The burger experiment

April 22, 2010, 12:38 p.m. | by Adriano Petrich | Categories: 5 ingredients or less burger easy

The burger experiment

wait, what?

First it was a post, well, this post [in Portuguese, sorry] about a new burger joint, but bigger than that it sprang a long discussion about good burgers.

The post talks about how hard has become to find a bona fide traditional burger with fries in Sao Paulo.

By fries I mean (and the author does too) home cut from potatoes in house, not the frozen crap.

The discussion went on about recipes and cuts of meat for burger. Ashamed as I am now, I was defending a very unscientific view.

I’ve been using a fifty-fifty mix of Chuck and Rump1 for ages, but I’ve never did some experiments about it. I took it from somewhere (most probably Alton Brown) at face value.

Time to act!

The only way to be sure is to experiment. The objective: test the taste, texture and juiciness of different ratios of chuck and rump.

The How

Easy peasy lemmon squeezy: I bought a bunch freshly ground chuck and rump and got to work. I did 6 types of mix, 2 burgers each:

100% Rump

75% Rump, 25% Chuck

50% Rump, 50% Chuck

25% Rump, 75% Chuck

100% Chuck

“meatball” burger: Using a meatball recipe (meat, breadcrumbs, egg and so.)

Most important, they were not over mixed or pressed too hard.

All were seasoned equally with only salt and pepper.

Also important, they were also not pressed with the spatula to make the SQUEEEEEESHHHH sound. That dries the bejesus out of any burger.

Finally pan fried together for the same time without any oil.

Here are the results in order from worse to better:

“Meatball” burger

Great meatball but clearly the worse burger.

The kind of burger that I would send back if I ordered anywhere.

The taste was not rich, right or “meaty”.

Not a great texture after all: too flaky and tender at the same time.

It was not exactly dry, but the texture make it felt dry.

As a non criteria, but important to mention: It was also the worse looking burger.

100% Rump

This is a hard one. It had Great taste, but bad texture and juiciness.

Don’t get me wrong it was a good burger, but compared to the others bellow I found it lacking.

The texture felt too packed and dry. Almost as if it had been overworked or pressed too much.

Taste wise it was great but not more impressive than the 75%, 50% or even 25% Rump.

100% Chuck

Here is the opposite.

Also a good burger: Very Juicy and wonderful texture, but not much taste.

It felt bland, specially if compared with the other burgers with rump.

75% Rump, 25% Chuck

The added chuck slightly improves the texture and juiciness of the burger.

Here we are entering the realm of great burgers, not only good ones.

Although great, it was not better than the ones bellow.

A little bit to the dry side.

The magic fifty-fifty

Here is were my golden standard was. I was very pleased to discover that the 50-50 mix of chuck and rump is a great combo.

Tasty, juicy and with a lovely texture, all that a burger should be.

In the end, I was mostly right in believing that a fifty-fifty was the best mix and by “mostly” I mean “not”.

Because in the end the best mix for burgers was:

The winner: 25% Rump, 75% Chuck

Texture and juiciness were premium. Tender but not soft, also it still had a kick to it.

Funnily enough the taste was a surprise. Although it had a lot less rump in it, the taste still was impressive. The great rump taste overpowers the chuck mild taste creating a wonderful rich flavor.

Where to go from here

To be honest, after the first batch of burgers were made and tasted I didn’t have the courage to fry the other batch. It felt like a waste to do the 100% versions.

So, in the end, I just remixed the meat and made a 50-50 batch that we ate with fresh tomato pesto.

I did mention the fresh tomato pesto, didn’t I?

1Brazilians cut of meat differ slightly from US cuts (and not to say world wide). Here I use Acém and Alcatra that translate roughly to the same meat as Chuck and Rump (respectively), but not exactly.


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