasonings or marinades but there is no substitute for the beefy taste of beef cooked to perfection with just a little salt.

I do like a little shredded lettuce but I save the tomatoes for the BLT. But if I want a little extra something on my burger a little mayo on the bottom bun with some mild or medium salsa is a nice touch.
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Unread 06-03-2013, 10:51 PM   #14
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I am not to picky on how to make/serve them but a healthy piece of raw onion in the mix is a must .
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Unread 06-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #15
wilson1010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbolty View Post
It all comes down to using quality meat and treating it well and simply. No one would drown a prime rib or t bone in A1 sauce, because it does not need it. There is nothing inherently wrong with mixing in seasonings or marinades but there is no substitute for the beefy taste of beef cooked to perfection with just a little salt.
^^^This
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