i've had an idea in my mind for a little while. i think a part of it goes back to the book fast food nation, and the idea that a burger at a restaurant or ground beef at the market could have meat from 100 cows in it. i realize the claim wasn't intended to be a fact, but it did get me thinking, and sorta stopped me from eating burgers fro a while. in time, and after watching a lot of food network, i started to think about grinding meat and making my own hamburgers. this lead me to thinking about burgers made from high quality cuts of meat. this isn't that crazy of an idea, so i bought a meat grinder.
but we live in central california, where tri tip is king. it seems like a local law that bbq places must serve tri tip in some form. sliced tri tip, tri tip steaks, tri tip sandwiches, even tri tip salads. but for the life of me, i've never seen a tri tip burger. i started floating the idea out there among friends and everyone thought it sounded like a fabulous idea. one friend did bring up the idea that it might be dry, as tri tip isn't the fattiest of cuts. but, i solved this issue by getting a cut of tri tip that was untrimmed (i usually buy it this way, it's a little cheaper and i can trim the fat and decide how much i want to leave on for flavor in cooking). i trimmed of the silver skin and away we went.
before grinding meat, it's suggested that you chill it in the freezer for a while. this definitely made it easier to cut the meat into small chunks. they also recommend you put the parts of the grinder in the freezer as well, although i'm not really sure why. i still did it though. speaking of the grinder, i considered a grinder attachment for our kitchen aid stand mixer. however, i eventually purchased a standard, hand crank grinder. it was a little cheaper, but also bigger. i'm not sure which i will prefer in the long run, but the grinder was easy to use, and fairly easy to clean up afterwards. while grinding the meat, i added a few cloves of garlic. that was pretty cool, just drop in a clove every so often while your grinding and it's in the mix. i didn't add any other seasoning to this point. after the meat was all ground i added a bit of pepper that i folded into the meat before shaping into patties. here's the meat as i was finishing up grinding:
now, here's the part where i'm a bad blogger. i didn't take pictures of the patties. i was going to do it after they chilled and before i put them on the grill. didn't. then, i was going to take some pictures of the cooked patties. didn't. nor did i take a shot of the finished burger. lame, lame, lame. what i can let you know is that they looked nice. i made most of the patties about 4" across, with a bit of a dimple in the middle. they cooked up rather well and at the normal rate for most burgers. i also grilled a bit of romaine lettuce to go on the burgers.
to the flavor: the burgers tasted good. i slightly overcooked them, which was my own fault, but they still stayed juicy enough. i'm not sure that you could really taste that it was tri tip, but i still like the idea of a higher quality cut of meat. overall, the process was worth it and i'll be grinding more meat in the future.