One thing I love about the summer is that I actually have the time to rest, travel and cook. I also appreciate that I now have the time to exercise to keep the food I am incorporating from becoming a few hundred pounds. While skipping through a newspaper, I noted an “expert” who insisted that you cannot make a great burger without grinding your own meat. You need control over the cut and the ability to keep the meat from a single source – unless you want to blend types of meat. As noted in a previous entry, I used one of my gift cards to pick up the KitchenAid Stand Mixer grinder attachment. Time to test it out!
While in Hamilton to visit V., we went to a grocery story and picked out a $12 slab of round roast. Not too big, but with a bit of marbling, and it was fresher than most of the other cuts. By the time I made it home I was exhausted, but still looking forward to experimenting with the new tool, so out came the cutting boards and the in went the meat. Word of warning: you will look like Dexter afterwards, so if you are squeamish about where your meat comes from, then just buy the styro-packs…they were made for you. Me? I am okay with a little blood, as it brings out the colour of my eyes.
I easily ran the round through the grinder. The majority went through the larger press once, and I ran one patty through the smaller plate a second run through. I also used a bit of bread crumb that I had frozen, as I read that it will help keep the meat moist and to hold together. In the end, I ended up with three big burgers and a mini meat loaf for the Staub casserole dish. The best burgers were the larger grinds with the bread crumbs. They held together, cooked evenly and caused no issues. The smaller, breadcrumbless burger was okay, but would not hold up on the bbq. Yes, I had to resort to white bread for a bun, but it was perfect. I also added Djon mustard, freshly sliced dill pickles and a dab of ketchup. The cheese shown is a nicely thin Thunder Oak Nettle Gouda. Stellar on all fronts. Best burger ever. Cherry Coke forever!
Verdict: the best burger I have ever had. Period. Moist, fresh, clean and able to be safe at medium-well done. I will never buy pre-made ground beef again. I now am confused as to why people ever abandoned the meat grinder as part of the modern kitchen. What has happened to the wisdom learned from our elders? I find that most of my time learning to cook is about uncovering the standard practices of two generations ago. Maybe the next time you go to the cooking store for the latest gadget, you would have been better off talking to your grandmother or aunt about making jam or a beef stew.
Lastly, is the meatloaf. It will be saved for tomorrow’s dinner. $12 for two stellar dinners is a great deal, and neither dish took more than a few minutes to prep. Perhaps I overdid it on the burger-eating, but the bicycle ride is on for tomorrow, and the best food is always worth the time spent in the gym. I am just happy to have my time back so that I can get to the gym. First sleep and rest, then recover and work-out. I forgot to mention that I was also lucky enough to grab a copy of the Joe Beef cookbook. While not the most useful cook book, per se, it reads like a wonderful essay on the value of life, drink, food and friends. Like the PDC cookbook, it makes me miss Montreal and all that I love about that city.
Tomorrow: strawberry jam from fresh Ontario berries.