DIY Barbecue Guide: Cowbell’s Mark Cutrara on the perfect patty
A great barbecued hamburger doesn’t taste like chipotle or paprika or horseradish. It tastes like beef. Cowbell chef Mark Cutrara’s burger, made with grass-fed beef from Dingo Farms, is one of the best in the city for good reason: it’s all about the meat. Here’s how he does it.
Cutrara grinds his own meat (an equal mix of brisket, for the fat, and blade, for taste). You can get good pre-ground beef at The Healthy Butcher or Cumbrae’s. Season with kosher salt—1½ tbsp for 2 lbs.
Gently mix by hand, without over-compressing the beef, then form into 5-oz. balls and pat into 1½-inch-thick patties.
Grill over indirect heat for about 5 minutes per side. Do not press them down or fuss with them. A medium-rare patty is ready when a metal skewer inserted in the middle for 5 seconds comes out lukewarm.
6 thoughts on “DIY Barbecue Guide: Cowbell’s Mark Cutrara on the perfect patty”
This guide seems to imply that salt is mixed into the meat before it’s formed into patties — I’m assuming (hoping) that’s a mistake. Salt mixed in with ground beef modifies the texture of the meat, and turns it into something closer to a sausage than a burger.
So the grind is the most important part of the burger:an equal mix of brisket and blade.
Where can I purchase this mix? At The Healthy Butcher or Cumbrae’s?
Michael: salt mixed with the beef isn’t bad if it’s fresh ground and not overcompressed. That’s been my experience, at least. For thin burgers, it makes sense to salt the exteriors only. For thick ones, salted meat handled properly produces pretty fantastic results.
Atticus: I believe 50-50 brisket and chuck (probably the chuck blade) is key to Cumbrae’s mix. I’ve been buying the meat at Sanagan’s and grinding it at home. Pretty amazing.
As long as you cook the hamburgers immediately they should be okay — but if you leave the salted meat to sit for much longer than ten minutes or so, the salt WILL react with the meat and turn it sausage-y.
My mix is a 50-50 with top sirloin and short rib. I also put in a tablespoon of beef marrow for every pound of meat. I fire up my Green Egg to about 600 degrees and cook about 60 seconds a side for medium rare. I salt and pepper after the flip. I’ve never had a better burger anywhere.
my favorite burger is made from u.s. prime rib steak trimmed of ALL fat mixed with either a great “super prime” aged Cumbrae’s (about 8 weeks)steak or an olliffe’s ontario prime or PEI prime equivalent. no fat remains in the mix except the intramuscular fat of which there is typically quite a bit in prime beef. then all the beef put through a coarse grind, only once.
just before cooking i baste with a mix of prime soy sauce and worcestershire sauce (1/3 to 2/3). the beef is cooked to med rare-rare.
in blind tastingings this burger beats all others time and time again.
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