foodie mcfooderson

a home cook with notions & an appetite

ad hoc hamburgers

I know the immediate thought is probably, “how hard could hamburger possibly be?” Well, it’s not hard, but there is a way to elevate them…and not in that whole “cover it with a bunch of random fancy ingredients” kind of way.

This is sort of the point of ad hoc.  Simplicity and quality.  Not covered, not splashed with endless garnishes and frills.  Just let the ingredients speak for themselves.

The ad hoc method is about controlling what goes in your ground meat and a real good idea about seasoning everything upfront without having to fuss too much with the actual ground beef mixture. But I am getting a bit ahead of myself.  These are your ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs beef sirloin
  • 12 oz beef brisket
  • 12 oz beef chuck
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • Gray salt or coarse sea salt

The cubed sirloin, brisket and chuck are seasoned with salt and pepper before you even get out the grinder.  The meat is already mixed so I won’t have to do a lot of combining of ground meats at the end.

I put the meats through two separate grinds.  This isn’t a quick 10-minute deal. To make sure the meat doesn’t retain heat from the grinding process and get mushy, the ground meat does rest in an ice bath. In the end, I have a lovely, seasoned ground beef.  This is not the jumbo tube of who-knows-what-quality that they sell at the mega mart (not that I’ve never bought that myself).

Here, I form the beefy patties of goodness.  The object is to form them into 3/4-1″ patties without squeezing, mashing or overworking the meat.  There are beautiful photos of these patties with visible meat strands being formed in the ad hoc cookbook.  My patties wouldn’t really hold together in that state, so there was some mashing.  I can’t lie.

Let me introduce my grill.  It’s the best of both worlds. Meet my CharGriller – propane on the left and charcoal on the right. That’s right, as a griller, I can go both ways.  I prefer charcoal whenever possible, but I will admit there are simply times when propane is a bit more practical:

In this case, I choose propane. Why? Because I need two levels of cookery. One side medium-high heat, one side medium heat. For the medium-high heat, the cooking is 4 minutes per side (there’s a 90° turn at the 2 minute mark to help make the cross-hatch mark) and 8-10 minutes per side on medium (again, 90° turn halfway through for cross-hatch marks). While I can control this with charcoal, it is just simpler and with the limited time needed, propane is easier.

See – here they are fresh off the grill. I basically dressed this simply with some mayo, ketchup, pickles and sauteed onions. Fantastic – and I have a plenty of leftover “good hamburger meat” waiting to be grilled.


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This entry was posted on August 23, 2011 by in ad hoc and tagged , , , , , .

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