Imagine it’s finally summer and barbecues are everywhere. It’s time to make that delicious burger and impress your clique. A burger is as good as the meat you use.
It is that finishing piece that makes a burger “the burger.” Most burger recipes call out for ground beef, but that doesn’t have to be your only choice. You could decide to use ground round too.
Any meat with high-fat content around 15 to 20 percent. This rule cuts off some type of meat like sirloin and round meat. Ground meat is the most popular, and you can find this at the supermarket or your nearest butcher.
Get that beef that is ground right in the store and contain the proper fat ratio to lean. Buying ground meat is about trusting your store or butcher that they got the ratio right.
When choosing the meat for your burgers, put in mind that if the meat has a fat content 0f 25 to 30 percent, then it is favorable if you want your meat medium-rare or medium, respectively. If you want it from medium to well-cooked, it has to have a high percentage of fat like 40%.
Table of Contents
Factors To Consider When Choosing Your Meat For A Good Burger
Percentage of fat
If you didn’t know, fat is the one that provides a burger with moisture and flavor. It prevents the meat from drying out when cooking it over the hot grill. The basic fat content for your meat is 15 to 20 percent, but you could go a little bit high than that if you want to. Round and sirloin are too lean, so don’t fall in this category, but when supplemented with ones with high-fat content, they are still good choices.
This is the setting on the grinder attachment used to grind the meat. The meat is ground using plates with large holes in it to produce a coarse texture. For a coarse grind, store-bought ground beef and pork are always available. If you want ground turkey and chicken, then you will have to go for the finer grind since they have more cartilage hence made finer to make them palatable. You probably wouldn’t choose this because the outcome is a mushy texture, and you want your patty to hold.
Making the patty
The patty may not necessarily be just the meat. You could add other ingredients such as salt and pepper, chopped onions, or dried herbs or garlic. Do not load the meat though with all those additional ingredients because they may weaken the patty.
Like we saw earlier, there are some times you will have to supplement lean meats with meat with high-fat content, Just to get the lean-to-fat ratio right. For example, you have ground beef. It doesn’t have enough fat content, but if you combine it with ground pork, then the fat balances out the leanness of the ground beef and contributes a porky flavor to the burger. You can use this trick with other meat, such as turkey and chicken.
Grilling the patty
Remember that this is not a steak, which is the best-cooked medium-rare. For that tasty burger, you need to cook it between medium-to-well without cooking the exterior to a black coating. Cook it over a medium-temperature grill and not a high one, which is sometimes hard to control.
Different Meat For Burgers
This is the meat made from the skeletal muscles. It has no variety of meats. Only muscles attached to the bones. If you want this for your burger, it has to follow the 80/20 rule to get a perfect blend.
Eighty percent lean and 20 percent fat. It sounds like a lot of fat, but most of it will render out while being cooked, giving you a juicy burger. If you get one that is already packaged.
Make sure they did that at the store. The issue with ground beef is if the lean to fat ratio is not balanced, then the outcome is a lump of greasy and mushy burger meat.
Chuck steak is also a popular one because it is well balanced in flavor, and the lean-to-fat ratio is perfect and generally the primary cut used in burger blends. It is sometimes supplemented with the other one or two cuts of meat.
This is a leaner one but has flavor nonetheless. Since it is leaner, you will have to supplement it with other cuts of meat that have high-fat content such as chuck or brisket. It is also quite expensive.
If you are feeling fancy, then go for this one. Also known as skirt or hanger steak. It has a tart and gives a tangy flavor. For this hanger steak meat, it maintains its juiciness and tenderness even when cooked to well done. Its price per pound is affordable.
Brisket has high-fat content making it an excellent choice for a meat burger, or you could supplement other meats like the sirloin with it. It has this delicious beefy flavor and gives one of the perfect burgers.
This one is quite leaner and cheaper. It is used mostly to lean out the high-fat meats to get that perfect lean-to-fat ratio.
Grinding Meat For Burgers
Grinding meat is something many chefs swear by because you get to know what you are working with, and you can even customize your flavor and fat content according to your liking.
It is also a lot cheaper than buying it pre-packaged. You could decide to mix meats as we discussed above, but the key should be the lean-to-fat ratio should be right.
Twenty-five percent of the fat is perfect for any burger. For starters, you could tell your butcher for three-quarters of a pound chuck, and a quarter of sirloin ask for a pound of raw meat. Then Grind!
Suppose you are lucky enough to have a grinder then good for you.
Steps to grinding meat
Follow the following steps. Let us assume we are using fresh beef chuck, which has 25 percent of fat content.
- Cut the beef chunks into cubes.
- Chill them in the freezer to help them hold shape and keep them firm when going through the grinder.
- Freeze the grinding plate and the other cutting parts along with the meat.
- Grind away! Make sure you have a cold bowl to catch the beef that has been grounded to make sure it remains cold. You could fill a larger bowl with ice then put your holding bowl inside the ice bowl.
- Afterward, season the ground meat with salt and freshly ground pepper and other ingredients for your meat patty. You could cook up a little bit of it just to know how it tastes.
- Do not overdo the ingredients because they make the patty soggy, then form the patty gently after and keep them cold.
There are two known ways to grind your beef, and that is by using a food processor or hand chop. For the food processor, make sure the meat is cubed and put in the freezer for about 20 minutes before grinding it.
Do this in batches and pulse the meat till its finely chopped. If you decide to hand chop, you still need your meat cold, so keep it in the freezer first for 20 minutes then proceed to chop it finely. Takes work, but if it’s all you got, you have to do it to our best ability.
The best meats to grind are the ones we covered above, and don’t forget to supplement them when grinding.
Meat grinding tips
Grinding meat at home is not only recommended but cheap as well. There are two reasons why most people choose to grind their meat, which is a health precaution against E.coli, and you get to have control over your meat source and process.
When you get it already pre-packaged in the supermarket, you don’t know where it’s from. Grinding meat at home is not as difficult as people think, and even if you do not own a meat grinder, you can use any of the two methods above.
Whether you are making meatloaf or our topic of the day, burgers, the significant part about it is you get to choose what you want and what to supplement what. If you are new to grinding, consider the following:
- Make sure to cut your meat into cubes
- The meat must remain cold for safety purposes, and that is where partial freezing comes in. It helps keep the juices in the meat too, and you won’t get this watery mess because it’s defrosting.
- Keep your surfaces clean at all times
- Cook the meat to an internal temperature of 160 degrees
Beef For Hot Pot
First of all, a hot pot is a Chinese cooking process where a big pot is put at the center of the table, boiling broth with a heater under it. Raw ingredients are served around the pot, such as meat, veggies, noodles, and dumplings, where people get to cook them in the broth.
Just about any meat can be prepared in the hot pot, including beef. The beef is first cut in thin slices then dipped a few times in the broth, and in a few seconds, they are good for consumption.
The trick is to slice them down to paper-thin strips. Thaw it before eating time. You could decide to go with brisket, short rib ribeye or Asian beef-tendon meatballs.
Apart from beef, just about any meat is hot-pot appropriate meat. All you have to make sure is that they are thinly sliced just to quicken their cooking.