Whenever I’m entertaining a crowd, I instinctively fall back on burgers. There’s a lot of room to play and people’s expectations always seem low so it’s easy to blow people away. So I thought I’d try something new again, but a little simpler than the burgers I’ve made before. The goal: less “extra” flavors and something incredibly rich and beefy–more of a steakburger.
This was my excuse to play with my new KitchenAid meat grinder. I started with two separate cuts of beef: chuck (for fattiness–keeps the burger juicy) and ribeye (also fatty, but much more intense beef flavor). You could certainly throw the steak in a food processor, but a real meat grinder won’t turn your meat into texture-free paste. The goal is to nicely emulsify the meat and fat so you have a somewhat homogenous and tender end result
But anyways, back to the meat. These were incredible–very flavorful, very beefy, and very juicy. The supporting elements I worked into the ground beef (e.g. peppers, dijon, oregano) gave some zesty, earthy, spiciness, but nothing that got in the way of the beef, which is the star of the show.
Also, since no burger is complete without a bun, I thought I’d try my hand at those as well. The bun recipe originated from the second whitebread style as written in The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread by Peter Reinhart. These were also fantastic–tender, tangy, and beautiful with a nice crust and delicate crumb.
- Burger Patties
- ~1.6 lb ribeye
- ~0.9 lb chuck top steak
- 1 shallot
- 8 cloves garlic
- 1 poblano
- 1 Tbsp dijon
- 1-2 Tbsp worcestershire
- dash of bourbon
- 1 egg
- 2 chipotle + adobo
- 1 Tbsp oregano
- Buttermilk Buns
- 4.25 cups flour
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 3 Tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp instant yeast
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1.5 cups buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- Sesame/poppy seeds
Buttermilk Hamburger Buns
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg, melted butter, and buttermilk. With the paddle attachment, beat these well. Then, add the contents of the flour bowl and beat just enough to get things mixed (figure 30 seconds). You should have a dough that looks soft and supple.
Now, switch to the dough hook attachment. Knead on medium speed for about 6-8 minutes. Again, the dough should be soft, supple, and tacky, but not sticky. As it nears completion, the dough should pull away from sides of the bowl but the bottom might just barely stick to the bottom of the bowl. Once time is up, the dough should pass windowpane test. That is, if you took off a small bit of dough (like the size of a nut), you should be able to roll it thin and pull in all directions until its so thin that you can see through it without tearing it.
Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to it. Roll it around to coat with oil and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let this sit in a warmish place (but essentially at room temperature) for 1.5-2 hours or til doubled in size to allow it some time to ferment.
With the dough risen, divide it into 12 pieces. Form “tight rounds” from these. If you’re not a bread person, the technique you use to shape your bread is actually quite important. To get the shape we want for a bun, take a piece of dough and hold it in your lightly cupped hand, resting it in your fingers. Firmly press the dough into the counter as if you’re trying to push it through the counter, simultaneously twisting your hand so that you rotate it a circular motion. This should press the dough towards the outer edge of your hand and once you pull away from the counter, you should have a nice, tight round ball that just puts itself right in the palm of your hand. Tada–tight rounds!
Now, mist the rounds with oil and cover loosely with either a towel or plastic wrap and let these rest for 20 minutes. Then, gently press down on them with the palm of your hand to flatten slightly so that they’re shaped more like a hamburger bun rather than a dinner roll. Transfer these to lined sheet pans.
Loosely cover these again and let them proof for another 60-90 minutes at room temperature or until roughly doubled in size.
Once they are, prepare the egg wash by beating the egg and water in a bowl until frothy. If you want to score the buns, slash them in the center and then lightly brush with egg wash. Finally, sprinkle on a handful of seeds.
Transfer these to a 400°F and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for an hour before cutting/eating.
Making the burger patties is a pretty simple endeavor if you have a meat grinder (so you can make your own ground meat rather than buying ground beef).
Cut the beef into long, thin strips that can feed into your grinder. Do not discard excess fat. Do the same for the shallot and pepper and strip the paper off of the garlic. Put all of this in the freezer for roughly 30 minutes–it makes for a better grind and it helps to ensure that the fat doesn’t melt out during the grinding process.
With the meat and veg chilled, process this through the meat grinder. Mix in all of the remaining components gently with your hands, working it only as much as is necessary. Form this meat into burger patties of whatever size appeals to you. Chill them in the fridge until you’re ready to cook (or freeze extras for another day).
Finally, fire up your grill and get it nice and hot. Grill the burgers to your desired level of doneness, which I would speculate means 3-5 minutes per side. And yes, that means you only flip the burgers once. Don’t beat the meat.
I like to grill my bun for about a minute while I melt the cheese on the burgers (I used rocquefort which I think pairs amazingly well). Get this on your plate and pile on the toppings (arugula and tomato for me), squirt on some ketchup, grab a beer, and enjoy!