A few weeks ago, on a lazy Saturday afternoon , I was watching a marathon of cooking shows on our local PBS station. I unfortunately don't normally watch our local public television station's cooking shows but as I was flipping through the channels, Jacques Pépin's "Fast Food My Way" drew me in and I was riveted throughout the afternoon with the kind of quality food related shows I had forgotten can be found on public television.
Before long, instead of just mindlessly watching the cooking that was taking place, I feel as though I was actually learning things in the process. Which brings me to my new favorite cooking show "America's Test Kitchen" hosted by Christopher Kimball and how I learned to make my own ground beef that lazy Saturday afternoon. I can't wait to try more of the recipes I've seen on my marathon afternoons of ATK but I'll start with the basics.
Using partially frozen (very important, can you see the ice crystals on the meat?) boneless short ribs, cut each rib into generous chunks approximately 2" wide. Boneless short ribs are an excellent choice for grinding into hamburger because of the lean meat to fat ratio. As you can see, a short rib has excellent marbling of fat and a certain amount of fat is important for a moist and flavorful burger and, as we all know the flavor is in the fat!
Add your beef chunks by batches into a food processor and pulse several times until the cubes of meat have become ground and loose.
Try not to overwork the meat because this will cause you to have a tough burger. Process just until the ground meat is formed and remove to a bowl. Toss in another batch and do the same thing. E.A.S.Y.
I'm now excited to try this new (to me) technique on chicken, pork and maybe even lamb. I can only imagine that it's a little bit safer than the ground beef that comes from the store because I ground it myself and I know exactly how it was done. Plus it was really, really fun and very rewarding. Did I also mention pretty? LOL
I'm planning on making my burgers tonight so I'll keep you posted with how they turned out and if there is a noticeable difference in the taste. Just by looking at the meat and it's consistently and color, I'd be willing to bet that it was well worth the effort and time it took. All of maybe 5 minutes. WOOT!
Until we grind again,