Coffee-Rubbed Short Rib Burger with Cajunized Onions, Beer-Melted Cheddar and Creolaise Sauce
When buying the bone-in short ribs, the rule of thumb is 50/50 meat to bone ratio, so buy twice as many pounds as the amount of ground meat you will need. Remember, fat is flavor, and while most short rib has a good fat ratio, I add extra beef fat to achieve about a 75/25 mix. So, save up and freeze trimmed fat from your other beef purchases for your burger making.
Recipe by: George Graham - AcadianaTable.com
Coffee Dry Rub (Makes 2 ½ cups)
½ cup dark roast whole bean coffee, finely ground
½ cup dark brown sugar
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup garlic powder
½ cup coarsely ground black pepper
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup Creole mustard or coarse-grained mustard
1 tablespoon hot sauce
2 large yellow onions, peeled
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
In a mixing bowl, add coffee, brown sugar, salt, garlic powder, and pepper and mix well to combine evenly. Cover and move to the side.
In a mixing bowl, add the mayonnaise, mustard, and hot sauce. Stir together until combined. Cover and refrigerate.
Slice the ends off the onions and then slice horizontally into medium width rings. Separate the rings.
In a wide, heavy cast-iron skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add as many onions as will fit into the skillet without over crowding. The key is for the surface of the onions to connect to the bottom of the skillet. Cook the onions rapidly moving them around the pan until they become translucent and then remove to a platter. Complete in stages with the rest of the onions adding more oil and butter if necessary.
Add all the onions back to the pan and add the cane molasses. Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to sauté as they take on a caramelized, browned appearance and you begin to smell the rich onion flavor. With your spatula, scrape the bottom of the pan and keep the onions from burning. Lower the heat if the onions are cooking too fast. Continue cooking until caramelized. Add the Cajun seasoning along with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Remove the skillet from the heat and keep the onions in a warm place.
Short Rib Burger
For dry-aging the beef, begin two days before. Remove the short ribs from the package. Rub them with kosher salt and place them meat-side down on a wire rack over a tray lined with paper towel. Refrigerate uncovered overnight so the salt will remove water from the beef.
The next morning, remove the tray and discard the soaked paper towels. With a dry cloth, remove the excess salt from the meat. Place the short ribs meat-side up on the tray and return to the refrigerator uncovered for 24 hours or overnight.
Remove the tray and place the short ribs on a wooden cutting board. The short ribs will be drier with the beef more dense and concentrated with flavor. With a sharp boning knife, remove the meat from the bone making sure to retain all the fat. Carefully remove all silver skin and tough sinew from the meat. Cut the beef into 1-inch cubes of even size. Refrigerate the meat.
Remove the extra beef fat from the refrigerator, cut into small ½-inch cubes and refrigerate.
When ready to grind (or food process) the meat, remove the grinder or container and blade from the freezer and assemble for use. Remove the meat and the fat from the refrigerator and combine the two being sure to distribute the fat evenly.
Begin the first grind as a coarse grind to combine the meat and break down the pieces. After you have completed grinding it all, inspect the ground meat to pick out any hard pieces or sinewy cuts. Place the ground meat back into the refrigerator so that it becomes ice cold.
Once cold, return the meat for another grind to achieve a smaller grind which is more typical of store-bought ground meat. Once completed, move the meat to a cutting board and shape into 4 (8-ounce) patties.
Sprinkle the top side only of the burger patties generously with the coffee dry rub and place on a platter. A trick I learned along my burger adventures is how to prevent your burgers from having that dome-shaped middle after cooking. Simply, press your thumb into the middle of the seasoned top side of each burger making a slight depression. Once cooked, the burgers will be perfectly smooth on top.
Preheat a large heavy cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties to the hot pan with the seasoned side facing up. Once the meat hits the flat surface of the pan do not move it, and certainly do not press down on it. Let the meat cook for 3 minutes on the bottom side. With a flat spatula, flip the burgers over to the seasoned side and continue cooking for two minutes more to yield a rare burger with juices running. Don’t worry if you are not a rare burger fan, there will be one more round in the skillet to cook longer to your desired degree of doneness. For now, remove the burgers to a warm platter and let rest for at least 5 minutes.
Place a large pan on low heat. Lightly butter the inside top and bottom buns. Place the buns cut-side down in the pan and toast until just brown. Remove the pan from the heat and keep warm.
To assemble the burgers, move the buns to a cutting board. Slather the bottom half of the bun generously with the Creolaise sauce.
With a lid handy, place the large cast-iron skillet back over high heat.
Meanwhile, place a portion of the caramelized onions onto the seasoned top of each of the four burger patties. Once the skillet is hot, add the burger patties topped with the onions back to the pan and cook to your desired degree of doneness. Quickly place two slices of cheese on top of the onions on each burger patty. Immediately pour a splash or two of the beer into the sizzling hot pan and quickly cover. Over the next 30 seconds, the beer will begin evaporating into steam that will bring the cheese to a perfect melting consistency. Turn the fire off and remove the cover.
Move the burger patties to the waiting bottom buns and cover with the top bun. Serve with more ice-cold beer along with hand-cut french fries.
Grinding the short ribs can be done in a meat grinder – manual or electric. Or, an even easier option is to use your food processor. Either way, be sure to keep the blade and container ice cold – in the freezer is best – to prevent the beef fat from melting during processing. Overworking the beef with warm hands along with the friction heat of processing will almost always lead to a dense, tough burger. Keep it cold.
Recipe by Acadiana Table at /2013/09/02/burger-lessons/