March 29, 2012 at 8:10 am (Recipes, Techniques)
Tags: Alton Brown, Beef, burger, cast iron griddle, Chuck, food processor, Good Eats, griddle pan, grinding your own hamburger, ground beef, hamburger, recipe, sirloin
If a picture is worth a thousand words, need I say more than this?
After watching an episode of Good Eats, I was convinced that I needed to buy a cast iron griddle and grind my own hamburger. And, boy, am I glad I did.
This, my friends, is the best hamburger you’ve ever tasted. Made right in your own kitchen. No pink slime; no mystery meat; and no seasonings other than Kosher salt.
The Perfect Burger (based on recipe by Alton Brown)
- 12 ounces chuck
- 12 ounces sirloin
- 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 4 hamburger buns
- freshly ground black pepper
- Lightly oil cast iron griddle. Preheat griddle over medium-high heat.
- Trim chuck of excess fat and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Place chuck in food processor and pulse 10 times in 1-second intervals. Scrape meat into large bowl.
- Repeat with sirloin, adding to bowl with chuck after grinding.
- Add salt to meat and mix well with clean hands by lifting the meat from underneath and turning it over, being careful not to squish or compress meat.
- Shape meat into 5- to 5 1/2-ounce patties by forming into balls, tossing gently back and forth from hand to hand, then shaping each patty gently, again without pressing meat very much.
- Place patties on preheated griddle pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 5 minutes per side for medium, turning only once during cooking and resisting the urge to press down on the patties while they cook. (This is not a diner, and your name’s not Mel. Pressing the patties while they cook only serves to squish out all the delicious juiciness. Also, because the meat is freshly ground and not full of who-knows-what, the patties do not need to be cooked beyond medium.)
- While the patties are cooking, prepare hamburger buns by spreading the bottom bun with mayonnaise and topping with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper. The juices from the burger will mix with the mayo and pepper to make the most delicious “sauce” you can imagine.
- When the burgers are done cooking, place on buns, adorn with desired toppings, and enjoy.
Makes 4 burgers
The first time I made these, I didn’t add any toppings, as I wanted to taste them unadorned with just the mayo, pepper, and burger “sauce”. I can’t describe how good it was this way. Juicy, tender, and oh-so-meaty tasting.
I think what sets this recipe apart from any other burger I’ve tried is the “meatiness” of it. The freshly ground beef, the lack of overpowering seasonings, and the minimal toppings all let the meat flavor shine through.
Give it a try. It’s easier than you think to create the most flavorful, meaty burger you’ve ever had. But be warned: you may never be able to go back to store-bought ground beef again.
March 20, 2012 at 8:36 am (Baking with Julia, Bread Baking, Dorie Greenspan, Holiday Baking, Quick Bread, Tuesdays wit Dorie)
Tags: Baking with Julia, Dorie Greenspan, Irish soda bread, quick bread, Soda bread, St Patrick's Day, Tuesdays With Dorie
Although I’ve recently had to cut back on my baking/blogging commitments, I’ve been toying with joining the second round of Tuesdays with Dorie since it was announced. I bought the book Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan a while ago but hadn’t made anything from it yet. So when a group was announced to regularly bake recipes from the book, I was sorely tempted to join. What finally tipped the scales was the fact that there would only be two recipes per month, and members are only required to post one of the two. A once a month commitment fits even my schedule, so I decided to jump in.
The other thing that helped me decide was the second recipe for March: Irish soda bread. I love Irish soda bread and make it regularly, especially around this time of year. In fact, by the time I saw this pick for March 20, I had already made two soda breads: one from a Bob’s Red Mill mix and the other Irish whiskey soda bread from my friend Michele’s blog. I ended up taking these loaves to work, where they were both big hits, so I needed to make another loaf for home for St. Patrick’s Day. What better way to ease into TWD than baking something I was going to make anyway?
This is a very simple recipe. There are only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The dry ingredients get whisked together, then the buttermilk is stirred in and the whole thing is formed into a loaf. After slashing the top of the loaf with the traditional cross-shaped pattern, it goes into a 375°F oven for about 50 minutes.
This loaf baked up beautifully and looked like a traditional soda bread. We had already had dinner by the time I made it, so I ate a piece of the bread with butter for an evening snack. It came out a bit dry for my liking. I didn’t check the temperature of the loaf during or after baking, so I’m not sure if it overbaked or if that texture was to be expected. There is almost no fat in the bread, so I’m not surprised it came out kind of dry.
As far as the flavor goes, it was just so-so. The buttermilk gave it a nice tang, but otherwise it was a bit bland. Of the three soda breads I made this week, this came in third in both flavor and texture. Others have reported liking it more than I, so I might try it again sometime. But for now, it’s definitely not a contender to become my go-to soda bread recipe.