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Classic Burgers

Burgers are such a quintessential American summer food; star of the summer cookout. They are meaty, juicy and can be unendingly varied with the topping you select. 

Grinding your own meat for your burgers is both fun and improves the flavor. You can select the quality of meat you want to use (grass-fed?), grind it to the coarseness you wish, and add the fat content you desire. I aim for having 25 percent fat in my burgers; they are the juiciest and most flavorful that way. I do not recommend going below 20 percent fat; I find my burgers tend to dry out too easily below that point and aren’t as flavorful.

I cook my burgers to medium; I do not need my burgers to be rare like I like my steak. The beef in burgers in already tenderized by the grinding process; the meat will be tender like a rare steak cooked to medium provided that the meat isn’t overpacked or too lean. 

I also take after Alton Brown in feeling that adding anything more to a burger than salting and peppering the outside is making meatloaf patties; delicious in their own right but not a true burger. My burgers do not include eggs, bread crumbs, milk, etc. If you want to mix something in to flavor your burger, I opt for garlic powder, onion powder, or herbs.

While I like my burger patties to be fairly simple, I like my toppings as wild as they come. Often, I pile them up so high that biting into my burger can be quite the challenge. And still, somehow, I manage to eat up every bite. 

Bust out the grinder, fire up the grill of bust out the cast iron pan, and get cooking your new favorite burger! Enjoy!

24 ounces of sirloin steak, cut into 1 inch cubes
8 ounces of beef fat or bacon

Freeze the meat for about 30 minutes before grinding. This will help prevent the meat from getting over processed as you grind. Fit your stand mixer attachment, your hand powered meat grinder or your electric meat grinder with the 3/8 inch cutting plate. Feed the meat through once, alternating with the fat or bacon to ensure it is evenly distributed. 

Form into 6 burgers, with a dimple in the middle so they cook flat. Pack them loosely so there are pockets to hold the meat juices and fat. Sprinkle the outsides generously with salt and pepper. 

Cook the burgers on the grill or on a cast iron pan on high heat with butter and oil until their internal temperature reaches 135 degrees F and both sides and nicely browned. If adding cheese, add it when the burgers read 125 degrees F to allow it time to melt.

Top with your favorite fixings: lettuce, onions, pickles, tomato, and ketchup, mustard, mayo- or special sauce! Don’t forget homemade hamburger buns and perfect homemade french fries alongside. If you want to get fancy, consider bacon, avocado, caramelized onions, a fried egg, mushrooms- whatever you say goes!

Special Sauce:
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup mayo
1 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon sweet relish
1 tablespoon grated onion

Mix all ingredient together; refrigerate at least an hour for flavors to meld together.


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