Juicy Pub-Style Burgers

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

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Why this recipe works:

We like the flavor and fat content of sirloin tips for our Ultimate Skillet Burger recipe. Cutting the meat into chunks and partially freezing the meat makes it easier to pulse to a coarse grind in the food processor. Gently working melted butter into the ground meat ensures a juicy burger and… read more

We like the flavor and fat content of sirloin tips for our Ultimate Skillet Burger recipe. Cutting the meat into chunks and partially freezing the meat makes it easier to pulse to a coarse grind in the food processor. Gently working melted butter into the ground meat ensures a juicy burger and encourages browning. Loosely mixing with a fork will help distribute the butter more evenly, and keep the meat grind loose. Gently forming the patties helps prevent overworking the meat, which can toughen the burgers. Salting the meat just before searing prevents moisture from being extracted from the meat. Searing in a superhot skillet and then finishing in a low-heat oven yields a crispy, well-browned crust and a juicy center. Letting the burgers rest for 5 minutes allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the patties.

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Serves 4

Sirloin steak tips are also sold as flap meat. You will need to freeze the meat for 35 minutes before processing it. Be gentle when shaping the patties, taking care not to overwork the meat so the burgers won’t become dense. Serve with your favorite toppings.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds sirloin steak tips, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 4 hamburger buns, toasted and buttered

Instructions

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

    2. Place one-quarter of steak in food processor and pulse until finely ground into 1/16-inch pieces, about 35 pulses, stopping to redistribute around bowl as necessary to ensure meat is evenly ground. Transfer meat to second baking sheet. Repeat with remaining 3 batches of steak. 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 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 4 1/2 inches in diameter. (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 them for 2 minutes. Using spatula, flip burgers and cook for 2 minutes longer. Transfer patties to rimmed baking sheet. Bake until burgers register 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 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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