April 28, 2010

A better burger.

I love burgers. Yeah, I know you probably do to, but I really love hamburgers. Like women, burgers come in all shapes and sizes and I like them all equally, though some are more equal than others.

West Coast style burgers (a la Red Mill) will do in a pinch, but I'd give a kidney for a bacon cheese Whataburger, and I would most certainly do unspeakable things for a double double from In-N-Out.  I like burgers with fried eggs (of many avian species),  green chilies, peanut butter, onions of any persuasion, meat (bacon, ham, salami, etc etc etc), pickles in any guise, ripe tomatoes, and I'm not a bigot where condiments are concerned.  I even like burgers that aren't really burgers in the classic sense. Lamb, chicken, all manner of fish, pork, mushrooms, eggplant, et alia, all make for excellent burgers. 

I like thin patties fried up on the griddle, fat, juicy, and obscenely rare patties from reputable joints, and burnt hockey-pucks from the backyard grill. And don't get me started on cheese! The possibilities are endless, which is what makes the humble hamburger such an amazing thing to behold.

I take great pride in my own burgers, and through trial and error have managed to put together a répertoire of kick-ass sandwiches that I whip out whenever duty calls. Inevitability, however, I've be come very disappointed with the quality of ground meat to be had. With the exception of Fischer's and Bob's, none of the ground beef around here taste much like beef. Even Whole Foods and PCC don't do it for me, so, in an effort to build a better beef burger, I've forsworn pre-ground meat for good. That's right, I'm off the sauce, so to speak.

My lovely in-laws gave me the grinder attachment for my Kitchen-Aid a couple of years back, and while I've used it a few times with varying degrees of success, I haven't used it to its full potential. That changed this weekend when I took a humble chuck roast that was on sale at the local market and turned it in to a work of beefy art.

Preparing to grind

Grinding on the Kitchen-Aid attachment takes a bit of prep, but as long as you keep the chunks of beef and fat small and cold, you should be good.

To prepare the chuck roast, I simply broke it down in to 1-2" chunks, trimmed off as much fat and connective tissue I could, and put the cubed meat and a portion of the fat in the freezer for half an hour.


Worked like a charm.

Ground chuck for half the price

And there you have it! 2 lbs of ground chuck (about 90/10) that actually tastes like beef! No lips, anus, or nasty little bugs in this ground beef, and I saved about $2 a pound by grinding it myself. And now that I've got this fabulous ground chuck, we can proceed with crafting a truly epic burger, a pimento cheese burger to be exact.

I've never been a fan of pimento cheese, but I blame that on the crap I was fed as a child. I figured it was time to get over that particular hang-up so I did some research and put together my own pimento cheese recipe. Hope you like it.

Pimento Cheeseburgers

3/4 lbs shredded sharp cheddar, such as Tillamook vintage white cheddar
3/4 lb shredded jack
2/3 cup good quality mayo
1/4 tsp cayenne
1 tsp granulated garlic
4 oz cream cheese, whipped 
1/2 tsp paprika
4 oz pimentos or pickled cherry peppers, diced 
Sriracha to taste (I used 2-3 tbs)
2 lbs of fresh ground chuck
Salt and pepper
1 beefsteak tomato, sliced
1 red onion, sliced
Buns, toasted

To make the pimento cheese, combine  the first 9 ingredients, cover and refrigerate for several hours.

 Pimento cheese

Because I wanted to showcase the beefiness of my freshly ground beef patties, I kept it simple when it came to seasoning. Before I formed the patties, I added a couple of tsp of salt to the beef and mixed well. I formed 4 half pound patties and applied liberal amounts of salt and fresh ground pepper to each side.

I fired up my Weber chimney with lumb charcoal and proceeded to get my grill on.

Grillin like a villain

I'm a three-flip kinda guy, and I prefer my beef on the rare side, but you're on your own here.

Slather the pimento cheese on one or both sides of the bun, top with sliced tomatoes, onions, and whatever else floats your boat. Serve with whatever sides you feel are appropriate; in our case we made some over fries with the funky purplish, starchy ass potatoes we got in our last CSA box.

Pimento cheeseburger


  1. I think you would like Crazee Burger if you ever find yourself in San Diego. I tried the ANTELOPE Burger with smoked Chili Sauce because they there our of Gator.


  2. Ha forgot to send the link: