Burgers are a family favorite. They are one of those meals that are easily customizable. Father gets a plain burger on a bun. Mom gets a burger with no bun, sometimes cheese, avocado, and mayo. Creg and I get the works – cheese, grilled onion, lettuce, tomato, chipotle mayo, and sometimes bacon.
We almost always make oven fries to go with the burgers.
I always bought 85% organic ground beef from Whole Foods. Until I discovered the meat grinder attachment for my KitchenAid mixer, and a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for burgers with home-ground meat. I had heard about grinding your own meat before, but just never did it. I had initially purchased the meat grinder to make my own chorizo. But then I saw this ancient video on ATK, back when J. Kenji López-Alt was on the show. I adapted that recipe, in which they use a food processor to grind the meat, and use my meat grinder attachment instead. Why not?
The recipe uses a combination of beef short ribs and sirloin tips (which are called flap meat, or flap steak here) The short ribs are easy enough to find, and luckily my Whole Foods carries the flap meat. It looks kind of like flank steak or skirt steak, with a wide grain running through it. Sirloin tips out here are quite different than what they are in Boston. The meat is packed very loosely so it’s a little tricky to work with, but well worth it. Because it’s so loose, you really can’t grill these – they are best cooked up in a stainless steel pan. The first time we made them, we used the sort-of In-N-Out style sauce that the recipe calls for, but the other night I reverted to my favorite chipotle mayo. I use José Andres’ method for a super quick homemade mayo in an immersion blender (see 2:28 in this video) and I add Frontera chipotle purée for a delicious spread that we also dunk our fries into.
The oven fries are simple and tasty, and so much easier than deep frying. The trick is to preheat the sheet pan so the bottom of the potatoes starts to cook as soon as they hit the pan. I cut up the potatoes, toss them in a bowl with olive oil and salt, and then spread them out in an even layer into the hot sheet pan. Cook for about 1/2 hour, then flip and continue to cook till they’re browned and beautiful. Sprinkle a little salt on at the end and done!
Cheeseburgers with Home Ground Meat
- 10 ounces Flap Meat cut into 1" chunks
- 6 ounces Beef Short Ribs Boneless, cut into 1" chunks
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 Buns
- ½ tsp Vegetable Oil
- 4 slices American Cheese
- 1 Sweet Onion thinly sliced
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ lemon juiced
- ½ cup canola oil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 tsp Chipotle Purée
- Place beef chunks on baking sheet in single layer, leaving 1/2 inch of space around each chunk. Freeze meat until very firm and starting to harden around edges but still pliable, 15 to 25 minutes. Chill meat grinder.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan. Add onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until lightly golden.
- Make mayo: Place egg in the bottom of the beaker of an immersion blender. Add salt, lemon juice, canola oil, and olive oil. Place immersion blender in the bottom of the beaker, turn on, and slowly pull up. Divide into two ramekins, leaving one plain and mixing chipotle purée into the other.
- Grind meat per grinder instructions.
- Gently separate ground meat into 4 equal mounds. Without picking meat up, with your fingers gently shape each mound into loose patty ½ inch thick and 4 inches in diameter, leaving edges and surface ragged. Season top of each patty with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Refrigerate while toasting buns.
- Melt ½ tablespoon butter in heavy-bottomed 12-inch skillet over medium heat until foaming. Add bun tops, cut-side down, and toast until light golden brown, about 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining butter and bun bottoms. Set buns aside and wipe out skillet with paper towels.
- Return skillet to high heat; add oil and heat until just smoking. Using spatula, transfer burgers to skillet and cook without moving for 3 minutes. Using spatula, flip burgers over and cook for 1 minute. Top each patty with some onions and a slice of cheese and continue to cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute longer.
- Place a piece of lettuce on bottom of each bun. Transfer patties to bun bottoms. Spread 2 teaspoons of mayo on each bun top. Serve immediately.