Monday, July 9, 2012

ChezCindy: Fresh Ground Beef Burgers

I don't remember what prompted me to buy the grinder attachment for my stand mixer.  I've had it a few years and I use it quite a bit.  I must have seen a great recipe or process that I wanted to try.  Or maybe it was because of a nostalgic memory.  My parents had an old-fashioned hand-crank grinder that they clamped onto the kitchen table.  I remember my dad making "ham salad" by grinding bologna, pickles and onions, mixing it with mayonnaise for sandwiches.  We really liked the ham salad on white bread sandwiches.  Not sure that is my food choice of this day.  I do recommend having the grinder attachment.  It's a fun gadget to add to your stand mixer and there are great recipes to experiment with. 

This past weekend, I needed to use a large piece of chuck that had taken residence in my freezer for too long.  Its original destiny was to be a braised pot roast, but winter weather ran out and it was time to rethink my purchase.  Burgers on the grill!  Lamb Burgers or The Cabernet Burger are two great recipes to try.  

Grinding your own beef for burgers may sound extravagant but it makes a difference in taste and quality.  I really like grinding a cut of lamb for lamb burgers, or fresh ground pork to use in a casserole dish like lasagna.  Another favorite I like is grinding meat for meatballs.  For this process, once you have ground the meat, you run it and the other ingredients and seasonings back through the grinder for a second grind. This will combine everything into a homogeneous mixture for perfectly seasoned meatballs with great texture.  Chicken Apple Meatballs

The process for grinding meat requires just a few steps.  Keep the meat cold until ready to grind.  Working quickly, cut the meat into medium-size pieces.  Place a large bowl under the attachment to catch the meat.  Use the included wooden plunger to push the meat through the grinder.  Once you patty-up the meat or shape into meatballs, proper cleanup is also important.  Detach all pieces and run it through hot soapy water, using a bottle brush to clean inside the feeding tube. 

If you want to get extravagant, try making your own blend of ground beef like the high-end restaurants do.  They will use several cuts of beef, (chuck, sirloin, brisket, etc.) to make their signature burgers.  Or blend chuck with chorizo for a Spanish-style burger.  Have fun experimenting and maybe even making your own memories.

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