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tekobo

Heston Blumenthal's "Perfect" Burger and Chilli

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First things first:  Dennis, look away from this post for awhile.  No cooked meat and no KK action until I finally get through these hellishly complicated recipes from Heston.  

His perfect burger is a 1:1:2 mix of chuck, brisket and aged short rib.  I have started my journey with 4kg of short rib meat cut off the bone.  It had been dry aging for 31 days and needed a good strong knife to get through it.  

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Given the meat next to the bone is often the tastiest, I worked away to scrape the meat out from between and on top of the short rib bones

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It broke my heart to cut up a brisket but this is what 2kg of chopped brisket looks like

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Twice through a 3mm grinder plate with the brisket and short rib meat.

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I know, that looks fatty and not at all appetising.  The next stage is to cool the mince.  Separately I have 4kg of chuck, cubed and salted, sitting in the fridge for six hours.  I doubled the amount of chuck in the recipe because I was worried about the fattiness of the brisket and short rib.  All three meats will be put through an 8mm grinder plate later today and there is an interesting technique that I am looking forward to trying.  I will be back with pix later.

In parallel I am using the rest of the short ribs to make his perfect  chilli.  The ribs on a long horn cow are massive so I had to quadruple the quantity of brine in his recipe.

Beautiful short ribs

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Sitting in brine in the Kong cooler for the next 12 hours.

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Off to do something other than cooking for a while...

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This is going to be very interesting to taste. Looking forward to the cook and the reviews. Great use for the cooler, that came in handy. :)

 

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So far so good.  The interesting thing about the burger recipe is the fact that you need to get the strands of minced meat aligned.  That means you don't mince the meat and then mix it up.  Instead you lay it out in strands and then roll up in cling film to maintain the orientation of the strands.  The idea is that this gives a more open texture to your burger.  This is what ours looked like when we laid it out as it came out of the mincer.  

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I ended up following the recipe with 2kg chuck added in to the minced 2kg brisket and 4kg short rib meat.  With an 8mm hole grinder plate, you end up with some chuck meat to chew within the matrix of meat and fat from the brisket and the short rib.  We then rolled each batch of mince up to get something that looks more like a meatloaf than a burger.

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All three rolls are sitting the the dry ager to cool before getting sliced into individual patties.  The rest of Heston's recipe sees you making your own burger buns, ketchup and cheese slices.  That will take the rest of the week!  In the meantime I think I will buy some burger buns and will try out my first Heston burgers tomorrow.

The chilli recipe has been a bit of a headache.  Heston specifies a list of chilli powders that are not available to buy in the UK.  I was straining to be faithful to the recipe and even contemplated ordering a load of spices from the US.  Then I reminded myself of what someone said recently.  Recipes are a source of great waste.  You buy a bunch of things to cook a particular recipe and then never use them again.  And here I was, looking to buy this very specific list of chilli powders and get them shipped from the  US.  Err....no.  I will go round my local shops to see what they have tomorrow and will raid my cupboards for the rest.  All good fun.  And all because I decided to give my Heston "perfect" recipe books a try rather than give them away.  I hope I don't regret that decision.

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Interesting Tekobo. I have read that the biggest error in making patties is most people knead the mince and ingredient together into a tight patty. The article suggested to treat the mince very delicately to leave small air pockets throughout the patty. These pockets steam cook the mince and hold moisture and tasty fats leaving a very juicy burger.
It looks like your method has this similarity.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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7 minutes ago, Basher said:

I have read that the biggest error in making patties is most people knead the mince and ingredient together into a tight patty. The article suggested to treat the mince very delicately to leave small air pockets throughout the patty. These pockets steam cook the mince and hold moisture and tasty fats leaving a very juicy burger.

@basher that is helpful to know.  I think that even if I don't choose to go for this particular mix of cuts in future, the idea of laying out the strands and rolling them up like this could be a keeper.  The proof will be in the eating!  

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@tekobo That looks fantastic! THE BOMB!

Those are the same three cuts I use when I grind burgers. I never pack or knead the mince, but the idea of laying it in strands is brilliant. I'm going to have to try that.

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12 hours ago, Paul said:

@tekobo That looks fantastic! THE BOMB!

Those are the same three cuts I use when I grind burgers. I never pack or knead the mince, but the idea of laying it in strands is brilliant. I'm going to have to try that.

Hey there Paul.  Great to hear that someone else uses these cuts for burgers.  What proportion of each do you use and how much fat do you cut  out?  I left most of the fat from the short ribs and brisket in and kept the chuck as lean as possible.  It becomes a two person job when you make a burger this way - one to stuff the meat in at the top and the other to catch and lay out the strands on the clingfilm.  

So....this morning I decided to have a burger for breakfast. I bought slider size brioche buns and blue cheese slices from my local supermarket.  I was a bit apprehensive when I sliced a couple of burgers off the roll.  They looked more like a pork sausage than anything else.  Sorry, no photos, I was too busy being worried/disgusted at that stage.  Fried in a pan with no added fat, heated the buns, added fresh shallots on the bottom and melted cheese and hot sauce on top and ate them.

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Wow.  I think it was worth the effort so far.  Soft and juicy burger.  None of the resistance you might normally get when you come to tug your mouthful of burger away from the rest of the burger but still a good chew in the mouth i.e. not pappy and soft.  I now realise that this isn't Heston's perfect burger.  It's my burger to play with.  I think the brioche slider that I chose is a bit sweet for me and also I want to find out how the burgers taste when cooked over charcoal.  I do like the slider size.  You can eat a good, thick burger without all the extra stodge/carb from a bigger burger bun.  I might also go for more chuck ground with the 8mm plate next time, to get a little more chew.  Lots to try but I would definitely recommend these cuts of meat and this method of grinding and assembling your patty.  

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I tried the smaller burger patties out on friends yesterday.  They declared them good to excellent.  Downside is that a lot of fat drains out while you cook them and you have to  have a means of collecting it.  Upside is that the burgers are wonderfully moist and you don't have to cook them "on point" to get them medium rare or rare.  They are so juicy that they taste great even when cooked through.  We had these on tortillas yesterday.

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Aside from liking the  burgers,  I am starting to regret having commenced this journey.  I would not normally go for such a complicated recipe and now I have been sucked in!   Spent tonight cooking kidney beans with tomatoes that had first been pressure cooked and then infused with tomato vine stalks.  Also made a tomato concentrate using the sieved insides of 1.5kg of tomatoes (it was supposed to be 3kg of tomatoes but I rebelled). Tasted like home made tomato puree.  It is meant to be spread on the base of the burger buns to amp up the umami flavour.  We shall see if all of this is worth it.  

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