Last month we had step-by-step instructions given to us for making magnificent burgers, courtesy of Plan 4 Food. This month I would like to get to the meat of the subject, pun completely intended.
A good burger starts with the ingredients used to make it and usually the main ingredient is meat. There are tons of options when going down the meat isle for hamburger. Many even prefer to select a cut and grind it at home themselves or ask the butcher to, shortly before preparation.
Ground beef comes with numbers denoting the fat content, which means you can select the right meat for your recipe. Those numbers come in a XX/XX format; some of the most popular are 80/20, 85/15, and 93/7 though you can find others. The first number denotes the amount of lean meat, where the second number denotes the amount of fat in the mixture.
You can make a great burger with any of these but the leaner meats may need some liquid added to help keep the meat from being dry after cooking. There are also several cuts that are popular for hamburgers. Some so much so that they come pre-ground and packaged at well stocked grocery stores. Such as chuck, it is common to find it pre-ground for making hamburgers or cheeseburgers. Sirloin, rib-eye, and filet are other popular choices.
If you want one of these cuts for the unique flavor they impart, you can ask them to grind it for you fresh at the supermarket. It may take a few minutes to hunt someone down but a good hamburger is almost always worth the extra effort.
Which cut of meat and what ratio of fat you use are to your taste and dependent on your recipe. You always want to use meat that is as fresh as possible when making hamburgers though and I advise against meat that has previously been frozen as the freezing and thawing process can affect the texture.