If you want a burger with superior flavor, you need to freshly grind the meat yourself – it’s as simple as that. The process is not only easier than most people think, but also makes the moistest and most flavorful burgers. The contrast to burgers made from pre ground chuck will be astounding. You’ll need to pick up a meat grinder attachment for your food processor at a kitchen store.
Second option is to have your local butcher grind fatty chunk, like 20 percent fat. If they don’t have it, kindly ask your nice butcher to add fat to regular chuck; fat equals flavor and there’s no better place for it than in a burger.
Ok, you will also need to mix the meat in a standing electric mixer. It may sound odd, but an old butcher trick is to add a couple of tablespoons of ice water to the meat. As the burger cooks, the water steams, making the burgers juicier. With all of this love and attention to the meat, I don’t think it’s necessary to mix a bunch of stuff into the ground beef, like chives, Worcestershire sauce, or exotics like shaved truffles. This meaty burger is as Genuine as you can get!
Michael’s Genuine Burger with House Smoked Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Recipe
Michael’s Genuine Burger Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, freshly ground
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 8 slices white cheddar cheese
- 4 large brioche hamburger buns, split
- Cooked Maple Cured Bacon (recipe below) or store-bought, for serving
- Butter lettuce, sliced tomato, and red onion, for serving
- Ketchup, mayonnaise, and Dijon mustard, for serving
Michaels’ Genuine Burger Directions:
Step 1: Put the freshly ground beef in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add 2 tablespoons of ice water and mix on low speed for 30 seconds.
Step 2: Gently hand shape the ground beef into 4 balls, 6 ounces each is about right. Don’t pack the meat too tightly — you’re not making snowballs here. Too much pressure will give you a tough burger.
Step 3: Place a large flat-top griddle pan on 2 burners over medium-high heat. Season both sides of burgers generously with salt and pepper and drizzle the tops with a little oil. Put the burgers on the griddle, oil-side down, and gently flatten into big patties with the bottom of a spatula. You only want to flip the burgers once and they should turn easily without sticking.
Step 4: Grill the burgers for 8 minutes per side for medium; 7 minutes if you like your meat rare. If you like your burger well done, then I can’t help you.
Maple Cured Bacon:
Chances are, you probably have bacon in your fridge right now. And if you’re like me, you love it. Making bacon at home is not rocket science; people make a big deal about it but it takes some time and a little planning but is so worth it. The first step is curing pork belly with a cure of salt, sugar, maple syrup, and pink salt (sodium nitrite). The main purpose of the cure is to prevent any bacterial growth on the meat and draw out some water. To store, tightly wrap in plastic and keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. If for some crazy reason you don’t eat it all in a week, you can cut it into pieces, label and date it, and freeze for up to 3 months.
Maple Cured Bacon Ingredients:
- 1 ¼ tablespoons pink salt
- 3 to 5 pounds pork belly, skin removed
Maple Cured Bacon Directions:
Step 1: In a glass mixing bowl, combine salt, sugar, pink salt, and maple syrup. Put the pork belly in re sealable plastic storage bag. Add the cure, squeeze out any air in the bag, and seal. Smush it around to coat the belly completely. Put the bag in a container just in case it leaks. Refrigerate for 8 days, turning the bag over every other day.
Step 2: After 8 days, remove the pork belly from the cure, rinse thoroughly with cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.
Step 3: Place a wire cooling rack over a baking pan and lay the pork belly on top. If you are going to smoke the pork belly, allow it to dry out in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours or up to overnight. This is important – the meat will not take smoke until the surface is dry. Then fire up your smoker to 200˚F and smoke the belly for 3 hours using your favorite wood. The internal temperature of the meat should reach 150˚F. If you are going to roast the belly, you don’t need to dry it out, simply roast in the oven at 200˚F for 3 hours.
Step 4: Allow the bacon to cool to room temperature. Once it’s cool, wrap well with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer up to 3 months.
(Thanks to Michael Schwartz for allowing us to reprint this recipe)