OK before I get going on my post let me just say I was very critical of the state of the board recently. I stand by everything I said, but there have been significant changes made and I feel I can't be critical, move on and then ignore it when many of the issues I was critical of were addressed. So I am dipping my toe in the water again posting here. It has been many months since I have done a picture post, so I hope you'll for give me for a big one.
The elusive perfect burger. This version is from a recent cookbook called Wicked Good Burgers by New England chefs Andy Husbands, Chris Hart and food Writer Andrea Pyenson. SR knows these folks and wrote some of the intro material to their first book Wicked Good Barbecue.. Anyway this is there take on the perfect burger. One of their principles is to do it right you should do as much of it yourself as you can, from grinding your own meat, to making your own condiments, to baking your own buns. They say if any aspect of a burger is not up to par it renders the entire burger below par. So I did everything from scratch here so there are a lot of pix.
The mustard recipe I made was called Jack D'Or mustard, which used a local microbrewed ale of the same name. The other ingredients were: Sugar, garlic powder, kosher salt, mustard powder, the ale and brown mustard seeds.
The Pretty Things Beer and Ale Project is a group of microbrew fanatics who rent out space in a local brewery once a week to make various beers that are popular in some Boston and Cambridge area restaurants.
Everything but the mustard seeds and the ale were put in a saucepan and brought to a boil.
The brown mustard seeds were placed in a non-reactive bowl and were covered with the boiling liquid. Then the ale was added and the mustard went into the fridge for the first of two overnight rests.
The next day the mustard came out of the fridge and was pureed in a food processor for 3 minutes and ended up thickening up considerably
The ground beef called for a powder they called Fifth Dimension Powder which is a Umami powder. Umami is supposedly a fifth taste sensation. It makes us crave more of what we are eating. The powder use: Porcini Mushroom powder, garlic powder, portabela mushroom powder, onion powder and Worcestershire powder.
Next up was the tomato-ginger ketchup which used: Tamarind paste, peeled tomatoes, kosher salt, red wine vinegar, olive oil, black pepper, diced onion and minced ginger and garlic.
The olive oil was heated using medium high heat and the onions were sauteed.
The heat was turned to low and the minced garlic and ginger were cooked for 15 minutes.
The heat was turned back to medium and the tamarind paste, vinegar and sugar were added and cooked for 5 minutes at which time the mixture had thickened.
The tomato was added next and the mixture was simmered for 30 minutes.
The resulting mixture had way to coarse a texture for ketchup, so I improvised and used my immersion blender to get the right texture. I am not a store bought ketchup fan, so I really didn't expect much from this ketchup. When I tasted it for seasoning I was blown away. I knew my burgers would now use mustard AND ketchup when I added condiments.
My newly remodeled Kitchen has 50 percent more cabinets and features a 3' dedicated baking area. I used to have to go to two closets in other rooms, 2 base cabinets and one wall cabinet to collect the ingredients. Now everything is right in the base or wall cabinets in front of me. I only need to move to use the sink to draw some water from the tap. The recipe for Flour's Bakery's Burger Buns used: All-purpose flour, bread flour, kosher salt, instant yeast, sugar, olive oil and water.
Everything but the olive oil were added to the bowl and mixed gently.
The dough was micxed until it was starting to come together and the olive oil was drizzled down the side of the bowl with the mixer on low. The dough was mixed for 5 minutes.
The dough went into a dough doubling pail for 3 hours.
The dough was divided into 8 pieces and placed on sheet pans. The dough went into the oven for another 2-3 hours until doubled in size.
The dough is on the Egg using the ceramic platesetter that turnis it into a convection oven and raises the sheet pan so it is in the dome area. I used some copper plumbing T's to raise the sheet pan and let air circulate underneath. I was baking at 400 degrees.
The buns were done after 22 minutes. I didn't get as much rise as hoped for, next time I will use more flour as the mix was a bit wet
The meat was ground chuck, which I made starting with a 3 pound chuck roast. The roast was cut into strips the size of the feed chute on the grinder and were frozen for an hour before grinding.
The strips were mixed together with the Fifth Dimension (Umami) Powder before grinding.
The meat was ground using the coarse blade for the grinding attachment for my KA stand mixer.
The meat was formed into 8 6 oz. patties. A one inch depression was placed in the middle to keep the patties from rising to look like a meatball
After baking the buns I removed the Plate Setter and placed a cast iron grill grate on the Egg. The triangular bars were facing so the wide side was up for the best grill marks. I raised the temperature to 500 degrees. Here the buns are cooking for 2 minutes on the first side. I didn't get pictures after I flipped them because the oak chips I added made it too smoky to shoot.
The burgers cooked for a minute on the second side. Grinding your own meat makes it safe to go to lower temps than 160 degrees. I wanted my burgers medium rare. When the burgers came off the grill they were topped with cheese and covered for a 5 minute rest. I used a second inverted sheet pan as a cover.
Time to eat!! Three days in the making (for the mustard at least) but worth the time.
The toppings were some sliced white onion and the Jack D'Or Mustard and Tomato-Ginger Ketchup.
The buns had an excellent flavor and a nice bit of a crunch, so despite them not rising as much as hoped for they were well received.
The Jack D'Or Mustard was really good and really hot. I warned everyone they might want to use some regular yellow jar mustard everyone tried, and to my great surprises liked this mustard despite it's hotness. The tomato-ginger ketchup was amazing too. It had bursts of many different flavors and was sweet and a little spicy. People were actually eating it on it's own after they were done eating, dipping chips in it too.
This meal was for Mother's Day. My mother didn't know I had this cookbook. She likes burgers so much she requested I make hamburgers when I asked her what she'd like me to make. She declared it the best burger she'd ever had (as did my other guests).
So was this the perfect burger? Well I can't say that cause I need to work on the bun recipe. What I can say is my mother on Mother's Day declaring this to be the best burger she's ever had makes it the perfect burger in my eyes too.