larding grass fed burgers

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by grillbeast, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. grillbeast

    grillbeast

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    I recently started on the grill at a brand new restaurant serving local grass fed burgers. Having never worked with this product before I have found the results to be so so. The beef has great flavor but the lower fat content causes our 7oz burgers to develop a crusty char on the outside for even a mid rare temp and even a medium+ is a little dry inside.

    We also cure and slow roast our own pork belly and end up with several quarts of fat in the process. You can see where my mind is going. Has anyone tried adding fat to leaner grass fed ground beef? I am going to experiment with it on Saturday since I will be first in so I will post the results. I am hoping the pork flavor and spices from the cure we use won't be too noticeable and ideally I can find a perfect fat balance. Any other tips to improve the burgers are welcome. We already put sweated onions, salt and pepper in our mix. I don't like the onions but I imagine they are there for moisture.
     
  2. franzb69

    franzb69

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    sounds like a good idea to me. but wouldn't it taste a little porky? good luck!
     
  3. cookers

    cookers

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    Lower the temperature that you're using to cook with. 
     
  4. iceman

    iceman

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    Maybe think about why people want "grass-fed" beef.   My experience is because it's leaner.   I don't think I'd want to add fat. 
     
  5. cookers

    cookers

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    lol not only that but you have to be careful because of the way it is advertised. If a person with artery complications can't really have large amounts of bad fats, they may run into some problems when the meat is now filled with saturated fat once it cooks. Highly unlikely though and people with problems that severe shouldn't even eat out because they are at such a high risk. Another problem I could see would come from religion fanatics. If a family of muslims come in and order one of these organic beef burgers and they taste the pork which their religion forbids, I think you would have yourself in a mess. 
     
  6. grillbeast

    grillbeast

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    Two of you have contended that people want grass fed beef because it is leaner. I don't think that most people even know that it is actually leaner. Most people that order a burger out at a restaurant want a juicy burger and most people who want a burger are not making a fat conscious decision.

    No offense but I didn't ask "should I do this," I asked "has anyone ever tried this?". The chef will decide if we "should" do it and testing the results will show us if it creates a better finished product, which is the goal here.

    Lowering the grill temp would lengthen the pick up time of burgers and other dishes and is not really an option unfortunately.
     
  7. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I would add Ice water to the burger meat not fat. Plus I would not compress the burger so much. (I also prefer cooking on a flat top grill)
     
  8. chefboy2160

    chefboy2160

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    I use and eat a lot of local grass fed cattle and buffalo. For the ground portion I just add some fattier cut ground and it works quite well! I interchange the fats of beef and buffalo to make the perfect hamburger,

    Well thats my wife and family say but who knows! Since you grind your own I would just have fun playin and eatin till you find your wow time but just watch out cause this stuff is addicting.
     
  9. chefross

    chefross

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    I want to add to this idea as well.

    When handling the meat try not to make patties by slapping them back and forth in your hands.

    Compressing the meat will also have an effect on it's tenderness.

    If the burgers are already pre-portioned before you get them, well then this is a moot point.
     
  10. grillbeast

    grillbeast

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    What does ice water do? We don't have a flat top. I will tell the prep guys not to compress the burgers as much.
     
  11. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    In theory the water steams so you are using a wet heat inside the burger and a dry heat on the outside.  Put the meat through a second smaller die too if you are grinding it yourself.  You can also try making the burger thicker.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    All 3 answers on top of this are 100& correct. Never compress or spatula squash a burger, as you do juts watch all the liquid come out.  Pre made  factory burgers are machine formed and already have their natural juices ae sqeezed out. You are doing same thing when you compress meat with your hands .The ice water replaces some of the moisture that has been lost in the meat since processing.

    On a flat top grill  have a hot area and cooler one. Hot to start, cooler to finish, In my humble opinion the best burger is a flat grill burger,
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2012
  13. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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     Charcoal grill for me.
     
  14. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I DON'T LIKE THE BITTER FLAVOR IT GIVES BURGERS, BUT EVERYONE TO THEIR OWN.
     
  15. grillbeast

    grillbeast

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    We have a gas grill and hand form our patties. On my day off we actually got a new blend of ground beef from the farm with more fat so problem solved. Thanks for the discussion though.
     
  16. boar_d_laze

    boar_d_laze

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    Ice water does two things.  The cold temp helps harden the fat, which helps make minimal fat work harder when you do go to cook.  The water makes it seem juicier than it would otherwise be.  It's mostly a trick used for "spa-burgers" to make too-lean meat moist.  At the end you're diluting your hamburger with water, and that's not a good thing.  It should be unnecessary if you use good, fresh 80/20 -- something most people don't -- don't mishandle it -- something most people do -- and don't overcook it -- something most people also do. 

    Sometimes I add a little crushed ice to the well-chilled meat I'm grinding when it's still in the tray, to help the fat keep its integrity.  Paranthetically, I almost always use crushed ice when mixing sausage. 

    If you must add extra moisture, reduce beef stock with red wine and Worcestershire, chill, and use instead of water.  Or try a little chilled Cognac or dry Madeira -- you'd be surprised.  Generally I don't add anything to the meat before forming patties because it means mixing going beyond blending, and even minimal mixing is too much.  Waaaaaaaaaay too much. 

    Even though grass fed meat is leaner than grain-fed, you should still be able to approach a ratio in the ideal range of 85/15 to 75/25.  For ordinary, good quality, Choice or Angus beef I prefer 80/20.  Some cuts, like tenderloin are so inherently rich and lean, that lean suits them.  Others have so much marbling they're not only difficult to lean, you associate their taste with plenty of fat, and their fat is especially good, like rib-eye.  Wagyu does pretty good with lots of fat, also. 

    Of course those special cuts and breeds are too expensive for most operations and purposes.  On the other end of the credit-card, if I'm grinding Select beef, I like to up the fat ratio as well. 

    Traditionally, "ground sirloin" is sold lean to very lean 85/15 - 90/10, but even though it sounds great it doesn't make great burgers in my opinion.  I'd rather use chuck.  I think I said earlier that my ideal mix is brisket, chuck and bottom round -- which is not an uncommon custom blend.  Since I'm not cooking professionally, consistency isn't a big issue.  So if tri-tip is on sale, I might go with that alone.  Think of tri-tip as ground sirloin which tastes as luxurious as it sounds.  Anyway, cuts and quality make big differences.   

    Grass-fed. I don't know from grass-fed.  But I think you should grind a good mix of cuts in several batches -- each with a different amount of fat, and see what you think.  It's going to take a phone call or two to your butcher to get the right stuff in the right amounts, and maybe an extra call or two if you want him to grind. 

    If you do have your butcher grind -- remember to specify that you want the meat as loose and non-compacted as you can get it.  I think most commercial operations are actually better off if they have a butcher do it for a lot of reasons; but it has to be done no less than three times a week -- ground meat doesn't stay fresh for more than 48 hours.  24 if you're ultra quality oriented.

    Ed and everyone else who commented on the evils of over-compacting and over-mixing is spot on.  Ground meat will be "fluffy" straight from the grinder.  If you store it in deep trays it over-compacts.  If you over-mix, it will over-compact.  If you form the patties too vigorously, the meat will over-compact.  You want the patties just sufficiently formed to hold together.  Hamburgers made from over-compacted meat are chewy.  Burgers made from over-mixed or over-handled meat are greasy -- even with very little fat.  Nothing quite like a chewy, greasy burger.  Fresh ground, medium-rare and easy does it.

    Hope this helps,

    BDL
     
  17. iceman

    iceman

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    Thank You Dr.BDL for your concise and to-the-point commentary.   That's why I love reading your explanations.   For me, I use 85/15 meat for almost everything.  I don't know, that's just me.  I don't remove rendered fat when making chili, because "fat is flavor", or so I believe.  I use 85/15 for my meat-loaf because it doesn't shrink, and I don't add any "moisteners".  My burgers are 85/15 too because, like I said, that's me.   I didn't think adding rendered pork fat was a good idea from the beginning.  I didn't say that at first, but since I've been called out for what I did say, I will say it now.  Adding rendered pork fat is a goofy idea.   Anyone that goes to a place that claims "grass-fed beef" goes there because it is generally a leaner beef.  "Grass-fed steaks" are tough and tasteless.   Sorry, but that's just me again.   I like to cook my burgers on the grill and finish cheese-burgers on the flat-top.  Make and cook a good burger in the first place and you don't have these types of difficulties.   
     
  18. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I agree 100% with BDL.

    Chuck or mixed beef cut chop meat is way to go. And adding ice while grinding kills 2 birds with one stone it keeps fat globuals in tact and adds moisture which meat has lost back into it . It also produces a healthier cold enviorment while grinding as the grinding creates friction therefore temperature changes which is no good. Don't waste your money on 80/20 or even 85/15.
     
  19. grillbeast

    grillbeast

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    Where did you get the idea that grass fed means lean? It means fed at pasture and not in a feedlot. The blend that we were getting had a bad fat ratio so I was brainstorming ideas. I work at a 160 seat restaurant and we don't have a large enough meat grinder to produce the volume we go through so we rely on our farm to produce it. The chef spoke to them and now we have 81/19 ground chuck. By your notion we have done something wrong because now out beef isn't real grass fed because it is less lean. Also, have you ever had pork fat? Its delicious. I will be trying my idea at home because I'm still excited about it. Maybe you just have no concept of flavor.
     
  20. iceman

    iceman

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    OK.