Brisket as the component in Ground Beef for Hamburgers, etc.

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by lilygardener, Jan 17, 2015.

  1. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    I have never been able to duplicate the flavor and texture of hamburgers served at good restaurants.  Can someone out there help with the notion that the type of meat chosen is key.

    1. I am hearing a lot about brisket as the component in a good hamburger.  Buying a whole brisket, having it ground, and  experimenting would be expensive.  Also,

    2. I would not know how much of the fat, etc., of a whole brisket to tell the butcher to retain.   

    3.  I have tried every combination of chuck, leaner beef, and pork imaginable and the texture and flavor is just not there.

    Lily
     
  2. french fries

    french fries

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    I'm not sure what the question is? Different cuts of beef have different textures and flavor, and different fat content... so using those different cuts in a burger will change the texture, flavor, and fat content of your burger....

    You should be able to tell your butcher to grind a pound of brisket - no need to buy the whole thing. In fact you should be able to tell him exactly what you want: you want to make burgers, and you'd like to experiment with a mix of chuck and brisket. I'm sure he should be able to grind them both together for you. 

    And if you really want to master the art of ground meat, maybe consider getting a meat grinder? I just got one for christmas - haven't tried it yet, but I'm quite excited at the idea! That would allow you to play with the texture, using different grinding plates for different chop size, and even mixing fine with coarse, etc. 

    In your quest for the perfect burger I would start with beef only. Pork doesn't belong in a "standard" burger. 
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2015
  3. maryb

    maryb

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    Difference is restaurants typically start with aged beef, most grocery store beef is not aged, it is butchered and shipped out to the stores. Plus they season heavily compared to most home cooks.
     
  4. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Lily, are you talking grilled burgers (done on a grill over open flame) or fried burgers (done in a pan or on a griddle)?  Mary hit on one major reason-seasoning.  Most home cooks are afraid to season enough.  If you watch cooks, in kitchens, hit a burger or steak with salt and pepper they really hit it hard.  Most onlookers, who don't know better, would wince at how much salt and pepper they use, but the end product isn't over salted.  In fact, it tastes great.

    The second big reason is the equipment in a kitchen.  First off their burners and grills are anywhere from 2-5 times more powerfull than what most normal people have at home, plus we have really good hood systems that vent the smoke out very quickly.  To cook a really good burger you need some serious heat to brown and carmelize the outside of the meat (this creates a lot of flavor-the Malliard Reaction).  This in turn usually creates a lot of smoke.  Whenever I do burgers, and steaks, indoors (which is rarely as I usually cook them on my grills) I set off every smoke detector in the house and we have to open all the doors and windows to get the smoke out of the hosue since I don't have a hood system that can handle that style of cooking.
     
  5. dledmo

    dledmo

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    I agree with Pete about preferring to grill the burgers outside.  If you do cook them inside, using a cast iron skillet helps get a good seared crust.
     
  6. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    Hi all,

    Wow! The deck is really stacked against home cooks with the high grilling temperature and specialty meat.  I am not the outdoor grill person in our family but I may have to become that person if I want a really good burger.  I have always used a Foreman grill,  Teflon pan, or stainless steel pan to fry my burgers, and have never used a cast iron skillet or very high temperature.   

    I do live in a large metropolitan area (suburb thereof, actually), and there are several real butcher shops that are not convenient, but not unattainable to me.  I'll call on Monday to see if there is one that sells aged beef.  I'm sure it is pricey, but there are only two of us in the house, our daughter lives in another city, and we would only need a total of 1/2 pound of meat for hamburgers.  However, now that I think of it, with the high cooking temperature I would probably have to make larger burgers than we would normally eat.  Is that correct?

    For the person who did not understated my question, it is what is the best, tastiest, and best textured raw meat to use in home cooked hamburgers, how should it be ground, and what is the fat to lean ratio, so they will taste and have a mouth feel more like high end restaurant burgers.  Hamburgers that I have eaten in restaurants do not seem to have as flat a taste or as dense a texture as those made from chuck or a combination of chuck and leaner meat as found in super markets.

    As far as flavor is concerned, thanks for the info on highly seasoning the meat.  I know it is a cop-out, but I actually like Lawry's, and it is my fall-back seasoning for beef.  The flavor I was referring to as being different in restaurants is of the meat itself, not what is on it.  

    It makes sense to me now that the flavor difference may be that restaurant beef is aged. I honestly don't think I would put Lawry's on aged beef, just salt and pepper (I respect aged beef in steaks and would not adulterate them in that manner), but I will have to experiment and find out.

     Ted's Montana Grill is an example of a restaurant that has good burgers, so does I-Hop actually (I think it is the bacon we like in the Bacon Burgers).  There was a restaurant in New Orleans, called Ruby Reds, that specialized in burgers, and they were delicious.  I haven't lived there since 1985 and don't know if Ruby's is still there: I doubt it.  There are good restaurants on every corner in New Orleans, but none of the better burger places seem to have survived.  But I'm sure there are some out there who would disagree with me.  Not looking for an argument, just saying. . . Lived there for over 40 years and every time a really good cooked-to-order burger place opened, it only lasted a little while.  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/frown.gif  
     
  7. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    French Fries

    I had a meat grinder when I was a young married woman and it mashed the meat more than ground it.  I bought it in an attempt to save money, but It was a waste of money: I hope yours is better.

     I have a big stand mixer that can be fitted with a meat grinder attachment but have never thought of getting it, I don't think I would ever get my money out of it, we just do not eat that much any more.  My hope is to prepare better quality food for myself and my husband now, than I did when I was younger and other demands gave me less time to really perfect the art of cooking (although I do roast chicken a la Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and it is awesome). Julia's chicken liver pate from Julia Child and More Company is also a delicious preparation.

     Lily
     
  8. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    If your burgers are turning out dense, I would guess

    1) You've overworked the meat.  You only want enough pressure to loosely form a ball and then indent the middle to make your burger, as it shrinks, that indent will flatten out.

    2) There's not enough fat

    I've had no problems just using ground chuck.  For extra oomph I go with some short rib and sirloin too.  If you can get the aged stuff or age it yourself even better.  Whatever cuts you choose, for fat content you really want like 30% fat.  

    If you go to a good butcher for your mix a few hours beforehand then you can cook your burgers as you like.  I make my own at home with my meatgrinder while I'm lighting my hardwood lump charcoal.  The outside of meat is where bacteria is going to grow so when you grind/chop it up it is now on the inside.  I have no problem eating mid rare burgers if I grind it fresh.  For unknown ground meat I cook it mid well +.  To me, this is the big advantage to DIY.

    Also the best texture is from hand chopped burgers.  Buy the good meat and break out your double cleavers!  You have complete control over texture then.  The mix of bigger and smaller pieces has that beefy old school taste I crave. Hmm now i want burgers...
     
  9. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    I have the kitchen aid meat grinder attachment.  It is in no way comparable to a real meat grinder.  It just turns out mush and also clogs all the time.
     
  10. chefbuba

    chefbuba

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    I have a burger truck, use 80/20 ground chuck, loosely balled then stamped into a patty. Overworked meat = tough burger. Season WELL, high heat (I cook on a char broiler) cook no past MW.

    Well toasted bun, lots of fixins = burger running down your arm.


     
    kuan likes this.
  11. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    Millions knives,

    Thank you so much.  Confirms what I remember from my youth about the home meat grinder I had: mashed meat.  I now, also have the Kitchen Aid mixer: so glad I did not buy the grinder attachment.  Thanks!!!!  I will never have to consider this possibility myself.  I have wanted the pasta roller and cutters however.  Do you know anything about that?

    Lily
     
  12. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    Chef buba,

    Looks yummuy!!!  

    Lily
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Brisket is on the rise as it's cheaper than chuck now.
     
  14. butzy

    butzy

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    @chefbubathat's one tasty looking burger!

    It is breakfast time here, and now I want burger for breakfast!

    @Lilygardener: you are getting some good advice here!

    Make sure there is enough fat in the meat and don't overwork it.

    Burgers on the grill are awesome, but a cast iron skillet works pretty good as well, as does a griddle pan (preferable cast iron as well).

    I also grind my own meat. Normally with one of those hand cranked jobs (size 32, so a big one). And I got a small el cheapo meat grinder which actually works quite well. And then I gave myself a proper meat grinder for my birthday (I like making sausages as well), which is a big improvement.

    And talking about grinding: When you go to the butcher ask them to grind for you while you are in the shop and maybe try out a coarse ground (gone through the grinder one time) and a double ground (gone through 2 or 3 times, and yes this is probably the wrong terminology, but who cares....)

    I like a coarse ground for a burger, but maybe you prefer a finer ground, just give both a try
     
  15. lilygardener

    lilygardener

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    Hey guys & gals,

    They will grind meat for customers at Publix, but get cross if asked at Kroger, my two local supermarkets.  I'm afraid to cook ground meat from either source medium rare, which is my choice of doneness (for health reasons), even though I cook good looking steaks from either source medium rare.  I've always been told to cook ground meat until the juices run clear.  Where do you get ground meat that you trust not well done?

    Lily
     
  16. chefedb

    chefedb

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    Chef Bubba thats my kind of 3 or 4 napkin burger
     
  17. butzy

    butzy

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    I hope @GeneMachine will chime in as well... (just 'cause he lives in Germany)

    Growing up in Holland, we had something that we called a tartar steak (NOT steak tartar) or also called German Steak.

    This was a burger, made out of steak mince, cooked rare to medium rare. Absolutely delicious!
     
  18. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    You really should grind your own.  Use a chuck roast.  Go to the counter and ask for one that's "different' from what you can see on the shelf.  Make up an excuse, say you want more of this part of the chuck or thicker or whatever.  This way you get a fresh cut, fresh pack. 

    Plus all the other stuff everyone said here applies.  Heat, seasoning.
     
  19. millionsknives

    millionsknives

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    You can cook steak rare safely because the outside where the bacteria are is getting seared at a high temperature.  The inside is already sterile.  When you mix those bacteria everywhere by grinding is when you have problems, so you want as little time as possible between grinding -> cooking -> eating.  Microbial growth requires a substrate, food source, and time; it doesn't happen instantaneously.  The other factor is temperature.  You can slow the growth rate through refrigeration or freezing.  At room temp they'll grow faster.

    If you grind your own, it can be only minutes between forming patties and cooking.  That's as safe as you can get.  Grinding my own, I would be comfortable eating it mid rare, even though I prefer medium burgers.  Even the butchers grinding it for you on the spot, you'll have a few hours before cooking.
     
  20. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    For those with a Kitchen Aid grinder attachment, are you partially freezing your meet before you put it through?  While I agree that it is not the best product for grinding, if you are doing small amounts, cut your meat into smaller chunks, and are only grinding a smaller amount, it is doable.

    Here is a link to a great article on Serious Eats, about grinding your own meat.  Take a look.

    http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives...ab-how-coarsely-should-i-grind-my-burger.html

    A couple of other points that have been made above but deserve  mentioning again:

    1.  don't overwork your burger patties (something that I end up often do resulting in a really dense burger)

    2.  don't skimp on the fat.  For burgers, anything less than 20% fat is too lean for a good, juicy burger with the correct texture.  I, myself, prefer closer to 25% fat.  You have to make them a little bigger due to more fat rendering out, but I think the flavor and texture is superior with 25%.