Burger Wars: The Patties Strike Back

Previously,on tastingmenu.wordpress.com –

* https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2015/02/01/burger-wars-the-sauce/

…For the next round Burger Wars, I’d like to check out how the Nobu burger beef mix (1 part filet mignon, 1 part ribeye) matches up with Shake Shack’s mix (2 parts sirloin, 1 part chuck, 1 part brisket)…

So Whole Foods wasn’t able to accomodate a microbatch custom burger mix (they require an amount of 3lbs or more), so I had to do it myself.  Fortunately, the Aug 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated had an article on Best Grilled Burger (p 6,7).  The article advised on putting 1/2″ chunks of the ingredients into the food processor and pulsing it 15-20 times redistributing the mix in the processor bowl as necessary to ensure an even ground.  Relative to a pound of meat, Best Grilled Burger suggested blending in 1/2t salt to 1/2t+1/6t black pepper.  Unfortunately the best I could do was 1/2t + 1/8t of black pepper.

small food processor for grounding the beef to hamburger

small food processor for grounding the beef to hamburger

 

l. to r.: brisket, chuck, sirloin

l. to r.: brisket, chuck, sirloin

As it would turn out, it took about 100 pulses before I got the consistency of evenly ground beef.

'shake shack' ground beef with America's Test Kitchen seasoning

‘shake shack’ ground beef with America’s Test Kitchen seasoning

 

l.to r.: fillet mignon, ribeye

l.to r.: fillet mignon, ribeye

Like the processing of the beef for the Shake Shack ground beef, it took about 100 pulses before I got the consistency of evenly ground beef.

l. to .r. Nobu hamburger meat, 'Shake Shack' hamburger meat

l. to .r. Nobu ground beef, ‘Shake Shack’ ground beef

…and so I got two pans out to cook the burgers side by side at about 4 minutes a side (medium done burgers).

Cooking up the hamburgers concurrently: 'shake shack' on the left, 'nobu' on the right

Cooking up the hamburgers concurrently: ‘shake shack’ on the left, ‘nobu’ on the right

 

Shake Shack burger on the left, Nobu burger on the right

Shake Shack burger on the left, Nobu burger on the right

One immediate observation was the cost of the burgers.  The meat for the Shake Shack burger was $11.02/lb, and the Nobu burger was about $25.12/lb.  I tried to keep things being equal, only varying the burgers.  Toasted whole wheat, iceberg lettuce, beefsteak tomato slice, and Heinz ketchup.  One of the things that became immediately apparent was that the Shake Shack burger came across as a very beefy burger, while the Nobu burger came across as steak burger.  The Shake Shack burger had a texture that had juicy toothiness.  By contrast, the Nobu burger came across as a tender juicy steak.  In retrospect, it was my perception that the Nobu burger was far more tender and juicy compared with the Shake Shack edition.  As I understand it, ribeye steak is about 22% fat and filet mignon is about 8% so the overall percentage by weight is about 15%.  The Shake Shack mix would be somewhere in the neighborhood of 13%.

…and the winner is….

YUM.

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