Sometimes you just want a burger. You don’t feel like feeding logs to a fire for 12 hours. You’re all porked out. You want something simple and nothing says simple like the great American burger. Now I’m not claiming to have invented any great new blend. There’s plenty of fancy burger places in town what offer bespoked burgers. The problem is that they tend to be popular and they’re pricey. The pitmaster loves his elbow room and he loves his money. So the pitmaster needs to come up with his own burger blend.
What is the criteria for a Pitmaster burger? Well it has to be better than the supermarket blend but less ambitious than some uber dry aged blend. By adding cuts that are packed with rich beefy flavor into our blend we can create the platonic burger. The platonic burger is beefy, rich, and most of all “inhalable”. If you have to chew on your burger for an extended amount of time, something is amiss.
2 Parts Chuck + 2 Parts Brisket (from the point) + 1 Part Short Ribs
Now you could easily add more short ribs with one major problem. Unlike the first two, the last one comes with bones. This makes for an annoying guessing game at the market on what your final yield might be. And the butcher isn’t stupid, there’s no much else you can do with short rib bones so you’re buying them. I happened to ended up with 1lbs of short rib meat sans bones.
The brisket point is the lumpy fatty portion of the brisket. The nice pretty portion is called the “flat”. The point is not only much tastier than the flat, it’s also a bit cheaper than the flat. Better beef, less money. The reason is pretty simple – the point makes for ugly corned beef.
You’ll need a grinder. You can use a hand grinder or do as I did and get the grinding attachment for your kitchen aid mixer. Not only is it cheaper, it’s less work than cranking out the hand mixer. If you don’t have a kitchen aid mixer then get one, don’t buy a handgrinder.
Step 1 – You’re going to cut your beef into 1 inch thick cubes (see my slide show). And then you’re going to alternate the pieces like some bovine domino. Your blend should be Chuck, Chuck, Brisket, Brisket, Short Rib, Chuck, Chuck, Brisket, Brisket, Short Rib etc.
Step 2 – Pass the meat through the grinder in the same order and chill in the fridge.
Step 3 – Now the critical part is packing the meat. Thin patties are easier and recommended. But half lb patties are so much more fun. Make sure that you pack it into an even hockey puck shape. Don’t squish the meat together as that will give you a dense dry meat loaf texture. You wish to preserve an “inhale” quality to the burger. That is, you should be able “inhale” the burger.
Step 4 – Fire up your grill. toss on the patty. When the bottom seems to be nice and crusty gentlely flip over the burger and top with your favorite cheese. The Pitmaster recommends blue cheese. Now the trick is to always include American Cheese on your patty regardless of cheeese choice. That’s correct, most cheeses especially cheddar is designed to be enjoyed on its own with pears, wine, and discussions about dead poets. They’re not designed to be melted on a charcoal grill. The high heat causes them to melt unevenly and split into greasy splotches. American cheese has very little flavor and lots of stabilizing agents which will keep your cheese in one piece on the burger.
Step 5 – Top your burger on a potato roll (the greatest roll known to man) and serve with a thick slice of tomato and pickles.