Author Topic: May is National Hamburger Month  (Read 11946 times)

Offline phillamb168

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #45 on: May 06, 2011, 06:45:20 am »

Overcooking using what method? 

I've been overcooking lately on both methods (grill and skillet)

For cast iron, do you use high or medium flame? I've been using high, but I seem to wait too long for that perfect crust and wind up overdoing it - closer to well done than medium which is what I'm targeting.

For grilling, I've been trying to hit it with a high flame for ~1 min to get a nice char and then move to the low flame side to finish cooking, but again I seem to wait too long.

This thread has prompted me to make burgers tomorrow night - I might make one using each method.



I like my burgers to have a little bit of 'overhang' on the bun so I usually go with a thinner 1/2 #/250g burger.

Here's what I do on cast iron: first, get 2 really strong metal spatulas and a new (clean!) paint scraper with a metal blade.
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IMO the trick to cooking on cast iron is to get it as hot as possible. If you use gas burners for your boil kettle, put the cast iron on that and crank it up to crazy heat time. Thing is, if you want a great crust on cast iron, you gotta use the smash and scrape method. Form your burgers in whatever weight you want, and then (gently) roll each one into an elongated cylinder. They shouldn't have much diameter but should still be able to hold their shape standing up.

Once the iron is hot (no oil needed) sprinkle salt and pepper on a burger and put one on the iron, circle side down. Immediately take your two spatulas, one in each hand, and smash the burger down onto the pan. Knowing how much pressure takes a bit of experimentation. Now, don't touch it! Let it sit there. Then depending on the size of your burger and how well you want it cooked, use the paint scraper and scrape the whole thing off. Again this takes experimentation to get right, you don't want much left in the pan when you scrape it off. Flip, smash again (although a bit less pressure), put on yer cheese or whatnot, wait a couple minutes, put on a bun. You'll get the crust for sure.

Sorry for the super long posts, I love talking about this stuff. FIRE! MEAT! BEER!
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #46 on: May 06, 2011, 07:06:58 am »
So no tartar/mett for you then? I love that stuff, especially mett. Hackepter and Wöllnitzer Weißbier at Gasthausbrauerei Talschänke in Jena is one of the more memorable meals I've had.
I can do tartare if it is the sliced kind but not the minced kind.  I've never heard of mett, but based on descriptions I just read I'm going to say no thanks :)

sliced raw beef = carpaccio ;-)

As long as we're talking tartare, I think my favorite tartare is TUNA tartare. Deeeelicious. Next to that, there's a place near the Hôtel de Ville which does amazing tartare, quail egg on top, capers, onion, parsley on the side. Fries on a separate plate. Nom nom.
I stand corrected. :)  Or do I? ;D  You're right though, the sliced raw beef I've had was carpaccio.

For raw meat, especially tuna, I prefer poke.  It beats sushi even.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #47 on: May 06, 2011, 07:45:58 am »
So no tartar/mett for you then? I love that stuff, especially mett. Hackepter and Wöllnitzer Weißbier at Gasthausbrauerei Talschänke in Jena is one of the more memorable meals I've had.
I can do tartare if it is the sliced kind but not the minced kind.  I've never heard of mett, but based on descriptions I just read I'm going to say no thanks :)

sliced raw beef = carpaccio ;-)

As long as we're talking tartare, I think my favorite tartare is TUNA tartare. Deeeelicious. Next to that, there's a place near the Hôtel de Ville which does amazing tartare, quail egg on top, capers, onion, parsley on the side. Fries on a separate plate. Nom nom.
I stand corrected. :)  Or do I? ;D  You're right though, the sliced raw beef I've had was carpaccio.

For raw meat, especially tuna, I prefer poke.  It beats sushi even.

Going down that road, all I have to say is ceviche.

With fried yucca and that deliciously NON-Peruvian mayonnaise/salsa verde mixture to dip it in.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #48 on: May 06, 2011, 08:08:33 am »
Going down that road, all I have to say is ceviche.

With fried yucca and that deliciously NON-Peruvian mayonnaise/salsa verde mixture to dip it in.
Ceviche is good and everything, but it's no poke.  ;D
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Offline blatz

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #49 on: May 06, 2011, 01:14:52 pm »
awesome guys - I'm drooling for dinner and its only 9am!

thanks for the tips - will let you know how it goes.
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Offline Beer Monger

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2011, 01:54:28 pm »
First rule for me is good meat. But for the love of pete don't buy wagyu or kobe or prime rib or filet mignon or some such crazy thing and GRIND IT.

My blend is: 50% well-marbled chuck, 23% oxtail, 25% sirloin, 2% pork belly (raw, uncured). If I can't get pork belly I use hickory or maple-smoked slab bacon (thick cut, meaning ~1/2" sections, one slice typically).


Didn't want to fill the page quoting you back, but wow.  You really get into it. 

Do you prefer an electric or hand-crank grinder?  I have a couple of old hand-crank ones.  I have never ground my own meat for a burger, but you've inspired me.  I will before this summer is out.  Preferably before this month is out!  ;) 

I am totally OCD when it comes to cooking, and especially burgers. I could probably stage at El Bulli or something, although I take FOREVER to get things done...

I use a hand-cranked one. It takes more time, but there's no motor to wear out, unless my arm breaks or something. Garage sales or craigslist are the way to go. Mine was new, but it's the same cast iron model as the ones in thousands of grandmothers' kitchens.

Also a worthy electricity-free investment: manual sausage stuffer. It takes more work, but it's nice to know you can still make sausage when the world ends.

My hand-crank, antique but mint contidion grinder and the dies for it are sitting in the freezer as I type this.  ;D 

I may break down and do it tonight instead of Sunday.  The only real plans I have for tonight are a few errands on the way home from work (I already got my cider bottled to make fridge space for my Oktoberfest Lager on Saturday).  I guess I can add two more errands to stop for: 1. Some sirlion, some chuck, some slab bacon and maybe some oxtail.  2. Fresh lettuce, onions and tomatoes, cheese and the perfect buns. 

Damn, now I'm hungry for dinner too, and where I am it's only 6:55AM!  lol
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #51 on: May 06, 2011, 02:39:08 pm »
It goes against conventional wisdom, but hey, that's what I'm all about: if you find your burgers are overcooked by the time it takes to get the crust you want, then have you considered chilling the patties before you put them in the pan?  The only other thing I can think of is to make them a bit thicker.

Cast iron, medium-hot for me. And I use a little oil.  Heresy, I know.  I don't want them burned, and I don't want them to stick to the pan.  Yes, it's a well-seasoned Lodge pan, but you can get things to stick if you try.

In general, when I fry something in a pan, I'm looking mostly for the oil to not be on fire, and the tone of the sizzle to be lively but not angry.  Food usually releases when it's cooked as long as you don't move it around.  Touch the food to check doneness.

I'm sure other ways work.  With the weather cooperating, I'm more likely to have them on the grill now.  I use the pan when it's cold or raining.
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Offline blatz

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #52 on: May 06, 2011, 02:51:41 pm »
gordon - chilling might be the answer - I guess I've always figured it was like steak where you want them out for 30-40 min before cooking - but that may help - will try tonight.

planning on grilling two and making two in the skillet on the side burner to compare- weather is too beautiful to not be outside.
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Offline dbeechum

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #53 on: May 06, 2011, 02:54:15 pm »
I don't know if my  tricks have already been mentioned, but here they are:

- add a panade to the meat mixture. For that I take 2 slices of good thick white sandwich bread for every 1.5 lb of ground 80/20, remove the crusts and process into big crumbs. I then mix that with a small amount of high fat dairy until the bread is thoroughly wet, but there's no loose liquid in the bowl

 - After mixing the panade and a little Worcestershire sauce thoroughly with the meat, I'll break the meat into X even portions (where X is the number of target burgers) and shape gently using thumb pressure to make the burger look more like a pizza crust (thick rim, skinny middle).

 - Into the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and firm up and then a hot as hell grill or cast iron griddle.
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #54 on: May 06, 2011, 06:33:36 pm »
sliced bread also happens to be an excellent way to clean a meat grinder - when everything is done, just run a few pieces through and it's way easier to clean
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #55 on: May 06, 2011, 06:43:11 pm »
I heard someone recommend running some wadded up Saran Wrap through it too.  Never tried it, so I don't know how well that works.
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Offline blatz

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2011, 04:13:40 pm »
made the burgers friday night - keeping cold till ready to cook helped immensely - nice and pink in the middle!

Still undecided on if grilling or skillet - they were both incredible and it was a little tough to actually distinguish aside from the grill marks.

thanks for the tips!
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #57 on: May 09, 2011, 04:35:13 pm »
Excellent.  Glad it worked for you.
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Offline maxieboy

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #58 on: May 09, 2011, 08:56:26 pm »
made the burgers friday night - keeping cold till ready to cook helped immensely - nice and pink in the middle!

Still undecided on if grilling or skillet - they were both incredible and it was a little tough to actually distinguish aside from the grill marks.

thanks for the tips!

Burgers on the grill(charcoal of course) are WAY better than in the skillet IMO. Use some soaked mesquite chips to send them over the top...
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Offline blatz

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Re: May is National Hamburger Month
« Reply #59 on: May 09, 2011, 08:58:48 pm »
Burgers on the grill(charcoal of course) are WAY better than in the skillet IMO. Use some soaked mesquite chips to send them over the top...

I got home from work late and didn't have time to break out my Weber, I grilled on my gas one.  Doh...
The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have.

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