The gourmet burger phenomenon has always been interesting to me. advertisements showing that bigger equals better or grass-fed equals quality can sometimes confuse people and make them wonder what all the big fuss is about. Over the years I’ve cooked burgers using different kinds of meats from fatty to grain fed to grass fed to bison and everything in between. For this dish, I decided to step back a bit and focus on texture.
This forced me to focused on each on each ingredient involved. From the bread to the meat used as well as the toppings and condiments. I was going for feels. What works and how can I make a texture work for me. Off the bat, I I hate eating a big bun just for the sake of it. I feel that If the bun is big it should be extremely soft so that it can not only compliment the condiments and cheese but also compliment the melted fat from the meat.
I decided to approach making this burger the same way that I approach creating any serious dish. Melding flavors and textures together that make sense. And it’s going to always depend on the flavors that you like.
THE FINAL DISH
Ground Lamb and Grass-fed beef burger with Columbo curry mayo topped with Maitake (hen of the woods) mushroom and covered with Truffelino (black truffle cheese) on a chewy pretzel bun Tator tots with crispy basil and Parmesan cheese and a side of spicy chipotle smoked ketchup
Grass-fed meat is excellent but you have to know how to cook it. If you overcook grass fed beef it ruins the texture and becomes rubbery. More so than corn-fed ground beef. This defeats the purpose of buying grass-fed beef because you won’t get the full flavor. Grass-fed beef tends to be softer than grain fed beef and in my opinion, has a meatier flavor. It also is easier to digest than 100% corn-fed beef. Has more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid (your heart will like this type of fat. Trust me), more vitamins and last but not least. Cows naturally eat grass so when you’re eating grass-fed beef you’re eating beef from a cattle on their natural diet. Please do not get fooled by the term pasture raised. Anything can grow in a pasture and that doesn’t necessarily mean that the cows in that pasture eat grass. Also, please don’t put six slices of cheese on a grass-fed burger and call it a heart-healthy grass-fed burger. That’s not a burger. That’s a grilled cheese with meat.
YOU MUST always cook a grass-fed burger at least medium-rare, medium-well (pushing it) or rare.
Even the meat from cattle who feed on grains and finish on grass will be softer than cattle who solely feed on grains. Most grocery stores will list if the ground beef is 100% grass fed or half grain fed.
So with that said YOU MUST always cook a grass-fed burger at least medium-rare, medium-well (pushing it) or rare.
For my burger, I pulled out the cast iron skillet and added a few drops of oil to my pan because my beef was lean. I wanted a very soft texture so I included ground lamb with my ground beef mixture.
Since my burger was big my method was to heat the skillet up on a high flame and then reduce the flame to Medium-low and a minute before I flipped it I turned up my flame again to get a good crust and then I flipped.
My Cheese of choice was the notorious IL Truffelino. I still had some left. A soft cheddar with truffles that isn’t overpowering.
I used a mixture of Maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms. These mushrooms are bold and flavorful. They have a hearty texture and buttery yet nutty flavor.
Columbo Mayo is spicy yet flavorful. When making my aioli I added an extra bit of lemon to make it pop.
I deep fried basil to create a nice texture and flavor with my tater tots. The parmesan on top of the tater added a bit more umami flavor.