Archive for the ‘Beef’ Category

Originally posted by me on owlpetal.net

You’re probably making your hamburgers wrong. I know, the recipe may have been handed down by your mother and you have fond memories of her hamburgers. They were also probably shaped like bowling balls and had the flavour of sad meatloaf, with family and friends turning bland food into something delicious. Honestly, I’ve had my share of sad meatloaf burgers and they’re perfectly okay. But you can make something far tastier in a quarter of the time. Sad meatloaf burgers are time consuming and mediocre. A good hamburger has three ingredients and will take ten minutes from start to finish.

Mushroom Swiss burger

I too once made sad meatloaf burgers. I bound them with eggs and breadcrumbs in a foolish attempt to make them stick together better. Verily, I would slap them down on a cold pan, and cook them at medium heat for something like fifteen minutes before smearing them with ketchup and eating them on a wonderbread bun.

But I have been saved! Rather than going up on a mountain to have a chat with God, I just read a lot of recipes and listened to people who have been doing this cooking thing longer than I have. From their wisdom, I’ve gleaned a few basic rules for making a hamburger. In honour of the rapture that wasn’t, here’s the 10 best of them.

The Ten Commandments of The Burger

1. Thou shalt not put eggs in the burger.

Eggs are not necessary to bind the burger, and they kill the juiciness.

2. Thou shalt not put bread crumbs in the burger.

Bread crumbs change the texture to a meatloafy texture and kill theĀ  juiciness.

3. Thou shalt not cook the burger at medium or low heat.

High heat means caramelization, which means a tasty crust. A burger cooked at too low a heat will be mushy.

4. Thou shalt preheat all cooking implements.

Grill or pan should be very hot before the burger touches it.

5. Thou shalt not press on the burger while it cooks.

Leave. It. The. Fuck. Alone. Pressing on the burger squeezes out juice and we want juice. You flip it once. That’s it. The only time that PSSSHHHT noise is welcome is when the burger first hits the searing hot grill.

6. Thou shalt let the burger rest for five minutes after cooking.

Leave. It. The. Fuck. Alone. All meat has to rest after cooking. If you bite into your burger immediately you will have a dry burger and a soggy bun. If you cut into a steak immediately, I will drive to your house with a bat.

7. Thou shalt season the surface of the burger immediately before cooking.

Lots of good kosher salt on the patties two seconds before they go on the grill. Let it sit in the salt, you’re drawing out juice. A wet surface means a crappy crust.

8. Thou shalt not make the burger with lean beef.

The ‘juice’ in hamburgers is fat. Fat is delicious. If you don’t want fat in your hamburgers, you don’t want hamburgers. Use a mix of regular and lean for best results.

9. Thou shalt grind beef at home whenever possible.

Supermarket ground beef can’t be cooked below well done, and is never at the right fat content. A mix of chuck and sirloin makes a divine burger.

10. Thou shalt eat the burger medium rare.

This is only an option if you home grind beef, or buy it from a good butcher. Supermarket ground beef does have a higher chance of e coli contamination, so cook those to well done. A medium rare burger is a thing of beauty, though.

The Burger:


  • A cast iron pan or a grill.


  • Ground beef (a mix of half lean, half regular or home-ground)
  • Salt (kosher or coarse ideally)
  • Pepper (fresh ground)


If you want to grind your own meat, use a mix of half sirloin, which is lean and flavourful, and half chuck, which is chewy and fatty. Replace the chuck with pork shoulder if you feel sassy. Either use a grinder, or blitz small batches of 1/2 inch cubes in a food processor. Blitz for 10 short bursts. No matter what meat you use, it should be room temperature before you cook with it.

Preheat grill to high or a cast iron pan to medium-high. If you are working wth a grill open it during preheating, scrape it down, and apply oil to the grill with either a silicon brush or some paper towel and tongs. Close it up and then let it come to full heat.

Form the ground beef into 5oz patties. To do this, weigh or or guess 5 ounces worth of meat and start gently slapping it from palm to palm. Keep doing this and the patty will take shape. Once your patty is formed, press a divot in the top with your thumb. This will prevent ‘bowling ball burgers’ as it’ll compensate for the burger’s tendency to constrict.

Once the grill/pan is crazy hot (you want the grill at 500 degrees), season the burgers liberally with kosher salt and pepper. Place them down on your surface. Do not touch them. When it comes time to flip, get the flipper beneath, place your fingers on the top of the burger, and gently flip over. If the burger is sticking, let it cook a little more. But a hot, oiled surface should not cause this problem.

For medium rare, cook at four minutes a side. Only cook home-ground beef, or beef from the butcherto medium rare.

For well done, cook at six minutes a side.

If you want a cheese burger, toss your cheese on in the last thirty seconds, and put down a lid over the burger.

Once off the heat, let the burgers sit for five minutes on a rack if possible. Take this time to toast the burger buns (top rack of the grill for a minute works great). Resting is crucial for all dry-cooked meat as it lets the juices redistribute. Don’t believe me? Cut into one burger immediately, then let another rest five minutse before cutting. Look at the amount of juice on the plate and compare. Then give the dry burger you cut to someone else.

And that’s it! I like my burgers with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, and some homemade mayonnaise but you can dress your burger as you wish. So long as the patty is good, the toppings are up to you.


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I bought a roast on the weekend with the purpose of making beef stew. I was looking for an excuse to use the slow cooker. We found this one at Coopers for seven dollars. There are a couple of great butchers in the area, but with gas prices being in the $1.40 range, it’s hard to justify travelling all over the city. This, apparently, is a sirloin tip oven roast. A name like that screams “chop me up for stew!”

Sirloin tip oven roast


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Alright, so we had to get some furniture moved from Tracy’s parents’ house to our place. A co-worker and friend, simply known as Joe offered some help, so we took him up on it. His reward? Some beer and a dinner cooked by yours truly. I had casually asked Joe what his favorite meat was (Joe being a meat-eating sort of guy), and he responded prime rib. Sure thing, I always wanted to cook a prime rib and we have more disposable income than we’re used to. So here’s the plan, according to Joe’s ideal meal:

Whipped garlic mashed potatoes.
Broccoli with a cheese sauce.
Roasted prime rib.


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Disco Stew

Okay, so I had a leftover bottle of mediocre shiraz (we had a few sips, decided it was meh, and I saved it for cooking wine) with big plans to throw it in a beef stew. Today is that beef stew. I’ve done beef stew before as well, but I’m going to make my own beef stock for the stew.

Anybody who mentions how retarded it is to make beef stock on the same day you’re making stew can drop dead. Seriously. Now.


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