Sunday, January 11, 2009

Local Beef Part 2: Smashed, Skinny Burgers

Ever since I got my order of beef from the Flying M Farm, I’ve been in a quandary as to what I should do with all the beef. I had used the brisket for a great pot of chili, but I was at a loss about what to do with all the ground beef. Luckily, the internet holds the answers to all my queries.

The Paupered Chef, a great blog out of Chicago, happened to have a feature on smashed and skinny burgers. If you were like me, you’re a little apprehensive about the idea of a skinny and smashed burger. If you press a burger on the grill, all the moisture is lost to the fire, and who likes a skinny little burger? Despite these worries, I read on.

After a quick read, I knew the smashed burger method was the perfect medium for the ground beef.

I started with two, fairly unattractive packages of hamburger meat from Flying M Farm. These were quickly rolled into as best I can guess 3 oz balls. I really didn’t feel like breaking out the scale for this little escapade, so I tried to get something a little bigger than a golf ball.

Ok, those are some serious golf balls.

Per the instructions, I sprinkled one side with salt. I was having a hard time deciding between kosher and sea salt, but kosher won out in the end.

From here out, the recipe couldn’t have been simpler. I took a large cast iron skillet, got it rocket hot, and then poured in a few tablespoons of canola oil. The burgers went in salt side down.

The key to success here is to let the meat sear, salt side down for one minute. In the meantime, liberally salt the exposed side of the meat.

You then flip the burgers, and smash the hell out of them with an oiled spatula.

The burger is cooked for one minute on that side, flipped and the cooked for a minute more.

In less than 5 minutes, you end up with a little slice of heaven.

With just heat and salt, the true flavor of the beef was allowed to shine through. Another perk of this method is that while the outsides may have a slight crust, the interior is unbelievable moist. There really is no loss of moisture or flavor from the smash method.

There really is only one downside to this method: the prodigious amounts of grease.

Granted, good burgers are rarely healthy.

The smash method may not be for everyone. It’s a little messy, greasy, and the burgers are tiny, but each little patty is a real delight. If you’re brave enough to start smashing burgers in your own kitchen, you must start with a quality beef. I think Charlie Munford would be pleased to see how his grass fed beef has been put to good use.

Bonus Recipe link

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