That iconic, big, juicy burger is a beautiful thing, done right. Pro tips from grinder to grill
Cincinnati butcher Josh Lillis of Eckerlin Meats maintains that making the ultimate burger is much simpler than most meat-splainers claim. Ball And Mill
Step 1: Cut the chuck into roughly 2½ inch chunks. Place in a bowl in the freezer for 1-1½ hours. Place grinder parts in freezer for at least 30 minutes.
Step 2: Fit grinder with coarse die. Remove meat from freezer and immediately run it through the grinder, piece by piece. Catch in a cold bowl.
Step 3: Mix meat lightly with hands to evenly distribute the fat, then run through the grinder a second time. Catch meat in cold bowl as it passes out of grinder.
Step 4: Take ⅓ pound ground beef and lightly form a ball shape. (Do not overwork.) Place in center of a piece of plastic wrap or wax paper. Fold edge over meat and press to form a 1-inch-thick patty.
Step 5: Place patties on a sheet pan or plate and place in freezer for 30 minutes so that the patties hold their shape while cooking.
Step 6: Remove patties from freezer. Season with salt and pepper and place on grill (or in a cast-iron pan over medium-high heat). Cook 3½ minutes. Flip once. Cook 3-3½ minutes more.
Pro Tip: Besides freshness, the correct fat content is key for flavor and texture. Mr. Lillis recommends a grind with a ratio of 75-80% lean to 25-20% fat.
Adapted from Josh Lillis, Eckerlin Meats, Cincinnati
Illustrations by Joe McKendry Cover image by Getty Images
Steel Grinding Ball 50mm Produced by Leah Latella Art Direction by Marlene Szczesny