To tell dh I hate his pride&joy burgers?

(110 Posts)
Jux Fri 11-Jan-13 20:11:41

I am immensely grateful that dh cooks quite often. He's an OK plain cook - sausages, chips, a bit of veg - and makes a mean dumpling, and pretty good beef stew.

However, about once a month he insists on doing burgers. He loves them. He squashes a handful of mince together really hard to make a ball, then squashes it flat. Then cooks it. That's it. No seasoning, herbs, nothing.

I think they're pretty vile and so does dd. Mind you, I don't like burgers much anyway.

It is hard to tell him, as he is soooooooo proud of them. I think there's an element of competition as his best mate makes 'fantastic' burgers, and that's probably rolling about in dh's mind somewhere.

Today he wanted to have burgers. He was really desperate to do them, and I'm not feeling brilliant, so am pleased to have someone else cook, and as he's cooking he obviously gets to choose what we eat, especially as he felt so strongly about it.

So I am dreading supper, though I'm really hungry!

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 01:52:02

Making burgers is pretty hard.

You need to grind the beef yourself, from whole pieces of steak.

The beef grinder must be stored in a freezer prior to freezing grinding the meat in order to avoid the fat melting at all.

The meat should be chilled to around -1C (not frozen solid, but firm) prior to grinding.

All the strands of beef should be in the same direction; to achieve this grind your meat into a cylindrical mould.

It is important to use meat that is at least 20% fat - try short ribs for starters.

Cook sous-vide to 56C, then dip into liquid nitrogen for 30s, and deep fry at 232C for 1 minute to brown.

It is important NOT to add salt until the patties have been formed, because this extracts myosin making the burger rubbery. The patties should be seasoned on the surface immediately prior to frying.

More detail here: www.amazon.co.uk/Modernist-Cuisine-Art-Science-Cooking/dp/0982761007

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 12-Jan-13 02:03:34

Wow, Joan, seriously?
I'm never ever going to make a home made burger again.sad
And I always thought mine were rather nice.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:06:17

Joan that is claptrap

I made homemade burgers yesterday and they were delicious

and we are having them again tomorrow, because everyone loved them so much smile

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 02:18:53

It's not claptrap at all.

It's science, and the man who co-wrote it is a Microsoft billionaire and spent tens of millions of dollars researching it.

There is lots there that is true, in particular about adding salt burger, and the dangers of heat when grinding meat.

I remember trying to make a recipe involving ground nuts and they essentially melted due to the heat from my grinder - you really do have to be careful with that.

It's also pretty much a given that more fat = tastier burgers, and that burgers taste way better cooked medium-rare, but shop mince will be contaminated with bacteria due to the exposed surface area, whereas the interior of beef is completely sterile and if kept very cold bacteria cannot grow after grinding, so it's safe to eat medium-rare.

The pictures here show what happens when you add salt to burgers when you make them:

aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2009/12/the-burger-lab-salting-ground-beef.html

You can make homemade burgers whatever way you like of course, but if the burgers don't taste good, then one of the faults above will be being committed - insufficient fat, overcooking, poorly ground meat, etc.

Burgers are about beef, the onion, chili, etc. go ON the burger, not in it.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:20:23

my burgers look and taste lovely, they are firm enough, they are moist

you are just wrong I'm afraid. People who adhere to one narrow view of things usually are.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 12-Jan-13 02:22:59

It's a burger Joan, not bloody rocket science.

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 02:23:50

No I'm not wrong at all.

Like I said, you can make your burgers whichever way you like.

But if, like the OP's husband, they are shit, then something will be going wrong along those lines.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:24:59

IF they are wrong.

But if they taste and look lovely and people enjoy eating them, then they are good burgers, aren't they?

one born every minute hmm

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 02:25:47

It is actually rocket science LadyBeagleEyes.

Lots of restaurants in London now try and serve rare burgers, and it's a public health risk if you don't follow scientific principles to ensure public safety, or, as McDonalds and the like do, cook until grey

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/westminster-council-cracks-down-on-rare-and-mediumrare-burgers-8398336.html.

SpecialAgentKat Sat 12-Jan-13 02:27:12

you are just wrong I'm afraid. People who adhere to one narrow view of things usually are.

This was SUCH an ironic statement that I almost spit tea all over the screen.

OP, YANBU. People who live together and cook for each other should be able to be honest with each other. I really hate a few core things that DH loves so occasionally we fuck up each others meal. We always say.

I think it's only a big deal if you make it a big deal.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:28:14

but we were not discussing rare burgers

many people prefer their burgers well cooked

and you have failed to defeat the assertion that one can make a delicious, firm, nicely shaped, moist tasty burger without all the schenanigans you describe.

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 12-Jan-13 02:38:08

Well I can Greensleeves.
Or I always thought I could, I didn't realise that the making of a burger was so complicated.
I think Joan, that I'd never have you over for a burger, I would never meet your expectations.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:40:56

I think any potential irony is neutralised by the nature of what she is "just wrong" about - ie she is wrong to assert that there is only one way to do something confused

I was really chuffed with my burgers yesterday LBE, I had never made them before and they were gorgeous, even ds1 liked them! I don't believe there is any food that can only be prepared one way especially something as generic as a burger

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 02:41:46

It's impossible to tell if your burgers have reached a safe temperature unless you cook them using an instant read probe. www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Splash-Proof-Super-Fast-Thermapen-Food-Thermometer-/370731398116

They might be tasty an' all, and good burgers from that perspective, but it is Russian Roulette really.

My list of strictures was intended as a counterpoint to the typical 'Me Man. Cook with beef. And fire' style of cooking that the op's husband seems to exemplify.

Whether your particular burger tastes nice comes down to the science of cooking, proteins, fats, and so on.

Not: "He squashes a handful of mince together really hard to make a ball, then squashes it flat. "

There are lots of different issues with burger cooking, such as heat and the maillard reaction, the type of beef that you use, and so on. It's been observed for instance that certain burger products are actually popular because they are covered in sweet sauce - people respond to the sugar, and the meat is actually awful.

You can cook by instinct and routine without any reference to science, but the failure of the OP's burgers is absolutely due to a lack of science, since a correct understanding of the scientific principles is guaranteed to result in a good burger, whereas 'Jamie's burger recipe' or whatever might just be crap, and following some recipes will reliably produce bad results and without understanding the science of it (as I mentioned above re freezing the meat grinder, etc.) there's no way to tell what might have gone wrong, even given the insistence of another user that the same recipe has produced great results.

Greensleeves Sat 12-Jan-13 02:43:59

fgs the OP's dp's burgers are lacking in seasoning, not science

do you really think everyone needs a probe for home cooking? What about pies/cottage pies/puddings/chicken? Should people just not cook them unless they have a professional kitchen?

LadyBeagleEyes Sat 12-Jan-13 02:47:18

Joan, just hmm.
Now I must go to bed.
Goodnight.

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 02:48:16

And of course anyone of the strictures I listed can be ignored, but they are all reasoned and give a basis for improvement.

For instance if you cook burger using Asda Value Beef Mince, and it turns out well then that's fine. (Assuming you don't get food poisoning of course.) But if it turns out badly you'd have a whole list of things to experiment with for next time.

The info is all out there, and you can look at the cooked burger for instance and see that has emulsified, or that it is not juicy (and then check the fat content of the meat), or whatever.

I don't think it's reasonable to say 'your burgers suck', that's too simplistic: cooking is an evolutionary and analytical process, you cook, you record (or remember), you taste, you examine and you improve.

So 'dh, I don't like your burgers because they don't contain enough fat'. Or 'could you please season before cooking', or when cutting it open 'have you seen the texture of this burger, it's like sausage, do you think you could take more care with the meat to avoid that'.

JoanByers Sat 12-Jan-13 03:00:38

> do you really think everyone needs a probe for home cooking?

Without a doubt. They are fantastic, turkey at Christmas, probe in the breast, probe in between the leg and body, make sure it's at 71C = safe to serve to granny.

That burger you are serving, it looks plenty brown on the inside, but what's this, it's still 50C inside.

Or these duck breasts, nice and brown on the outside, I want them pink inside, should I finish them in the oven to bring them to up to temperature - probe says - still 30C inside, answer is yes.

> What about pies/cottage pies/puddings/chicken? Should people just not cook them unless they have a professional kitchen?

For things like stewing meat the meat becomes MORE tender the longer you cook because the fat and connective tissue breaks down, and essentially they can't be overcooked beyond the simple observation that the meat has disintegrated. The meat's flavour is retained in the sauce, which is desirable. So there's therefore no need for a probe.

For something like chicken you need to cook to 71C otherwise it's potentially serious health risk, but you don't want to overcook they are so lean and the meat will be horribly dry, so a probe is a good thing here to ensure food safety and avoid wastage (over cooking reduces weight).

For steak internal temperature isn't really relevant (parasite eggs will die at a certain temperature, but these aren't a big issue I believe with modern beef farming) for safety reasons, but for tenderness you don't really ever want to go beyond medium, and if you've spent £10 or £20 on steak then it's absurd not to cook it correctly because you lack a simple probe.

I wouldn't consider owning a probe to define a professional kitchen, although certainly a professional kitchen should have one.

Things like stand mixers, mandolines, muslin, pasta makers, sous vide cookers, are likely to be found in professional kitchens, but they aren't needed for basic home cooking. A probe is much more useful than any of these.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 12-Jan-13 03:08:34

I find this attitude of 'well he really tries with his two dishes poor lamb, I couldn't burst his bubble' really patronising, it infantilises men. Conversely, anyone who thinks everyone must like what they like, that they have nothing to learn and cannot accommodate kindly meant comment, is a big baby.

There are so many nice, encouraging ways to tell him that they could be nicer done differently, or are just not your favourite thing, what is the problem?

How could squashed mince be any better than anyone else's squashed mince, since there's nothing to differentiate the taste? He's got the 100% beef advertising line twisted, mistaking it for 'no seasoning' when it's really 'no mixed offal'.

Naysa Sat 12-Jan-13 03:35:40

Howling at joan's link about cooking burgers with liquid nitrogen.

There are hundreds of burger recipes that turn out great. Your one is not the be all end all.
If you use this method then good for you.

I personally in my reckless youth made burgers out of mince, raw egg and seasoning. Then threw them on the George Foreman. They were delicious. No liquid nitrogen in sight. grin

OP could try my Dh's way of dealing with meals he doesn't like when I cook. He finishes the meal then says, "don't make that again please it was horrible/bland/nasty" but he eats pretty much anything I make so I know he's being truthful. Tomorrow I'm making Chicken and dumplings I haven't done that in years so we'll see what happens.

MrsMushroom Sat 12-Jan-13 06:36:15

Lottie you put it so well. As for being "immensely grateful" that he cooks quite often OP...well. If he were not married to you and living with you, he'd have to cook ALL his meals no? So it's safe to assume that being immensely grateful isn't really necessary.

MrsMushroom Sat 12-Jan-13 06:37:50

I just tell DH what I think of something....he does the same. "Yuk this is rank" or "Bit dry?" Or "Gosh, this would be amazing....if I were a starving dog." and we always say when something is nice too.

MmeLindor Sat 12-Jan-13 08:33:29

Howling at Joan with her £300 cook book.

Was that in the 'We Saw You Coming' section of the bookstore?

I agree that the quality of the ingredients makes a huge difference to the taste of the food, but your burger recipe is more suited for CERN than a kitchen.

I could cook a 3 course meal in the time that it takes to make your burgers.

diddl Sat 12-Jan-13 08:54:40

I agree you should tell him.

Doesn´t he ever tell you when he doesn´t like something?

Anyway, burgers aren´t just flattened mince, are they?

Even if you don´t add onions/herbs, there should at least be breadcrumbs, shouldn´t there?

And egg-or is that just my husband??

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