4 Levels of Hamburgers: Amateur to Food Scientist

We challenged chefs of three different levels - an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef - to make their versions of a hamburger. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which hamburger was the best? Check out the professional's recipe here on the ICE blog: https://www.ice.edu/blog/frank-proto-cheeseburger-recipe

Released on 3/28/2019

Transcript

00:00
[crackling, sizzling]
00:02
[rock music]
00:04
I'm Emily, and I'm a level one chef.
00:06
I'm Lorenzo, and I'm a level two chef.
00:09
I'm Frank, and I've been a professional chef for 23 years.
00:14
I last made this hamburger recipe probably
00:16
about two weeks ago.
00:17
I actually just made this cheeseburger
00:18
a couple days ago.
00:19
This is the burger I make for my family and friends.
00:21
The people that are most important to me.
00:25
[dinging]
00:30
When I make burgers, I just use
00:31
store bought ground beef.
00:33
Here we go.
00:34
This is grass fed ground chuck.
00:36
It's about 80 lean meat and 20 fat.
00:39
The fat is your golden ticket to a good burger.
00:42
For my hamburgers, I like to use beef short ribs.
00:44
It's got a great amount of lean meat to fat.
00:47
The only problem with it is it's tough.
00:49
So what we have to do is grind it.
00:51
I like to grind my own meat because when you go
00:53
to the supermarket, basically, they're just getting
00:55
whatever beef scraps they have.
00:56
This way, I get a burger that I know exactly what's in it.
00:59
Now I'm just gonna put some bread crumbs in.
01:01
It holds it together, I think, a little better.
01:03
Next step some Worcester sauce.
01:05
Garlic powder, pepper, salt.
01:08
Chili flakes, because my husband likes everything spicy.
01:11
Now that this is ground up,
01:12
I'm gonna formulate the patties.
01:13
[grunting]
01:14
You really just shouldn't handle the meat too long.
01:17
I disagree with that. Oh, butch.
01:19
I like to work it a little so the burger stays together,
01:22
holds its shape.
01:23
What I usually do is I work it until
01:25
it'll kind of stick to my hand.
01:27
I'm just gonna kind of like roll these up
01:29
and then flatten them like hockey pucks.
01:31
Then I do the old divot, little dimple, in the middle.
01:34
I work it into a volcano shape.
01:36
What is gonna happen is is that when the meat cooks,
01:38
it's gonna expand a little.
01:39
This is actually gonna disappear and even out
01:41
and make a nice flat burger.
01:43
Now we're ready to cook some burgers.
01:44
I cook the burgers in a cast iron pan.
01:46
Cast iron pan holds a lot of heat.
01:47
I'm using a non stick fry pan.
01:50
Skillet, griddle, flat iron.
01:52
What I'm doing is cooking bacon, why?
01:54
I'm having a bacon cheeseburger.
01:56
So when I cook these, I don't really need
01:58
that much pink inside, just a little bit of pink.
01:59
That ground meat doesn't really have a great texture
02:01
when you cook it rare.
02:02
I like it medium rare.
02:03
I season my burgers with salt.
02:05
Salt, salt it right before you cook it.
02:07
What happens when you season ahead,
02:09
salt draws out the moisture.
02:10
You want a moist burger. When I season,
02:13
I season liberally.
02:14
It's gonna help that crust form.
02:15
I have a little beef fat,
02:17
so I'm gonna take a little bit fat,
02:18
and just coat the bottom of my pan.
02:19
I'll also use the delicious rendered fat
02:22
from the bacon to cook my burger.
02:24
I'm gonna take these off, sit over there.
02:27
The reason I use beef fat and not something like butter,
02:29
with a pan this hot, I'm gonna put my butter
02:31
in the pan and immediately the butter is gonna burn.
02:33
Oh, I might have burnt that butter a little.
02:35
I think it's fine.
02:36
Now I have my patty.
02:37
I have my volcano in the middle.
02:38
I'm gonna put the flat side down.
02:39
Flat side first. I'm gonna give it
02:41
about four minutes on each side.
02:43
And when I see the lower portion of that burger
02:45
get dark crispy brown, flip over.
02:47
I'm gonna go as high as I possibly can
02:49
to start that browning and the crust on the bottom.
02:51
People tend to start moving things around.
02:53
Leave the burger alone.
02:54
I'm just pressing down on it to make sure
02:55
all the meat touches the pan at least a little bit.
02:57
Do not press the juices out of this delicious burger.
03:02
Please.
03:02
I want a little bit of onion flavor on my burger.
03:05
I take a nice slice of onion, I'm gonna put it on top.
03:08
We're getting a lot of smoke, I'm not sure why.
03:10
So I can see that it's nice and crispy.
03:12
So I'm gonna do the old flip.
03:14
[laughing]
03:16
It looks good, you guys.
03:18
My burger's brown on this side, I'm gonna give it a flip.
03:21
So you can see, I have a beautiful crust.
03:25
Here we go, wait, there you go.
03:27
Oh, it's very charred.
03:30
Good.
03:31
This looks disgusting.
03:33
Oh no, that's worse.
03:34
All right, I'm just gonna go ahead and do that.
03:36
Oh good, the other side's nice and charry, too.
03:39
There's a nice, crisp outer layer that's been formed.
03:42
It's sealing the juices in this burger
03:44
and I'm waiting about three minutes.
03:46
So now my onion on the other side is getting caramelized.
03:49
Caramelization is when the sugars start to go brown.
03:52
The way that I'm going to test this burger for doneness
03:54
is I'm actually gonna poke at it, right?
03:56
If I poke at it now, it's still really soft,
03:59
and I want it to be fairly firm.
04:01
I'm gonna go ahead and put the cheese on this side,
04:02
because at least it's a little less charred.
04:04
This is American cheese, so that'll melt nicely.
04:08
Today I'm using sliced cheddar cheese.
04:10
Basically, this is when you get your camera out
04:12
and you start taking pictures of your burger.
04:14
For this burger, I'm gonna use some munster cheese.
04:16
Now, munster has a lot of the same melting qualities
04:20
as American cheese, but it also
04:21
has a little bit more flavor.
04:23
I'm gonna let the munster melt.
04:24
My burger is being hugged by my cheese.
04:26
So, let's set this delicious burger, oh my Lord have mercy.
04:32
So now my cheese is melted.
04:33
It's not melted totally, but it's going to continue to cook.
04:36
As I take it out of the pan.
04:38
I'm gonna take this off
04:39
and just check the doneness real quick.
04:41
If one were to eat this, it would be a little raw
04:44
in the middle.
04:45
That burger was burned on the outside
04:47
and raw on the inside, so we're gonna go again.
04:50
I'm turning this on, much less hot than before.
04:54
Butter, burger.
04:59
Yeah, I think that's a cooked burger.
05:02
And now we're gonna get a bun and some toppings
05:03
and finish this burger.
05:04
I have my Kaiser roll today.
05:06
I'm gonna butter it a little bit.
05:07
I'm actually just toasting this in the griddle.
05:10
So I have just a normal white grocery store bun.
05:13
Hamburger bun.
05:14
I like a potato roll.
05:15
The bun doesn't need any extra fat.
05:17
The burger has enough for it.
05:18
Toasted plain.
05:19
Now we got a nicely toasted Kaiser roll.
05:22
Delicious.
05:23
Now we're gonna work on our toppings for the burger.
05:25
First off, I have some ketchup.
05:27
I just like a little bit of moisture underneath the burger.
05:30
Put a little mayo.
05:31
Hello.
05:32
[laughing]
05:33
All right, so we have mustard on the top.
05:35
I usually do three dill pickle slices.
05:37
Fantastic.
05:39
As a chef, I like to make my own pickles.
05:41
I have a fancy French mandolin.
05:43
This gives the pickles a nice crinkled cut.
05:45
I just want to make enough to fill up our jar.
05:47
Some sprigs of dill, I'm just gonna stuff them
05:49
into the bottom of the jar.
05:51
Add a little bit of garlic.
05:52
Add a couple of cloves.
05:53
And then my spices.
05:54
Coriander seed, black peppercorns, mustard seed.
05:57
Some little Thai bird chilis.
05:59
And then I proceed to stuff my cucumbers in.
06:01
And now I'm gonna take the brine that I made.
06:03
I get a ladle and I just fill it with the ladle.
06:05
And there you.
06:06
Put my lid on, it goes right in the fridge.
06:08
I leave it in the fridge for about a week.
06:10
I have my burger patty.
06:11
Gonna put it on my bun.
06:12
I have the pickles that I made.
06:14
Bib lettuce. That's a nice slice
06:16
of lettuce right there.
06:16
Tomatoes. Tomato.
06:17
I only like a few pieces of raw onion.
06:19
I kind of like a lot of it.
06:21
Oh boy.
06:22
My bacon.
06:24
[laughing]
06:24
That looks good.
06:26
And then some ketchup.
06:27
Not a ton.
06:28
I just want enough so that it adds a little sweetness
06:31
to my burger.
06:32
Just gonna press it all together, bam.
06:34
Boom. Beautiful.
06:36
It looks good.
06:38
It smells fantastic.
06:41
What I like most about this burger
06:42
is it's not complicated.
06:44
[pleasant music]
06:49
And now for the best part, I get to eat it.
06:53
Oh my Lord.
06:56
Do you see that?
06:57
It's just delicious.
07:01
We have three different chefs
07:02
and three very different cheeseburgers.
07:04
From the bun, the beef, and the toppings.
07:06
But let's talk about the ground beef first.
07:09
[dramatic music]
07:13
Emily, our first chef, used ground hamburger.
07:16
Ground hamburger doesn't tell you a whole lot
07:18
about the beef that you're using.
07:20
So this is just the beef that was at the grocery store.
07:23
Ground hamburger comes from any skeletal muscular tissue.
07:26
You won't know specifically where that meat is coming from.
07:29
There. Lorenzo used ground chuck.
07:31
Grass fed ground chuck.
07:34
The ground chuck comes from a really particular part
07:36
of the animal, it's near the shoulder area.
07:38
Ground chuck is 80% lean and 20% fat.
07:42
It's gonna make for a nice juicy and flavorful hamburger.
07:46
It's like summertime in a bun.
07:47
Frank ground his own meat from the short rib.
07:50
And it also has quite a bit of fat in it.
07:54
So if we get stuck, you just push it through a little.
07:56
When you grind your own meat, you have more control
07:59
over it, as well.
08:00
You can see exactly how much fat is going
08:02
into your hamburger.
08:04
It has a beautiful amount of marbling.
08:06
And you can make sure that you're controlling
08:08
the protein to lipid ratio.
08:10
I get a burger that I know exactly what's in it.
08:13
[dramatic music]
08:17
Handling and shaping of your ground beef
08:19
makes a difference, too.
08:20
Emily added a lot of spices to her ground hamburger.
08:23
She also added bread crumbs.
08:25
The spices are there to add a lot of different flavors.
08:28
The bread crumbs are gonna alter the texture a little bit.
08:31
I don't know if that's right, but it's what I do.
08:33
I would call that more of a meatball than a hamburger.
08:36
When I'm making meatballs--
08:37
Lorenzo believes, as many people do,
08:39
that you shouldn't overwork your patty.
08:41
Everyone has a body temperature,
08:43
and that heat from your body melts the fat.
08:46
You can overwork your meat,
08:47
but it's a little bit hard to do by hand
08:49
when you're making a hamburger.
08:51
OK.
08:52
Lorenzo made an indentation in his patty
08:55
and Frank made a little volcano.
08:56
He changed the shape completely.
08:58
I want there to be a divot in the center.
09:00
This is gonna modulate the water loss that happens
09:03
when you start to add heat to your patty.
09:05
You start to have some steam inside
09:07
and that will raise or give a little bit of a puff
09:10
to the patty, especially when you cook it
09:12
at a very high temperature.
09:13
Frank and Lorenzo both salted their patty
09:15
prior to cooking.
09:16
You don't want to salt your ground beef
09:19
when you're mixing it.
09:20
No, you're absolutely right.
09:21
Salt can change the structure of the proteins
09:23
and add some tough quality to your burger.
09:26
It's important to do it just prior
09:28
to putting the hamburger patty on the grill.
09:30
Salt it right before you cook it.
09:33
[dramatic music]
09:36
Emily used butter to cook her hamburger patty.
09:39
This gives some really nice flavors.
09:41
I don't know, who doesn't like butter?
09:43
But it also has a really low smoke point.
09:45
Oh, I might have burnt that butter a little.
09:46
I think it's fine.
09:47
As you add the butter and turn up the heat,
09:50
you're gonna burn the butter,
09:51
and you're gonna get these off karozines
09:54
and other types of compounds that are going to give
09:56
a burnt and bitter kind of taste.
09:58
I'm sorry.
09:59
Lorenzo used rendered pork fat.
10:02
Nice little fat rendering from here,
10:04
which we will use.
10:05
And this adds a really nice rich quality
10:07
and a new flavor profile to your beef.
10:10
Yum. Frank used rendered
10:12
beef fat, which is a lot of really nice long chained
10:15
fatty acids, like steric acid.
10:18
It doesn't hurt to cook beef in beef fat.
10:20
It makes it taste better.
10:21
When you heat the steric acid,
10:22
it's going to melt, and you baste the burger
10:25
in that fat, it's going to just readd
10:28
that delicious unique steric acid quality
10:31
that you get only from ground beef.
10:34
[dramatic music]
10:36
Emily used a non stick frying pan.
10:39
She really didn't need to.
10:41
There's enough fat in the hamburger patty.
10:43
It will be very easy to release from the pan.
10:47
I've had a lot of things stick to pans
10:48
over the years, here we are.
10:50
Lorenzo used a griddle.
10:51
So he had a lot of contact with the hamburger patty.
10:55
It actually looks really good.
10:56
You're going to want conduction to happen.
10:59
That can only happen when the patty
11:01
has maximum contact with the heat source.
11:04
Frank used a shallow cast iron skillet.
11:07
Cast iron pan holds a lot of heat.
11:09
So he not only had the conduction from the bottom
11:11
of the cast iron skillet, making contact
11:14
with his patty, but he also had the advantage
11:16
of the heat being retained
11:18
because there were sides to that skillet.
11:20
So he had a nice heat flow around his burger.
11:24
[dramatic music]
11:27
When you cook ground beef,
11:29
the proteins that are present are going to
11:31
coagulate and they're going to squeeze
11:33
a lot of the natural water that's present
11:35
in the beef out of the protein matrix.
11:37
When you have 20% lipid content, you won't lose the fat,
11:41
and it'll make for a really nice, juicy cheeseburger.
11:44
You generally want a nice high heat
11:45
to get a good sear on your meat,
11:47
and that's going to impart some really nice
11:49
roasted, caramely, earthy, oniony flavors.
11:52
And that's from mayard browning.
11:54
Mayard browning is a non enzymatic browning reaction
11:57
that happens between proteins and reducing sugars.
12:01
You'll know your hamburger is done
12:03
in a couple different ways.
12:04
Emily cut hers open.
12:06
If one were to eat this, it would be a little raw
12:08
in the middle.
12:09
You generally want to avoid doing that.
12:10
You're gonna have a lot of the juices and the fat
12:13
run out of that hamburger before you even get to enjoy it.
12:16
No.
12:18
Lorenzo timed his meat.
12:19
This is OK if you have a really consistent product.
12:22
But if you change the different meats that you use
12:24
when you're making your hamburger patty,
12:26
that can be variable, too.
12:27
I'm waiting about three minutes.
12:30
Three minutes on each side, at a really high
12:32
temperature, for a relatively thin patty,
12:35
should do the trick.
12:37
We also had Frank, who knows how to look and touch
12:40
a hamburger and tell whether it's done or not.
12:43
My burger's starting to firm up.
12:45
This is something that comes only from experience.
12:48
OK, we're good to go with this.
12:49
[dramatic music]
12:53
Emily used American cheese.
12:55
You're always gonna know that American cheese melts
12:57
really well, but it doesn't have a whole lot of taste.
13:00
I like American cheese because it's cheap.
13:02
Lorenzo used cheddar cheese.
13:03
To make it look the old fashioned cheeseburger,
13:05
the one you always see at a ballpark.
13:07
Cheddar cheese is going to give you
13:09
a nice flavor profile.
13:10
You're gonna have a nice rich quality.
13:13
And a little bit of tang to that type of cheese.
13:15
Frank used munster.
13:17
Munster also melts really well
13:19
and it gives you some really nice flavor profiles.
13:22
It's the most complex out of the three cheeses
13:25
that our chefs used.
13:27
When you choose a cheese for your hamburger,
13:29
you want to make sure that you consider water content.
13:31
If you have a softer cheese,
13:33
it's going to melt very easily.
13:35
Cheeses that are a little bit harder
13:37
are not going to melt very well
13:38
because there's just not enough moisture.
13:40
[dramatic music]
13:43
When choosing your bun, you have options.
13:46
Emily used a standard white bun
13:48
that you pick up in the grocery store.
13:50
It was pretty much one dimensional.
13:52
Lorenzo used a Kaiser roll.
13:55
Delicious Kaiser roll.
13:56
We have a little bit of texture
13:57
on the outside of the Kaiser roll.
13:59
He also toasted his bun and used butter.
14:03
Butter is a really nice flavor that complements
14:05
some of the toasted chemicals and compounds
14:07
that happen when you toast your bread.
14:10
Frank just toasted his roll.
14:12
It was a potato roll, so it had a nice, rich quality to it.
14:15
He did not put any kind of additional fat
14:17
with his roll because there's plenty of fat
14:20
in his ground short ribs.
14:22
[dramatic music]
14:26
When it comes to toppings, you have a few things
14:29
to consider, texture.
14:30
I'm going to do a little bit of raw onion.
14:32
Color. Fresh tomatoes.
14:34
And taste.
14:35
The pickles are going to add a contrast
14:37
to your burger. It's talking to me.
14:40
[laughing]
14:40
One more bite please.
14:43
The next time you make a cheeseburger,
14:44
I hope you can take some of these elements
14:47
and incorporate them into your own recipe.