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Barb Hodgens
Barb Hodgens

Barb Hodgens loves to cook alternative, healthy whole food cooking with a focus on gut health, SCD & GAPS diets. Barbs has also been able to overcome her own gut health issues through her journey into alternative eating. Please share your ideas, comments and photos at the end of this post :)

Nothing beats a great burger!

Does your favourite burger joint make unbelievably tasty and juicy burgers that you just can’t seem to replicate at home?  A burger patty is just ground up meat right? Seems impossibly easy  – until you try to make them yourself. Then they turn out too dry, too crumbly or too bland.  My bet is your favourite burger joint is grinding their own meat. It makes all the difference. Too often, pre-ground meat just doesn’t cut it.

For the little bit of extra work, grinding the meat yourself puts you in complete control of your burger. You can control the fat, eliminate preservatives and packaging and truly own the whole burger making process. You say what goes in! Chat with your butcher and choose the best cuts – you can’t make a good burger without great beef! 

Then, be prepared for people to say, “awesome burger!” When you tell them all you did was grind the meat yourself, they might not believe something so simple could possibly make so much difference. 

FORMING A GREAT BURGER PATTY

The final shape and thickness is a matter of personal choice but when forming your burger patties always:

  1. Be gentle, don’t over-handle or compact the patties too tightly. 
  2. Start with a ball and then mould into a burger shape later. The balls can be stored on a tray until just before cooking. Discard the juice if the burgers ooze while sitting in the fridge
  3. Make them 20% wider than your burger bun - they shrink in size when cooked.
  4. Make a small dip in the centre. This will prevent the burger from bulging and your burger ingredients sliding off.

    COOKING INSTRUCTIONS

    Cook the patties in a heavy-based skillet or on a BBQ plate for the tastiest results. Heat to medium high, add a little oil then wait till the oil is hot. Since burgers have a tendency to stick, lightly brush each patty with oil before cooking.  

    For a tender and juicy burger, don’t play with the patty while it’s cooking. Don’t flatten it or flip it back and forth. The patty should lift easily from the cooking surface when it’s time to flip. About 3-4 minutes each side should do it, but it all depends on the thickness. When cooked, turn the heat off or move the patties to the cool side of the BBQ. Add cheese (if you want), wait for it to melt and then build the burgers with your favourite ingredients and condiments.

    INGREDIENTS

    2 kg chuck steak (rump or sirloin or a combination)
    1 large onion – finely chopped
    4 cloves garlic crushed
    1 tablespoon tomato paste – additive free
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard paste - additive free
    1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    Generous grind of black pepper 

    METHOD

    1. If the beef is a bit bloody, pat it dry with paper towel – you don’t want excess moisture in your burger mix.
    2. Cut away any large areas of fat or sinew and then chop the beef into 5 cm pieces. Don’t go overboard; a little bit of fat in the burger mix is good as it helps bind the patties together.
    3. Place the chopped beef in the freezer for approximately 30 minutes to snap as cold as possible.
    4. Set up the meat grinder on the bench with the medium (8mm) cutting plate and a bowl under the head. 
    5. While waiting for the meat to chill, prep all the burger seasoning ingredients. It’s best to chop the onion as fine as possible.
    6. Remove the diced beef from the freezer and turn it out onto the plate.
    7. Turn the grinder on then use the food pusher to drive the meat through the grinder into a bowl.
    8. Add all the seasoning ingredients to the ground beef then mix with your hands until it is thoroughly incorporated.
    9. Roll the mixture into balls and set on a plate in the fridge until ready to cook. See the cooking instructions above for additional rolling and cooking tips.
    10. The burger mixture may be kept in the fridge for 4 days or frozen for up to 3 months. 

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