Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Perfect Burgers ? (pt1)

At some point I made a rash comment I was going to make something  out of one of Heston Blumenthal's cookbooks. A chance encounter with a cut price mincer lead me to his Hamburger recipe. The full thing which includes making buns & cheese slices is a somewhat daunting 30+ hour oddesy. So I chickened out and went for just the burgers, the theory being that when I come to do a full recipe I'll have an idea of the pitfalls.

First set up a workspace, its probably not going to be big enough, because its very unlikely you are a michelin starred chef , even if the perfection recipes are meant for the home cook (A slightly nerdy obsessive one at that).

There we go, ahh the folly of youth. Then meat, specifically beef,more specifically 625g chuck, 625g brisket, 1.2kg short rib.

Short rib is a bit of an odd cut, after much discussion with 3 butchers (including a South African (I mention it as they really seem to know meat))
flat rib was suggested as the correct cut.

First off dice the chuck and then put it in a dish with some salt (a teaspoon full ) and then let it sit in the fridge so the salt can draw out the juices.

Looks good, but no time to admire it as there are 2 more cuts to dice

And then mince, not once, but twice, through a reasonably fine mincer too. My mincer is a hand crank one, this is going to give me lats that some would kill for.

 Lots of mincing happens, fortunately I'm getting 4-5 hours rest whilst the chuck & salt do their thing, unfortunately this meant I was getting rest from the kitchen, there were other chores to do.

 Now I've got a bowl of twice minced beef & a bowl of unminced chuck, that all needs mixing together, this is almost the home straight.

Or so you'd think, however this next mincing has an attention to detail that is a hallmark of molecular gastronomy. Several tests Had Heston thinking about the texture of his burger, he solved it by putting the final mince through a coarse plate, and most importantly keeping the mince aligned as it came out.
The stage is a bit awkward, even with an extra pair of hands. It should be coming out on to cling film, then you can wrap it into a beef log.

You can probably see meat in the bowl behind the log, there was no way the entire amount could go in one log & the fridge, so I separated the mass into two. Logs safely rolled it was time for more chilling. The vaguries of the weekend meant that the actual cooking would be the next day.

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