(c) 2012 Earl L Haehl – Permission is granted to redistribute this in whole as long as credit is given. Book rights are reserved.
I spent much of the holiday in the kitchen. The objective is to go beyond making just enough burgers for the meal and not have to do this again until fall. Last fall I used beaucoup Cabela’s Club points and obtained a Gamesaver Silver vacuum sealer which has simplified meals. If I need something I can open the freezer. I can buy chicken thighs, pork chops or ground beef on sale and use it until it is once again on sale. The kids have not taken a deer since I got it, but it is going to happen. Now, the stuff you need for one of these burgerama moments in addition to the gamesaver is probably in your kitchen already:
* A four or five quart mixing bowl or prep tray is essential. The bowls come in pyrex or stainless—stainless is much lighter and less cleanup if you drop it. Do not use plastic when dealing with meat unless you like cleaning with a lot of bleach and worrying if there is some food particle residue in the absorbent surface. The commercial prep trays come in stainless or a food grade plastic. The mixing bowls are available at your grocery or local discount store. The prep trays are available where they sell the better grade and commercial food processing equipment.
* A burger press is nice. I am closer to 70 than 60 and have only used the press a couple of years. It has made a difference in the time I spend and added some uniformity. The 5/8 to ¾ inch thick patties cook best in cast iron which is my utensil of preference.
* Wide aluminum foil or butcher/freezer paper to protect the counter from the processing and the meat from the counter.
* A paring knife—okay I could use the BenchMade in my pocket, but there issues as to where it has been. This opens up a three, five or ten pound tube of ground beef. (Yes, I do have a grinder but time is money. See Einstein’s alternative E=MC2/C$=T$.)
* Clean rubber gloves. I picked up a box of powderless nitrile gloves in the first aid pain control aisle.
NOTE: I had a bottle of water but the water of life should wait until the job is done. It boils down to the following principle: When offering a keg party for your students to paint your garage, do not open the keg until the job is done. I might also here note that while I foolishly bought some quart and gallon bags for the vac-sealer, the rolls are better for sizing bags.
If you are like me you will probably have dehydrated chopped onions and coarse ground black pepper. It’s better not to try grinding two tablespoons of black pepper or chopping fresh onions the night before.
THE RECIPE I USED
2 – three pound tubes ground round. I use the leanest cut available. When Angus is on sale I use. Bison (Tatonka) is never on sale. 1½ cups of dehydrated chopped onions. According to my son Oso Penzey’s has some fantastic dehydrated shallots.
1 to 2 (or maybe 3 depending) Tablespoons of coarse-ground black pepper. My preference is Tellichery. Alternatively, you can use some ground Ancho for the southwestern palate.
Mix ingredients together in the mixing bowl. Be sure that the pepper does not clump. It is a good idea to use wax patty papers to keep the patties apart and the burger press clean.
As I wrote when I left the blood-bait on the desk of a friend (after asking the cashier if they had crackers to go with it), “Bon appetit!”