One of the challenges I’m preparing for now that we have two children in the house is organizing meal time, especially finding something that your uber picky two year old will actually eat. Fortunately, my wife is still on maternity leave, so I have two weeks left before this could really become a problem.
With my son stating to show an interest in certain forms of meat, I have been stealing any moment I can to prepare food in advance and freeze it so I can cut down the prep time after my wife has returned to work. I’ve made a few batches of sausage (chicken and cold smoked barbecue) and meatballs to give me some breathing room during the week.
The other day I read a post about old fashioned burger stand burgers by a blogger I have recently started following and was inspired to prepare a custom burger blend to add to my icebox warchest. After putting together a burger bar for my son’s second birthday using Chef Michael’s Symon’s Lola burger blend I was curious to make some modifications based on Julie’s post.
If you’ve read my Dad in the Kitchen posts for long enough, then you know that grinding up meat is one of my favorite things to do.
I have an old school hand crank model that I use for batches under 10-15 pounds and then I have a 3/4 HP motorized one for when I’m going to crank through forty to fifty pounds of meat.
I started out by grabbing a few pounds of tri tip sirloin steaks and a brisket, but rather than the chuck I had used previously I substituted boneless beef short ribs. I stuck with the 40/40/20 ratio, broke the meat down into cubes, seasoned it using a Umami Hamburger recipe and let it get happy in the refrigerator for an hour or so.
After coarsely grinding the mixture I loosely packed the meat that I had into a dozen burgers (about 1/3rd of a pound) and six little man sized burgers. Since we were having them for dinner that night I dug up my 2’’ round ravioli cutter and trimmed a sandwich thin and a slice of cheese to fit his burgers and served them up.
We were pleasantly surprised with his reaction, as he ate the entire burger with dip (his name for ketchup and maple syrup) and the broccoli slaw that I served with it.
The burgers I made that we weren’t going to consume in the next few days got partially frozen before I vacuumed sealed them for their stay in the freezer.
The substitution of the boneless beef short ribs for the chuck was a great move. From a cost standpoint I only spent about $.30/pound more than I would have for the leanest pre-ground meat at my local mega mart (which is the best comparison since I don’t add fat beyond what the meat already has) and I got to control what went into it.
If you’re interested in making your own custom burger blend you don’t even need your own grinder – although it is much more fun. Julie’s post provides a great set of instructions on how to do it by using a food processor and partially frozen meat so it doesn’t turn to mush.
PJ’s Custom Burger Blend
adapted from Chef Michael Symon, Willow Bird Baking & White on Rice Couple
- 2 pounds tri tip steak, sirloin tips or sirloin steak
- 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
- 1 pound beef brisket (with the fat cap on)
- 5 garlic cloves, finely minced*
- 1/4 cup fish sauce
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 1/4 teaspoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground star anise
- Cube all the meat and add to a large mixing bowl
- Add the remaining ingredients to the cubed meat and stir to combine well
- Return seasoned meat mixture to the refrigerator for an hour or so
- Grind using a coarse plate, or follow instructions on this post for using a food processor
- Pack loosely into patties of a size that fits your need, cook and enjoy
- Should yield 10 to 15 burger patties depending on preference
* When I made my batch I did not add garlic as baby girl doesn’t seem to appreciate it at this time. We are hoping to be able to return garlic to our diet shortly.