Juicy Pub-Style Burgers

Published May 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.

Why this recipe works:

To create a recipe for juicy, pub-style burgers with big, beefy flavor, we knew that grinding our own beef was a must. We chose sirloin steak tips for their supremely beefy flavor and lack of gristly sinew, and we upped their richness by adding melted butter to the cold beef before we formed… read more

To create a recipe for juicy, pub-style burgers with big, beefy flavor, we knew that grinding our own beef was a must. We chose sirloin steak tips for their supremely beefy flavor and lack of gristly sinew, and we upped their richness by adding melted butter to the cold beef before we formed our burgers. A combination stove-oven cooking technique gave us pub-style burgers with a crusty exterior and juicy interior that were evenly rosy from center to edge. A few premium (yet simple) toppings were all that was needed to top off our pub-style burger recipe.

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Serves 4

Sirloin steak tips are also sold as flap meat. When stirring the butter and pepper into the ground meat and shaping the patties, take care not to overwork the meat or the burgers will become dense.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2-inch chunks (see note)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Table salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted and buttered

Instructions

  1. 1. Place beef chunks on baking sheet in single layer. Freeze meat until very firm and starting to harden around edges but still pliable, about 35 minutes.

    2. Place one-quarter of meat in food processor and pulse until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 one-second pulses, stopping and redistributing meat around bowl as necessary to ensure beef is evenly ground. Transfer meat to second baking sheet. Repeat grinding with remaining 3 batches of meat. Spread meat over sheet and inspect carefully, discarding any long strands of gristle or large chunks of hard meat or fat.

    3. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Drizzle melted butter over ground meat and add 1 teaspoon pepper. Gently toss with fork to combine. Divide meat into 4 lightly packed balls. Gently flatten into patties 3/4 inch thick and about 4½ inches in diameter. Refrigerate patties until ready to cook. (Patties can be refrigerated, covered, for up to 1 day.)

    4. Season 1 side of patties liberally with salt and pepper. Using spatula, flip patties and season other side. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Using spatula, transfer burgers to skillet and cook without moving for 2 minutes. Using spatula, flip burgers and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer patties to rimmed baking sheet and bake until instant-read thermometer inserted into burger registers 125 degrees for medium-rare or 130 degrees for medium, 3 to 6 minutes.

    5. Transfer burgers to plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to buns, add desired toppings, and serve.

Technique

Thick, Juicy, Perfectly Cooked Burgers

1. FREEZE AND GRIND Chilling the beef chunks until firm and then processing them into 1/16-inch pieces ensures a coarse grind that stays loosely packed.

2. ADD BUTTER Coating the raw ground beef with melted butter not only ensures that the burgers cook up super-juicy, but also encourages flavorful browning.

3. SEAR, THEN BAKE Searing on the stove and then finishing in a low-heat oven trades the usual overcooked exterior for a well-browned crust and juicy center.

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