While trying to figure out what to cook Friday, I was inspired by Kristi’s Bacon and Gruyere Burger on her blog Necessary Indulgences. The whole drive home, I was thinking of different kinds of cheeses I could use. Maybe a blue cheese? I could always do Swiss, but that sounded boring. American? Too plain. Colby jack, Monterey jack and pepper jack all came to mind, but were dismissed. Cotija? Wonder how that would work. Havarti? For some reason that one kept coming to mind.
After letting the boys out to take care of their business (and by boys I mean Olie, our German Shepherd, and Bodi, our Yorkie. Weird combo, huh?), I gave Mrs. G a quick phone call to see if there was anything we needed at the store. She informed me we needed buns and meat and maybe some wine. I quickly added onions to the list (as I remember hearing her say the other night when she was cooking that we were out. See? Sometimes us guys listen) and ketchup and off to the store I went.
I could have just picked up some ground beef at the store, but lately with all the stories in the news about pink slime, I steered clear of it. Not to mention you have no idea what kind of meat is going into it. Plus, what fun is buying ground meat when you can do it yourself? Last time we ground meat (HERE) I used about a 3:1 ratio of chuck to skirt steak. Why skirt steak, I really have no idea. While it was good, I didn’t want to do that again. I found a nice chuck roast that weighed about 3 lbs. That would be the base of my burger, but what else could I use? Looking through the meat section, I came across some beef short ribs. I thought these would add some nice fat to burger, keeping it nice and juicy, and would give it an extra beefy flavor. So the chuck was joined by a little over 1 lb of short ribs. Once again, this would give me a 3:1 ratio.
I won’t go into much detail about grinding the beef. I covered that in my first attempt at grinding burgers, as well as in the sausage making. I will restate that heat is your enemy and to keep you meat and the metal parts of your grinder chilled. For this batch of ground beef, I used a medium grind plate (3/8″) and ground the meat twice. After removing the bones from the beef ribs and grinding the meat, we were left with 3lbs 6 ozs meat. Not wanting to do any more math, I just separated it into 3 batches and called it done. Two batches were sealed and placed in the freezer for a later date, leaving us with a little over a pound to make burgers with.
We like to make our patties about 1/3lb. We’ve found that 1/4lb just isn’t enough for us and 1/2 would be way to big. 1/3 pound is just about right. This time, Mrs. G she insisted that I finally learn how to do it make hamburger patties. Turned out to not be that difficult, just something she’s always done. Kind of odd that I never really learned how to do it by now. We kept the seasoning of the burgers simple so we could judge the taste of the meat. Just some salt and pepper on the outside.
We cooked the burgers on the Egg at 500F for about 3 minutes and gave them a flip.
A couple more minutes and my trusty Thermapen showed that we were approaching our desired temp of 145F (when you grind your own meat, and you know that everything is clean and sterile, you don’t have to worry as much about cooking to a higher temp to kill off any germs or bacteria). Now it was time to toast the buns and melt the cheese. Remember the cheese? All those great ideas I had for wonderful, flavorful cheeses? Well, cheese never made it onto the shopping list!! So we were reduced to digging through the cheese and meat bin of our fridge to see what we had on hand.
Mrs. G decided on some American cheese (really the only reason we have this cheese in the house is so I can make grilled cheese sandwiches) and I went with some some grated medium cheddar that was leftover from something or other. That other burger? The one with no cheese? That would be for my lunch the next day.
This just may have been the best burger we have made yet! That first bite was like a beef explosion in my mouth. And I just smiled as juices dripped out of the burger and ran down my hands. Pure bliss. If a good burger can’t get you smiling, then there just might be something wrong with you.
Was it the perfect burger? Hard to say, but you can be sure we’ll continue experimenting and trying out new things in that quest to find the perfect burger. I’ve already got some other ideas in mind. I wonder how brisket would work in a burger…..