I always wanted to try grinding my own beef for my hamburgers. I had read how to do it and finally got around to it. It was quite satisfying to understand how the process works and what the benefits are.
I started off by getting a meat grinder - a hand crank model by Porkert from the Czech Republic. (A good friend of mine who happens to be Czech claims that everything great in civilization came from the Czechs: robots, revolvers, beer and now awesome meat grinders.) My Porkert cost me $46.95 at Sur le Table.
A trip to Schaubs at the local Stanford mall garnered two pounds of boneless chuck roast ($9). I asked the butcher if the beef had the requisite 20 percent fat. He didn’t know. He said their ground beef had 20 percent, but that was because they added the right amount of fat. Not to be deterred, I took it anyway, fat percent be damned. By the way, Schaubs has a local delicacy called Fred’s Steak. It is a marinated tri-tip that is about as good as any meat you will taste.
Once home, I washed the Porkert (love that name) to remove the any residual oils from the manufacturer. It was easy to assemble. I inserted the quarter inch grind plate. I clamped it to my wife’s breadboard, much to her chagrin, to started grinding.
I cut the chuck into short strips and ran it through the grinder. The grinding took a little longer than I thought it would. To make sure the fat was all broken up I ran it through again. (Always ask for your hamburger to be ground twice when you are having it ground fresh at the butcher.)
Next I added salt and fresh ground pepper to the mix. I formed it into 4 half-pound patties. I noticed the beef seemed airy and light compared to the ground beef I usually get.
I cooked the patties on my Weber Summit gas grill for about 5 minutes per side on 400 degrees. I like to rotate the patty 90 degrees on each side to get cross pattern from the grill bars. But you only turn the patties once, to lock in the juices. Also, don’t smash them down and force out the juices.
A minute before taking them off I melted a slice of Gruyere cheese on the patty. I had mine on a fresh bun. Pat had hers on a bed of greens. I also added my favorite HoosierBurgerBoy sauce to mine.
The burger was very tasty. It was a little drier than I expected. Next time I will cook it a little less and try to add a little more fat. But overall it a lighter and fresher than other hamburger I had bought.
Dude, sounds like fun. Next time we get together you can bring your "porkert"! (Sounds like something you can get in trouble for!)
although it belies my real age, i have found that a full-sized Cuisinart does a nicely coarse/small chunky ground beef with just a handful of pulse'ing on their metal blade...
We have a Cuisinart as well. But I am truly a Porkert fan, if for nothing more than its old school hand crank. I wonder if I can bring the Pokert on my next trip back to Indiana. SRK
Cool post Scott. Those things look huge, glad that you are staying away from the mini burger trend. I don;t have a grinder, but thanks for the advice on the brand.
I don't make mini burgers. But they can be fun to eat as long as I can have 5 or 6 at a crack. Although two of the Best-O-Burgers were pretty good.
it also helps to put the guts of the grinder equipment in the freezer for an hour or so before you grind. I would also recommend putting the meat in the freezer to firm up the meat, but not to frozen just very cold. A warm grinder can heat the meat up and you will not get a good grind and the fat will begin to melt. Chuck is my standby and boneless short ribs give a bit of depth as well.
Just for aesthetics - turn 60 degrees instead of 90 degrees before flipping. It leaves a nice diamond pattern instead of squares...
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