Categories
Ground Recipes

Oklahoma Burger

The Oky Burger has been nominated as contender for the Perfect Burger title. Let’s see how it stacks up against the current title holder. As introduced by that fun-loving, fake-finger-burning YouTube clown George Motz this burger’s origins were a response to hard times with cheap ground beef extended with even cheaper onions and has” Only 5 Ingredients: beef, bun, onion, cheese, salt, pepper.” He fails to mention the target outcomes’ impossibility w/o the use of high fat ground beef (again always discounted in the old days before the popularization of Wagyu). Try it with standard 85% lean and find out: the trademark filigree of partly charred meat and onion won’t make it’s appearance. In it’s place you’ll discover a steamed, White Castle slider-like burger atop a mass of soggy onions.

Base camp requires modifying your ground beef to around 35% fat for this variation on a smashburger to work. Do the algebra and you’ll see that 4 oz of 85% lean ground beef require 0.92 oz additional fat to reach 35%. With grass fed ground it’s best use partly frozen grass fed beef suet minced by knife as fine as possible and spread evenly over a rolled-out square of ground beef on waxed paper. Roll the whole thing up into a cylinder (leaving the paper behind) , knead gently to mix and form into a loose ball.

This burger needs BTU’s aplenty, rendering all that beef fat and evaporating excess moisture in a hand full of super-thin sliced onion (I prefer red) ; all in the space of 5 to 6 minutes. A 2 3/4 inch gas burner top ring is marginal. 4 inch provides a safety margin. Heat your cast iron to smokin’ then plop in the beef ball. Top with a hand full of onion then smash all to around 1/4 inch edges and twice that in the center. I use a potato masher with waxed paper. Apply salt/pepper..

Stand back, start-up your commercial grade outdoor exhausting hood fan and try to breathe thru the haze of smoke. Turn once at the 3 minute mark and top with cheese of choice. Despite blanketing with buns it won’t melt except at very edges in the 2-3 minute final cook.

Is it worth the effort? In my experience, no. Results are quite variable. You can only do one at a time unless cooking on a sheet of iron atop a stack of burning tires outdoors. Very messy cooking. Maybe that’s why this burger has only recently been resurrected as fodder for the Blackstone crowd.

An indoor approximation is much more easily achieved by using regular 85% lean and pre-drying the onion in a dehydrator or air fryer to roughly 50% their original volume.

No match for the perfection of the Perfect Burger.

Categories
Ground Recipes

Perfect Burger

Like many great quests the resolution to this one came about by chance. I’d been working on the Perfect Burger Project for a couple years stymied by dead ends along the Juicy-Lucy stuffed path and most recently the charred anaheim/serrano/onion topped with marble jack path. In fact I was at the Walmart to restock for a new attack along those lines when serendipity intervened.

As usual you can’t realistically expect exactly what you are looking for at Walmart. Their supply/stocking isn’t consistent. This time the first substitution was Tillamook cheddar for the missing Cabot. No problem with the marble jack. In the produce section I was confronted with overflowing bins of peppers arranged vertically. The anaheims actually appeared fresh w/o their usual withered appearance. Serranos good too- but after pulling a couple small ones, I instead replaced them with a couple more robust ones from near the top of the bin. Note that I didn’t study these new choices carefully.

New girl at checkout was unfamiliar with the codes for the peppers and could not locate the anaheims on her cheat sheet so called over the manager guy. He and I promptly got into an argument over the more robust “serranos” which he insisted were Jalepenos! At one point I heard myself say “bet you a million dollars they are serranos” and he countered by trotting off to the produce area to take photos of each; It wasn’t a very busy mid-day. I wasn’t convinced but happily paid the lower jalepeno price.

I didn’t re-look at the peppers until prepping for a burger days later. The First Step (single 1/3 pound burger) is cutting the tops off (1) Anaheim and one (only now obvious) Jalepeno. Then slice each lengthwise into quarters and scrape out seeds. Place pepper slices into a preheated heavy skillet with a dab of oil and flatten with a heavy spatula or better yet; a potato masher. Time for 5 minutes a side at a low hissing, below smoking heat. Peppers should be 50 % scorched black on both sides and soft. Add a quarter (tennis ball size) Red Onion sliced thin along it’s top to root axis and continue the process until the onion is soft and a bit carmelized. Push all to the side and toast buttered potato buns. Transfer buns and onion/pepper mix to a warm serving plate. Keep them apart for now as the onion pepper mix will go on top of the cooked burger.

Reheat the skillet at a higher setting (just smoking) for cooking your burger. While the peppers were blackening you should have portioned your Hay Creek grass-fed burger into a 1/3 pound patty just a bit larger in diameter then the bun. Keep the edges tight and smooth to avoid drying. Kosher salt and black pepper both sides, working the salt/pepper into the surface by cross-hatching with the underside of a fork- like the peanut butter cookie treatment. Cook the burger 2 minutes per side, placing a single 3-4 mm thick slice of Tillamook cheddar (WTH; it’s the first I saw in the cheese drawer and already opened) on the just-flipped first side. Let the burger rest in the pan maybe 30 -60 seconds after turning off the heat (beyond the second 2 minutes).

Place the burger on your unadorned (NO condiments) lower bun, top with pepper/onion mix, slap the top bun on (NO condiments) and dig in! Truly Sublime. There were virtually zero grand expectations for this outcome so impartiality is guaranteed. Remember, you heard it first here.

Oh, the timing of this whole process works out really well for prepping homemade fries cut from a single longish unpeeled russet potato. Simply handcut the fries with a 8 inch+ chefs knife and begin heating for a 5 minute parboil at the point you first flip the peppers in the skillet. Drain and begin pan-fry in a separate skillet at the point you turn off the pepper/onion mix.

Categories
Ground Recipes

Firehouse Chili Gumbo

This NYT Cooking recipe works great with Hay Creek Ground Round. Serve with grated cheese and tortilla chips. Stands up to liberal use of hot sauce. Good stuff.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE CHILI:

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef, Round or Sirloin
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 3 tablespoons steak sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes

FOR THE GUMBO:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 medium shallots, peeled and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 3 ribs celery, trimmed and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 2 6-ounce cans tomato paste
  • 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 cups tomato juice
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon apple-cider vinegar, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, or to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Make the chili. Heat the oil in a large skillet or heavy-bottomed pot set over medium-high heat. Working in batches, cook the beef, stirring often, until it has begun to brown at the edges. Using a slotted spoon, transfer browned meat to a bowl.
  2. Pour off excess fat, turn heat down to medium and return the browned beef to the skillet or pot. Add salt, peppers, chile powder, turmeric, oregano and cumin, and stir to combine. Add steak sauce, Worcestershire sauce and diced tomatoes, and stir again. Cover the skillet or pot, and cook, stirring a few times, for 15 minutes or so.
  3. Make the gumbo. Place a large pot with a heavy bottom over medium heat, and put the butter and oil into it. When the butter is melted and foaming, sprinkle the flour into the pan, and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is golden brown, approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Add the onion, shallots, bell peppers, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have started to soften, approximately 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Make the chili gumbo. Add the beef mixture to the pot with the vegetables along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, tomato juice and ketchup, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, then add apple-cider vinegar and hot sauce to taste. Take the pot off the heat, and serve, or allow to cool and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to cure. Heat before serving.
Categories
Ground Recipes

Old-Time Diner Style Keto- Burgers

This high (20-30%) fat burger is absolutely melt-in- your- mouth luscious and a wake-up jolt to the leaner-is-better crowd. Add frozen-shaved grass-fed suet (50 grams per pound of thawed Hay Creek ground beef ) and fry to 130 degree target internal temperature. This takes a good while since all the fat has to begin melting before the temperature will rise. Don’t overcook or you’ll melt out all the fat! Have Brioche buns already toasted and avoid overloading with condiments. A bit of ketchup, mayo, and fried onion maybe. Skip the tomato slice -or any other cold, moist mass-for sure. Eat ’em right away. Don’t let the fat cool and solidify.

Beef suet -with it’s unique flavor and melting point profile- is the only fat that will work for this. No Substitutes!

You could use an auger/plate style meat grinder with 3/16 to 7/32 inch plate openings to regrind the entire rolled-up “log” in photos above. NO “food processor”: it’ll destroy the meat texture and melt the fat.

Do not try this with commercial, wet-aged beef or you’ll have a mess, to say nothing of risk of illness.

No matter your take on the origin of the American burger, this preparation style dates from a time before any consumer had heard of e. coli – much less it’s numbered mutations. No one had heard of an official 160 deg F internal temperature cooking recommendation or had any equipment capable of measuring it in such a thin piece of meat. How did the burger become popular if it was always accompanied by the threat of illness or even death? The answer is most likely the growing dependence on fed antibiotics in the commercial cattle feeding business.

The USDA inspected processor I use handles only small- farm grown beef and has NEVER had a recall. Seems to me that the rewards outweigh the risks of “under-cooking”small farm, small processor beef: particularly so if grass-fed.. I never cook Hay Creek ground beef burgers to 160 deg F, just to the point the “squish” disappears at around 130 deg F. You judge for yourself.

Categories
Ground Recipes

Special Agent Suet Part 1: Pemmican

Pemmican is an all-natural , long-lasting energy food originally made by native Americans from wild large game, dry berries and nutmeats. Suet rendered into tallow (chemically/biologically stable at normal temperatures) serves as an important energy source and binder for all the components.

Suet is the “hard” fat from inside the body cavity of a beef animal. It’s not simply collected “trim” fat from the exterior. It’s 52 % saturated and 32 % mono saturated with a smoke point of 392 deg F. REMEMBER: NO legitimate scientific research has EVER established a causal link between saturated fat consumption and heart disease – despite what people who should know better continue to say. Suet seems hard and dry but in fact contains significant water moisture and will decay even under refrigeration.

Rendering the suet into tallow changes it’s chemical/biological stability at normal temp’s. Beef tallow is composed primarily of the saturated fats Palmitic (26%) and Stearitic (14%) as well as mono-saturated Oleic (47%) with a composite melting point of 86 to 113 deg F which provides a melt-in-the mouth sensation. The rendering process basically involves slowly heating suet (cut into small chunks) over a long period of time to drive out water. This is best/most safely done in a device with limited heat input capabilities (crockpot) or better yet a device that is thermostatically controlled (self-heated roaster). Small (1-3 pound) quantities rendered in a crockpot can be started out on “high” but must be monitored by thermometer inserted into the suet regularly to check temperature. Reduce crockpot setting to”low” when the 212 deg F “plateau” is past (most of the water evaporated) and the temp begins to climb rapidly. Stop heating when temp reaches 260-270 deg F, strain thru a SST kitchen strainer and pour into a glass or crockery vessel with removable cover to cool and store .

I based my pemmican trial on this site’s recipe #1. 

My interpretation used a 1# brick of Hay Creek Ground Round thawed and spread out (like a pizza dough) onto a roughly 16 inch diameter circle of parchment paper and oven dried for 8 hours @ 180 deg F. It sticks with unbelievable tenacity so the parchment is highly recc’d. Break the dried sheet of meat into rough chunks and food-processor mill into a granular powder. I ended up with 135 grams from the original 454 grams of beef. Place powdered beef into 2 quart mixing bowl.

Melt 200 grams of tallow (you already rendered and saved ) over a double boiler.

Hand chop (with a knife) 3/4 cup (117 grams) roasted almonds .

Measure out 1 1/2 cup(50 grams) dried cranberries (NOT Craisins which are sugar-enhanced. Even the “reduced sugar” Craisins contain 2X the sugar of an equal-weight serving of true dried cranberries)

Pour melted tallow over powdered beef while mixing with a silicone spatula. Add nuts and cranberries and mix till uniform.

Immediately plate out (pack with spatula while doing) onto smooth plate or pan and place in cool location to partially solidify. Test ability to break into chunks with knife or scraper after an hour of cooling. Store chunks in sealed plastic ziplock or rigid plasticware in refrigerator. Freeze for long-term storage.

The flavor and mouthfeel is entirely unique, subtle and becomes even more appealing with familiarity. Great trail food! Feel Good points on using grass-fed for the Omega-3′ benefit!

Where to get grass fed suet?

Ground Round ready for drying