Recipe

Grain-Fed Quarter-Pound Burgers

by Tim Chin

Sometimes you don’t mess with a classic. Grain-fed beef chuck is arguably nature’s perfect all-purpose burger blend (the Chuck Norris of beef cuts maybe?). At an 80:20 lean meat to fat ratio, it’s a hard cut of meat to beat for your money. For this recipe I chose a thin-profile burger that I could get crispy on the outside, while the extensive marbling of this grain-fed cut would keep the inside nice and juicy. And to all you die-hard, blowhard burger savants out there heckling me in your seats as you read this: This was to be a thin, fast-cooking, no-fuss patty, so I decided against using a burger blend—though not without some rigorous testing and heated emotional debate. I was looking for crispy edges, richness, and just a hint of tender, meaty goodness in the center—all things that chuck could accomplish beautifully with a little TLC.

Loosely packing and pressing the patties helps create irregular crags at the edges of the burgers and ensures good surface contact with the pan, leading to crispy edges and nicely seared exteriors. Holding off on the salt until flipping contributes even more to a nice crust (salt pulls moisture out of the meat which cools the skillet and creates steam instead of browning—not what we’re going for here). Add a little cheese, a nice potato roll, and some special sauce, and you’re on your way out of burger-tory and into the beefy embrace of this diner-style classic. 

Yield
Makes 4 burgers
Grain-Fed_20Burgers_063.jpg
Ingredients
454 g grain-fed boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks
226 g  onion (1 onion), chopped fine
  Kosher salt and pepper
75 g mayonnaise
75 g ketchup
15 g Dijon mustard
hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
thin slices beefsteak tomato
  Dill pickle chips
10 g vegetable oil, divided
slices American cheese
1 pound grain-fed boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks
1  onion, chopped fine
  Kosher salt and pepper
⅓ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup ketchup
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
hamburger buns, buttered and toasted
4  thin slices beefsteak tomato
  Dill pickle chips
2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
4  slices American cheese
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 454 g grain-fed boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks
    Place beef on baking sheet in single layer. Freeze beef until very firm and hard around edges but still slightly pliable, 1 to 2 hours.  
    • 226 g onion (1 onion), chopped fine
    • Kosher salt
    • 75 g mayonnaise
    • 75 g ketchup
    • 15 g Dijon mustard
    Meanwhile, stir together onion and 9 grams salt; let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse onion in fine-mesh strainer; let onion drain in strainer while preparing toppings and beef. Whisk mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard until smooth; set aside.
  1. Pulse half of beef in food processor until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 one-second pulses, stopping to redistribute beef around bowl as necessary to ensure even grinding. Transfer beef to second baking sheet. Repeat with remaining beef. Spread beef over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat. 
    • 4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted 
    • 4 thin slices beefsteak tomato 
    • Dill pickle chips
    Dress bun bottoms with mayonnaise mixture, drained onion, tomato, and pickle chips to taste. 
    • 10 g vegetable oil, divided 
    • Kosher salt and pepper 
    • 4 slices American cheese
    Wrap bottom of 12-inch skillet with aluminum foil; set aside. Divide beef into 4 lightly packed balls. Gently flatten into 3-inch patties. Heat 5 grams oil in second (12-inch) skillet over high heat until just smoking. Transfer 2 patties to skillet. Using foil-wrapped skillet, gently press patties into 4-inch burgers. Season tops of burgers liberally with salt and pepper. Cook burgers, without moving them, until well browned, 60 to 80 seconds. Using metal spatula, flip burgers. Season second side liberally with salt and pepper. Top each burger with 1 slice cheese; cover and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer burgers to prepared buns. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels, add remaining 5 grams oil, and return to high heat for 30 seconds. Repeat cooking with remaining 2 patties and remaining 2 slices cheese. Serve.  
Instructions
    • 1 pound grain-fed boneless beef chuck-eye roast, trimmed and cut into ½-inch chunks
    Place beef on baking sheet in single layer. Freeze beef until very firm and hard around edges but still slightly pliable, 1 to 2 hours. 
    • 1 onion, chopped fine 
    • Kosher salt 
    • ⅓ cup mayonnaise 
    • ¼ cup ketchup 
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    Meanwhile, stir together onion and 1 tablespoon salt; let sit for 30 minutes. Rinse onion in fine-mesh strainer; let onion drain in strainer while preparing toppings and beef. Whisk mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard until smooth; set aside.
  1. Pulse half of beef in food processor until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 one-second pulses, stopping to redistribute beef around bowl as necessary to ensure even grinding. Transfer beef to second baking sheet. Repeat with remaining beef. Spread beef over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat. 
    • 4 hamburger buns, buttered and toasted 
    • 4 thin slices beefsteak tomato 
    • Dill pickle chips
    Dress bun bottoms with mayonnaise mixture, drained onion, tomato, and pickle chips to taste. 
    • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided
    • Kosher salt and pepper
    • 4 slices American cheese
    Wrap bottom of 12-inch skillet with aluminum foil; set aside. Divide beef into 4 lightly packed balls. Gently flatten into 3-inch patties. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in second (12-inch) skillet over high heat until just smoking. Transfer 2 patties to skillet. Using foil-wrapped skillet, gently press patties into 4-inch burgers. Season tops of burgers liberally with salt and pepper. Cook burgers, without moving them, until well browned, 60 to 80 seconds. Using metal spatula, flip burgers. Season second side liberally with salt and pepper. Top each burger with 1 slice cheese; cover and cook for 30 seconds. Transfer burgers to prepared buns. Wipe skillet clean with paper towels, add remaining 1 teaspoon oil, and return to high heat for 30 seconds. Repeat cooking with remaining 2 patties and remaining 2 slices cheese. Serve.
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