I never worked at McDonald’s or Burger King.

Lambchop decided to have some of her Opera/theater cast mates over to watch a DVD of their recent show.  Being the kind, loving woman she is, she volunteered me to cook for everyone.  <snark> And she set the menu for me, knowing I hate ambiguity when comes to cooking. </snark>  Hamburgers and sausages it was to be.

It was a lovely night and I’m sure if I tried I could find lots of things to make fun of.  Instead, I want to direct you to the lovely and delicious burgers I made.  After the Pink Slime debacle, I decided to not risk being turned into one of the walking dead (Zombie sounds so cliché’ these days) and start grinding my own meat and creating a signature custom blend.  I’ve experimented with many different cuts of beef (and pork to be honest).  I love what prime rib does to a burger.  I don’t like what it does to my wallet.

The downside is that making a good blend requires a significant amount of meat. <Juvenile humor> That’s what SHE said! </ Juvenile humor> Cooking for 3 really doesn’t allow me to flex the culinary chops.  I feel like I need about 4 lbs of ground meat to create a repeatable blend.  We were having (a very soft) 15 people over.  I could buy 5 lbs or so and really do something good.  <spoiler> And I did. </spoiler>

In all honesty, I have backslid a bit.  My butcher has big signs stating they never have and never will use pink slime.  And I’m basically lazy.  I knew my blend would start with 80/20 ground beef.  Not quite the same as ground chuck, but close.  I asked for 3lbs.  He scooped out a bit less.  I asked for about 1.5-1.75lbs of Brisket.  He undercut it and I went with the 1.25 that was on the scale.  Then I added 1lb of ground veal for the lusciousness it would add.  And of course, to support the milk industry.

My secret weapon was <wait for it>  Bacon! </wait for it>  I had read somewhere that a chef had added ground bacon to his burger with spectacular results.  Genius! Idea theft is a compliment, isn’t it? So I added about a half of pound of bacon to the mix.  For your own usage what I did was:

Ground Beef 80/20 (or chuck) – 50%
Ground Brisket – 22%
Ground Veal – 18%
Ground Bacon – 10%

I also tried something different with the grinder; a first grind to cut and a second grind to mix.  I ground my brisket and bacon together, then interspersed the beef and veal on the second grind, gently mixing the results.  Nothing else.  I formed 16 very unequal patties and let them set in the fridge for 2 days.  There was no way I was grinding meat on a Monday after work.  Nor on a Tuesday before people arrived.

By the time it was time to cook the burgers – I had been waylaid by late arrivers and 10 ears of rogue corn – my coals were a bit cooler than I wanted.  I turned to a trick I’ve used before.  I often smoke meat with mesquite chunks.  Mesquite burns very hot and wood gets hot fast.  Voila, flaming, usable heat.  I cooked them in 2 sets and also added some Siracha bacon to the grill.  Who doesn’t like Siracha bacon.  Some of our guests were stymied by the name Siracha.  When I said, “perhaps you know it as cock sauce” every headed bounced a happy nod.

Nice bun, slice of onion, fresh slice of tomato (sadly, I’m still a few weeks off from feeding people from my tomatoes) Siracha Bacon and the Signature Greenburger, it was Burger Nirvana.


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