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Divas on a Dime: the secret to the perfect burger

There are two things I’ll take very seriously this Memorial Day weekend. The first is remembering and honoring our American soldiers who gave their life for our country.

A distant second, but still important, is welcoming the official start of BBQ season. If you know me at all (and I hope you do by now!) you know my favorite holiday is whichever one is next. This weekend as we drag out the Weber and fire up the grill, I’ve got a delectable secret to help you make the most ah-ma-zing BBQ burgers, ever! (Cue the angel choir.)

If you’re serious about hamburgers, ask yourself – “Could we be doing this better?” Now, let me whisper the answer in your ear – “Yessssssss.” (I agree the sibilant S was affected but I don’t get to whisper in your ear nearly enough.) There’s an easy upgrade that takes burgers over the top: Grind cuts of beef steak into hamburger-style meat at home.

It’s easy on the pocket and surprisingly simple to make your own hamburger. But the real reason to do this is the unbelievably rich, beefy taste and tender, juicy texture. This is the eyes rolled heavenward, “OMG! How did you make this???” burger. Worthy of a steakhouse, but at your house this weekend.

Here are the secrets:

The blend. You’ll want to use a blend of flavorful beef with some fat. At least 15 percent fat. Fat equals flavor and juiciness so don’t be afraid of fat. Rib-eye on sale? Do it! I used a combo of boneless beef chuck steak, with good marbling and beef short ribs. I got a little over a pound of each and it made seven generous patties.

The prep. Cut the fresh beef into 1-inch cubes. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 45 minutes. You want them firm but not frozen.

The grind. Use a food processor. Of course, you can use the meat grinder attachment for your stand mixer, but for this purpose I preferred the texture of the chopped beef as opposed to the ground beef of the grinder. Place the cold, cubed beef in the processor in small batches and process until chopped but not pulverized. I was looking for pieces the size of pencil erasers. Are pencil erasers still a thing?

The burger. Shape the burger to be round, uniformly flat and larger than your burger bun. Take your thumb and squish a well in the middle. This prevents the burger from plumping up like a football to keep a lovely bun-friendly shape. Liberally season with salt and pepper.

The heat. Preheat your grill to 400°F. Place burgers on grill and cook to desired doneness. Serve with cheese, a soft burger bun and simple fixings. You want the burger to be the star.

One thing to remember if you like your burgers cooked rare, there’s less risk of cross-contamination when you are grinding a single, large cut of meat using your own kitchen equipment. So, this is safer to enjoy rare. All of us at Divas On A Dime wish you a safe and happy Memorial weekend.

Frugal Festivity by Patti Diamond of Divas On A Dime – Where Frugal, Meets Fabulous!, www.divasonadime.com Join us on Facebook at DivasOnADimeDotCom

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