So, misfits, one of my cool and interesting friends recently ordered a quarter of a grass-fed cow and had it custom-butchered for her. There’ll be a post coming up on how you can do this yourself, but what’s important for you to know now is that we’ve been talking a lot about beef.
I mean, like, a lot. When you’re emailing at 2 AM about the kidney that fell out of your friend’s lump of beef fat, you know shit just got real.
So a slab of chuck steak from a frolicsome grass-fed cow is a thing of wonder and magic and unicorn tails and glitter rainbows a la My Little Fucking Pony and stuff, right? I mean, seriously, a Care Bear would probably shiv another Care Bear to get his hands on one.
And not just Grumpy, either, ‘kay? Even one of the nauseatingly happy-go-lucky always-on-ecstasy Care Bears would shiv another Care Bear for one. And speaking of Grumpy, I feel that he was largely misunderstood, don’t you?
But I digress.
Okay, but sometimes you want a hamburger, right? And you’re all, oh, the sad packages of grass-fed ground beef are always so leeeeeeaaaaann. Why are they always so leeeeeaaaaannnn? Can’t they make it less leeaaaaannnn? And when will they find a way to fix the speech impediment that causes me to say “leeeeaaaaaannnn” like that?
Well, I can’t help you with the second problem, misfits. Some problems are just too big for your Bad Mama Genny to solve on her own.
List A: Problems That Are Too Big for Your Bad Mama Genny to Solve on Her Own:
2-Unequal distribution of wealth
3-Automatic flush toilets
4-Speech impediments that make you say “leeeeaaaaaannnn”
List B: Problems That Are NOT Too Big for Your Bad Mama Genny to Solve on Her Own:
1-Dry, flavorless grass-fed hamburgers
2-All problems not mentioned in List A
Well, it’s true, grass-fed beef IS lean. Leaner than most of us are accustomed to. The burger seems dry. Not fall-apart tender enough. Not flavorful enough. But you know what?
The man wants you to eat flavorless hamburgers.
That’s right. While you thought you were sticking it to the man when you purchased grass-fed hamburger meat, you didn’t realize that the man is a crafty bugger who dipped his dirty paws into the organic movement and figured out that he could still exercise power over you by grinding the same old cuts of beef into hamburger and selling it to you AT A CONSIDERABLE MARKUP WHAT WHAT.
My point being, of course, that you have to stay one step ahead of the man at all times. You have to find new and better ways to stick it to him.
Finding new and better ways to stick it to people. Pretty much the meaning of life.
Screw that flavorless beef! Go grind your own!
What we’re going to do is macerate chunks of lean beef and animal fat together to create well-marbled hamburger mix that will be so good it will make you and everyone you love die.
Roll out the motherfucking mass graves, misfits! It’s time for us all to eat hamburgers and die!
1 lb. of lean grass-fed beef (round roast is an incredibly flavorful but very lean cut–it’s perfect for this)
1/4 cup solid at room-temp animal fat (lard and beef tallow are both great for this, but even bacon fat and butter would work–this time I’m using butter)
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Cut the meat into 2-inch chunks. Cut the fat into half-inch chunks. Line up your chunks (heh heh…your chunks) on the cookie sheet and pop it all into the freezer. Chill it until the outsides of the meat chunks are very firm, but not frozen through–45 minutes should be good.
Now you’ll want a food processor, ‘kay? Pile in alternating chunks of meat and fat, only filling the food processor one-third to one-half of the way to capacity. If your processor is small, you’ll wanna do this in batches to give the meat plenty of room to move around and macerate evenly. Overpacking the processor will result in a bottom level of beefy goo and a top level of unground beef.
Eww…bottom levels of beefy goo.
Put the top on and pulse the food processor several times. Don’t let it go too far–you don’t need a ground mixture that’s as fine as what they sell in the store and you certainly don’t want it any finer. Go too far and it loses its steak-yness.
And I am a serious proponent of steaky-ness.
At this point, take it out of the food processor, transfer it to a bowl, and add any seasonings.
I keep things simple. A little salt and pepper, some finely minced garlic, a dash or three of Worcestershire sauce. But the important thing to remember is this: mix it gently, with your hands. Don’t pack the meat together. Just kinda…toss it together. Then form patties–again, handle her gently. Your meat mass needs to be treated like a lady.
Your meat mass needs to be treated like a lady. Yes, I just said that.
4 patties per pound is pretty customary–3 patties per pound if you’re feeling like a fucking benefactress. I’ll be honest here:
I usually feel like a fucking benefactress. We don’t eat meat often enough or in large enough quantities for me to be a miser when we’re making hamburgers.
Now toss ’em onto an oh-shit-that’s-hot grill or griddle, and sear away. I think 3 to 4 minutes per side is plenty, but I still like ’em to be a little bloody in the middle. DON’T press your burgers down with the spatula–this takes the fatty juices out of the burger, where you want them, and redistributes them to a sad, sad land outside of your burger.
For the sake of today’s post, let’s assume that any place that isn’t inside your burger is a sad, sad land.
If you’re planning to cheese, cheese early, like a minute and a half before the second side is done cooking. Then choose a righteous burger bun. Preferably something crusty on the outside with plenty of character. Even a sea salt ciabatta would be nice. Now do it up the way your Bad Mama Genny Does It Up. Take the burger out and let it rest for three minutes. Warm the bun, spread the bottom half with mayo (sorry, mayo haters…actually, I’m sorry I’m NOT sorry), and apply burger. The better the burger, the less dressing up you’ll need, perhaps even just a slice of onion, a disc of tomato, and a bit more mayo on the top bun.
Top buns and bottom buns, misfits. A delicate distinction.
So go wild if you like. I’ve been known to toss some mushrooms, onions, and a bit of red wine into the burger pan and go to town making a WAY DELICIOSO topping. Then again, I’ve been known to do a lot of things.
Bug I digress.
What dresses your burgers, misfits? Build me your ideal hamburger from bottom bun to top bun, and don’t leave out a single detail!