Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Fourth! And Remember: A Fattier Burger Is A Better Burger

hamburger in the new york times
An 80/20 meat to fat ratio is child's play | Photo via The New York Times

Making burgers today? Don't forget the fat.
The Meat
Lose your fear of fat; a 70-to-30 ratio of meat to fat is best.
Pat LaFrieda, a wholesale meat vendor to top burger restaurants in New York City, recommends grinding the meat yourself with a food processor or a mixer's grinding attachment. He prefers chuck and brisket, abd said to put them in the freezer first and chill them down to 30 degrees. Choose select, choice or prime grade meats.

The Salt
Salt is crucial. Whether you're using kosher, table or sea salt, you should be liberal with it. Beef can take more salt than you think. Most chefs recommend seasoning the burger just before cooking it.
But before you get to cook the burger, you have to choose the right meat.

In “Burger Bar” (Wiley, 2009), Hubert Keller writes that what you do not want is preshaped burgers or meat that is stuffed and compacted into plastic packaging. Once beef is compressed, a light texture cannot be regained.

Douglas Keane, the executive chef and an owner of Cyrus and the Healdsburg Bar & Grill in Healdsburg, Calif., advises people to lose their fear of fat. He started with 80 percent lean beef, then moved to a 70-to-30 ratio.

“The day I did it,” he said, “the servers started coming in and asking, ‘What did you do to the burger? The guests are going crazy.’ "

Mark Bucher, the executive chef at the Burger Joint in Washington, said that to make a great burger at home, have your butcher grind a piece of brisket. “It’s got a 25- to 30-percent fat-to-meat ratio,” he said. “It’s gorgeous. It’s my favorite.”
Happy grilling.

The Perfect Burger and All Its Parts [ New York Times ]
Interactive: Elements of an Ideal Burger [ New York Times ]

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