Epic Burger Ground Beef
As we said in last week's recipe post, we were on the quest for making the best burger possible starting with our own blend of ground beef. Once we picked out a grinder, we were ready to experiment. We tried all kinds of cuts of beef, but being partial to the flavor of round roasts and never wanting to go without brisket in our lives, we knew those two were already finalists. Both are a great source of lean meat (unless you get to the point part of the brisket) and we needed fat. We knew we wanted two types of fat since everyone knows that fat is where the flavor comes from (again, stealing from last week's recipe, with the exception of Chain Reaction®, of course). We ended up picking beef short rib and brisket point for our "hard fat," the fat that doesn't render quite so easily, and bacon for our "soft fat," the fat that melts like butter. Each works in combination with the other to add both texture as well as flavor and overall juiciness. The ratios of each took some tinkering and because you can't really effectively calculate the exact ratio of lean to fat, there's a little guesswork in this and after you've done the process a couple times, it gets really easy.
Some tips we learned along the way follow. First, chill everything even before you cut. It helps make it easier to cut and also much easier to grind. Particularly the bacon. Trust us on this. Not frozen, but cold. Really cold. Second, resist handling the ground meat. Try to touch it as little as possible. One of the truly beautiful things about grinding your own beef for burgers is that you get mounds of "fluffy" non-compressed beef that hasn't been stuffed into a container and already smashed within an inch of its processed life. Gentle and sparse handling is a key element to getting juicy burgers. The air gaps fill with rendered fat during the cook yielding super juicy burgers. Third, weigh everything as you go and season after the first pass through the grinder. Weighing and working in small portions helps reduce handling and seasoning after the first pass, but before the second pass through the grinder allows the grinding process to further mix and distribute the seasoning. Fourth, gently hand mixing in the jalapeños and cheese right before making the patties lets you keep those bite-sized chunks and show off the fact the burgers are homemade. Finally, weighing and using a burger press ensures uniform size and shape (consistent cook times) and reduces the chances of over-handling or over compressing the final burger patty.
As always, from our table to yours... #SpiceConfidently #EssenceOfFlavor #ChemistryInTheKitchen #CasaMSpice
— Mike Hernandez
For the Ground Beef:
- 2 pounds of chuck or round roast
- 1 pound beef short rib meat
- 1 pound brisket (flat end)
- 1 pound bacon
- 3 Tablespoons Casa M Spice Co® Chain Reaction®
- 1 Tablespoon black pepper, freshly ground
- 5 jalapeño chiles, seeded, and diced fine
- 10 oz Cheddar Cheese, coarse grate
Gentle and sparse handling is a key element to getting juicy burgers. The air gaps fill with rendered fat during the cook yielding super juicy burgers.- Mike Hernandez
LET’S GET COOKING
Start with cold meat. If it's not cold, put it into the freezer for 20-30 minutes at a time until it's very cold. Cut the meat up into pieces that will easily go through your grinder or fit into your food processor if you're using that instead of a grinder.
Fit your grinder with a medium die and pass the meat through the grinder mixing up the meat as you feed the grinder such that the resulting first pass of meat is blending on its own as it passes through the grinder. Collect the ground meat on a cookie sheet or large bowl. Don't handle it too much!
Here we got a little obsessive. Because you don't want to handle the meat too much, we combined (mixed well) and then weighed the Chain Reaction® and black pepper and divided by 5 to get a weight per pound of ground beef. We then weighed out 5 individual portions of first grind ground beef, making sure not to compress it, and sprinkled the appropriate amount of Chain Reaction® and black pepper to each and then GENTLY mixed with our fingertips only..
Pass the mixed, seasoned first pass ground beef back through the grinder a second time. Collect the resulting finished ground beef on your cookie sheet or bowl. Again, Don't handle it too much!
Weigh the whole batch of finished, seasoned ground beef, then portion out into ~1 pound individual portions. Add 1 diced jalapeno and 2 oz of shredded Cheddar Cheese to each portion and mix very GENTLY with your fingers (not hands).
Again, weigh out the whole batch with cheese and jalapeno added, then divide by 6 or 7 (depending on how big you want your burgers). We used a burger press we got from Amazon to form the patties to ensure they were uniform size and shape and make sure we weren't compressing them too much. We highly recommend that process.
Gently, without compressing, weigh out individual portions (6 or 7oz whatever you decided on) onto burger paper. Place a second piece of burger paper on top, move to the burger press, and lightly press to form the burger. Remove it from the press and stack onto a cookie sheet or platter.
These burgers are now ready to go. Because they have salt in them already from the Chain Reaction® they cannot stay in the refrigerator more than 24 hours, but they freeze and thaw quite well.