“I had my doubts, but I have to say…this really was a revelatory meal for me. I need to buy a grinder.” – Brandon W., guest at my house last weekend.
Brandon and I both learned a good lesson last weekend. Though I’ve known better for a while – an argument that could be made for many of the things that I do – I have re-discovered the difference that it makes when you grind your own meat.
A few months ago, I received some mail from my Grandmother-in-law containing a cut out article from The Wall Street Journal including the recipe for Holeman & Finch’s 10 p.m. burger. Though my kitchen has been pretty well stocked with rarely used gadgets for years, it was only after the recent deluge of wedding gifts that I actually got my hands on a grinder. Thankfully, I hung onto the recipe and finally decided to try it out.
Much like many of the recipes that I use, I went completely off-book. Granted, some of this was intentional, and some was oversight. Though I didn’t replicate the H&F burger recipe, it served as an inspiration to grind my own patties, and that is more than half the battle.
For my burgers, I went 50% beef brisket and 50% dry-aged chuck blade roast. (DISCLAIMER: It has been brought to my attention that it was somewhat reckless to use dry-aged beef in a grind. It didn’t cause any issues for us, but do so at your own risk) It is a pretty simple process, and doesn’t add that much in the way of labor. The cost of 1 lb each of the brisket and chuck roast was only a few dollars more than ground sirloin, and the entire trimming, cutting, and grinding process only took about twenty minutes.
Start things off by trimming any extra gristle from the meat and cutting into 1-2 inch cubes. Mix up the cubed meat and grind. Gently press into patties and season with kosher salt and pepper on each side.
From there, I stuck with H&F’s recommendation to cook the patties in a hot cast-iron pan over medium high heat, briefly pressing the patties with a spatula after the first 10 seconds in the pan. Flip after 2 minutes, wait 10 more seconds, and press again. Another two minutes and the burger should be done.
If you’ve never tried grinding your own burgers, I highly recommend it. It allows a lot of freedom with you meat. Feel like mixing up the cuts of beef? Go for it. Do you want to add a little more fat to your grind? Throw some extra in there. Play with the recipe and see what you like.
Do you grind your own meat at home? If so, what is your favorite blend of cuts?
- By Jon Watson, Food & More blog