Thursday, September 2, 2010

Best Old Fashioned Burgers

Whoa! Best burger?  That's a pretty tall order, cowboy.  I mean, there are some pretty darn good burgers out there.

America's Test Kitchens set out to create a burger like the kind you'd find at a good roadside diner: toasted bun, meat with a little bit of a crunch on the outside, salty, cheesy and delicious.  Did they succeed?  But, of course!  We're talking about people who are obsessive in the kitchen.  And I'm thankful that they are.

My family loves burgers.  When Chuck asked me out he was eating a burger at work.  On our first date, Chuck ate a burger.  My kids search out the best burgers in towns before we go on vacation.  I've never been able to recreate the yum factor in my own kitchen. Until now, baby.
Here's what critics are saying:
Chuck: Oh my god. mmmmmmmmmm oh.
Rachel: oh. This is so good. *munch munch munch*
Charlie: These are better than McDonald's!  (I'm sure it's meant as the highest compliment)

They really are terrific.  Why are these so much better?  You have to buy two cuts of meat and grind them yourself in a food processor.  Handle the meat as little as possible. Cook it at a high heat in a skillet. Salt it like sodium isn't a concern.

Your two cuts of meat to look for are boneless short ribs and sirloin steak tips (which has a heavy grain to it).  I'm sure it's ok to sub skirt steak if you can't find the sirloin tips.  I used a flat iron steak for mine and it turned out perfect.  Just watch for sales and save money that way.  When I got the meat I was able to cut up enough for two recipes of burgers.  I cubed the meat and put it in the freezer to use at a later date.

Do yourself a favor and make these.  It only takes about 30 minutes from start to finish. Easy.

Best Old Fashioned Burgers
print recipe here
Sirloin steak tips are also labeled “flap meat” by some butchers. Flank steak can be used in its place. This recipe yields juicy medium to medium-well burgers. It’s important to use very soft buns. If doubling the recipe, process the meat in three batches in step 2. Because the cooked burgers do not hold well, fry four burgers and serve them immediately before frying more. Or, cook them in two pans. Extra patties can be frozen for up to 2 weeks. Stack the patties, separated by parchment, and wrap them in three layers of plastic wrap. Thaw burgers in a single layer on a baking sheet at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking.

10 ounces sirloin steak tips , cut into 1-inch chunks (see note)
6 ounces beef short ribs (boneless), cut into 1-inch chunks
Kosher salt and ground black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4 hamburger buns , soft
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
4 slices American cheese
Thinly sliced onion

1 recipe Classic Burger Sauce (essentially Thousand Island dressing): Whisk 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1/2 teaspoon each of pickle relish, sugar, and white vinegar. Then 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper.

1. Place beef chunks on baking sheet in single layer, leaving 1/2 inch of space around each chunk. Freeze meat until very firm and starting to harden around edges but still pliable, 15 to 25 minutes.

2. Place half of meat in food processor and pulse until meat is coarsely ground, 10 to 15 one-second pulses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to baking sheet, overturning bowl and without directly touching meat. Repeat grinding with remaining meat. Spread meat over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.

3. Gently separate ground meat into 4 equal mounds. Without picking meat up, with your fingers gently shape each mound into loose patty 1/2 inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, leaving edges and surface ragged. Season top of each patty with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Refrigerate while toasting buns.

4. Melt 1/2 tablespoon butter in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add bun tops, cut-side down, and toast until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and bun bottoms. Set buns aside and wipe out skillet with paper towels.

5. Return skillet to high heat; add oil and heat until just smoking. Using spatula, transfer burgers to skillet and cook without moving for 3 minutes. Using spatula, flip burgers over and cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with slice of cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer.

6. Transfer patties to bun bottoms and top with onion. Spread 2 teaspoons of burger sauce on each bun top. Cover burgers and serve immediately.

I've noticed a lot you are starting running programs/schedules to get ready for races.  Even though I have such a love/hate relationship with running,  all of this talk and the feel of fall in the air is giving me the bug to give running another try.

I guess my brain sent out the alert to the rest of my body because I woke up with hips that were killing me.  How did they know?  Come on, I was only thinking about it.  I'm just going to believe they were hurting because of the weather change we are having.  My legs could always predict a change in the barometric pressure even when I was a kid.

While I'm camping I'll be reading up on running again as a way to give myself a pep talk. Considering the terrible problems I've had with my hips I'll probably stick with the Galloway Walk/Run/Walk (or is it Run/Walk/Run?) method.

Y'all have a fantastic weekend.  I'm going to have my cup of coffee before I start packing up then I'm outta here! See ya!


  1. Hope this is a great weekend for you and your hamburgers... I, uh.... family!

  2. Okay, I really have to make these now! The family LOVES burgers and with all the gross ground beef recalls lately, I have pretty much steered away from beef. I love the idea of grinding your own!

    As far as running, Galloway has worked well for me and so far no injuries or hip flare-ups!

  3. Kelly, check out my blog post! You won an award!

  4. I love a good burger. When are you opening your restaurant?

    I hope the running bug does bite you, because I sure would love to see you in Galveston!

  5. OMG that sounds so good! I'm drooling at work!

  6. Run/Walk - Walk/Run = TomaTOE - ToMAHto. Seriously. If you enjoy it, do what works. Any combination would get you across a finish line, should you choose to take Shelley's challenge about Galveston!

    My husband is a butcher who loves him some hamburger. You know I am so going to print this recipe to try.

  7. All this food you've been posting makes me hungry!!

  8. Love your blog, I too am a weight watchers contestant and live near Houston. Work in the Galleria and love burgers. Have a great holiday. Fixing burgers this week end?

  9. OMG, my husband and I watched that on a recent episode and they looked amazing!

    Have an awesome weekend - our weather is supposed to be awesome - high of 70 and low of 50 :D

  10. MMMM those burgers look awesome. I think I may have to attempt this!! Hey I left some questions for you on my blog under post titled random-ness. :)

  11. Kelly, I made these tonight and the family went NUTS!!! Thanks for sharing a great recipe!

  12. I LOVE the redesign! :) (And the burgers!!!!)


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