burger Tag

Chicken crackling smash burger


”  the wonder of chicken is that, even though the meat lags behind pork and beef in intensity, its cracklings on the other hand, are incredibly potent and explosive.  …these itty bitty fragments of fat caramelize and crisps into powerful flavor pellets where bright rays of chickeny-ness are released when crunched through in your mouth.  “

There are many reasons, perhaps good reasons, why humans can’t seem to shake the global spell of beef burgers even in the wake of the negative effect of raising cattle has on climate change.  We as a remarkable species have never backed down from the challenge of a good self-destruction, let alone that in this rare instance, it isn’t absolutely senseless.

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For one, out of the few domesticated livestocks we grow for meats, beef, seems to persistently transcend in the robustness of aroma and flavors when its proteins and fats undergo the maillard reaction of browning.  In plain English, meats taste good, but beef seems to taste best.  Secondly, it’s hard to go to a supermarket without bathing in the seduction of see-through packaged ground beef sold in wide open isles in bulk at a reasonable pricing.  Gushing and bloody, they are everywhere at anytime in close proximity where carnivores in practice or in relapses lurk.  Urge plus convenience, its recipe for success isn’t exactly a mystery.  And that is because, last but not least, beef is big money.  It is a hundreds of billions of dollars industry globally, with none other than USA leading the parade as the biggest beef producer followed by countries like Brazil, China, Argentina and Australia.  It doesn’t take a meat eater to explain.  A Buddhist economist could tell you why beef burger is one of the most successful American cultural exports.  Money money money.  Money.

When short-term pleasure is weighed against long-term peril, we humans can always count on ourselves to make the dumb choice.

That is unless, there is a feasible alternative.



No, I’m not talking lab-grown beef, not that it isn’t a promising and totally totally appetizing candidate.  I mean who wouldn’t be aroused by meat grown in a petri-dish?  No, today I want to focus on an option that has long been right in front of our eyes, that can compete in the convenience as well as economic viability of beef.  One that has been overlooked not for lacking in any of the above reasons, but simply because it hasn’t been thought of that way.

Ground chicken.

Before you leave the building, I’d like to shout as loud as I can that I’m not talking about store-bought ground chicken which you only ingested in a terminal stage before you reach the great beyond and reborn as a robotic calories calculator.  The difference between that ground chicken and my ground chicken is the single most under-valued asset of this noble bird, its secret weapon, its Trudeau’s hair.  Anyone who has ever rendered their own schmaltz, aka chicken grease, would know whole-heartedly of what I am about to unveil.  For everybody else, I’m talking about, the chicken skins.

Pork has chicharrón, and chicken has what I’d like to call, chicken cracklings.  It is the crispy remnant of an animal’s fatty mass – in this case the chicken skins – after its moisture and liquid grease is extracted by heat in a process called rendering, leaving behind tiny nuggets of crispy and golden browned brittles if you will, that is an intense condensation of flavors and aromas of its formal self.  But the wonder of chicken is that, even though the meat lags behind pork and beef in intensity, its cracklings on the other hand, are incredibly potent and explosive.  When properly mixed into the ground chicken for the purpose of a flat disk where contact surface area with the hot skillet is maximized, these itty bitty fragments of fat caramelize and crisps into powerful flavor pellets where bright rays of chickeny-ness are released when crunched through in your mouth.  I’m not saying it’s the same as a beef burger.  I’m saying it’s not but equally satisfying.  I crave one just now.

But a perfect burger is not just the patties.  Far from it.  The delicate balance between the texture of the buns, the ratio between components and flavors, sometimes perfection requires restraint more than generosity.  I’m a purist when it comes to burgers, especially this burger. The protagonist is the flavor and aroma of rendered chicken skins, and its voice comes through most vividly without distractions of “over-condimentation”. Simple mayonnaise for moisture, mustard for acidity and a single slice of cheese is suffice.  No onions or garlic powder, tomatoes or lettuce, because this burger (or most for that matter) does not benefit from a big party.

Now you can say nah, I prefer a good-old beef burger.  Hey I sometimes do, too.  But I don’t have children and never wanted one so you’re not shitting on my invested future.  Go to town.  But if you have second thoughts on that matter, then give this a try.  A win-win situation is rarely just a burger away.

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I’ve waited six years… wow, six… to say this son-of-a-bitch line.

I’ve imagined saying it while beating its saggy ass with a whip rubbed with the most homicidal Mexican chilis as it wriggles in pain.  I’ve imagined saying it while twisting its balls with electrically charged clamps as it howls in my upmost amusement.  I’ve imagined saying it while watching, ever so pleasurably, as its ugliest face twisted angrily into an even uglier version of itself if that’s even grammatically possible.

I’ve imagined, for six years… wow, six… to say this line with a fuck-you.

And now, when the time has finally come, I can only feel it exhaling through the gaps of the keyboard, in a long heavy breath of bittersweet…

We’re leaving Beijing.

Can… can I say that again?

We are.  Leaving.  Beijing.

Yes, leave, move away, to Hong Kong if that’s important to mention, but more importantly the point is, out of Beijing.  I mentioned last week that I have “eeeewge news” to break it to you, but truth is, this is more than news.  It is a long-awaited, mental or physical, release.  Why is it such a big deal?  Well, I know, I know that the context of my predicament hasn’t been thoroughly explained on this blog.  Most of you are probably only aware that One:  I/we live in Beijing, and Two:  I don’t like it.  But why am I here and why don’t I like it, well, is a subject I thought was too boringly political or unappetising to be discussed on a, after all, food-blog.  I thought if I were to really explain it, I’d need a book to do the job.  But now that we’re leaving, I feel like I owe it to its final ending to, at least in a brief effort, paint the short story.

The first part of the question of why we’re here, is much simpler.  We left New York in 2008, Jason, our dog-children Dumpling, Bado and I, for what was thought to be a very logical career opportunity of his.  Our beloved island New York was, at the time, tilting like a breaking iceberg, and so we jumped into a less vogue but sturdier looking boat – China.  We actually lived in Hong Kong for 1 1/2 year  (so technically we’re moving back to HK) before moving to Beijing in 2010.  Then it was without any foresights to say the least, that what came after, the next following six years, was the unhappiest, destructive even, but also self-realising and perhaps fruitful period of my life.

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Why do I hate it here?  Why is this “an angry food blog”?  This to me, is a funny question, as if asking why wouldn’t I like a burger soaked in whiskey then force-fed to me in a rubber tube?  I mean, where do I begin and how much time do you have?  There’s nothing wrong with burgers, nor is there with whiskey, but they just don’t mash well together, like me and this place.  Maybe if I was a politically indifferent outcast who enjoys pale skins more than sunlights, and the scent of burning coals in the atmosphere because it marvellously reminds me of BBQ briskets… Maybe if I was a juvenile man-child who sees uncivility as a safe haven to misbehave like an utter douchebag…  Maybe if I simply like being somebody here because I was a nobody back home, or better yet, just plain too self-secured to be emotionally affected by any shenanigans…  Then I believe, I would have a shot of being happy here.  But I’m, unfortunately, not.  I don’t mean it sarcastically.  I’m not “gifted” in that way, to see the vanilla ice cream behind the annoying chocolate chips and be able to happily eat around the obstacles.  They bother me.  Internet censorship bothers me.  Authoritarian politic bothers me.  Pollution bothers me.  Blind nationalism bothers me.  Douchebags bother me, and worse yet, blindly nationalistic douchebags who are happy being douchebags, reeeaaally bother me.  Hey look, I’m sure this city is more complicated and deeper than that, so I guess, I’m just too simple for this city.  I have no problem being too simple for bullshits.  But aside from political factors, and maybe (just maybe) for no faults of its own, Beijing is also where we lost Bado and Dumpling.  Two of the most spirit-breaking episodes of our lives happened here, skin-deep, back to back.  It used to be just an angry place – the good old times – but now it’s a sad place.  And though it might not be fair, but the feeling that we came here in whole and now left in pieces, is a negative association I don’t need.




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After what seemed as long as forever, but now, feels as short as a blink of an eye, five weeks of traveling in and out of 6 different countries, I am now, finally, back home.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to sum up a journey as long as this one in one post.  It began in Hong Kong, then Taipei then back to Hong Kong, then it departed towards London, then Madrid, and Lisbon, then finally, passing by Germany, back to Hong Kong, then back to Beijing.  It was a zig-zaging montage of cityscapes, sounds, smells, flavours, stimulations… but also disorientations, sense of aimless drifts, dubbed by a relentless seasonal flu somewhere at end.  How do I tell such a story I have no clue.  I suspect I would be inadequate but I shall try.

I shall try, starting with Lisbon.

Why Lisbon?  I don’t know.  I guess there are moments in life that didn’t feel particularly monumental at the times, but somehow, years and years later, they stay with you whenever you feel like looking back.  Lisbon, in the best sense, felt as such.  There are cities where we go to feel the future.  New York, London, places that strut at the tip of our times, erecting glories built in glasses and steels, forward.  Lisbon, as rare as it is precious, is not that kind of city.  Lisbon, to me at least, comes into the scene as an ageing beauty.  Her allures permeates in a lingering perfume of melancholy, on the surface of every faded tiles, behind every half-closed wooden windows, cut deep into every folds of her stone-paved labyrinth.  She is old.  She is complicated.  There are a lot of bygone glories, loss and pain in her untold stories, some remembered only objects that cannot speak.  I found myself striken by a sense of wounded dignity at her unguarded moments.  In fact, sometimes  her unpolished cheeks marked with spray paints and the crumbling of her once beautifully tiled facades, like a ripped silk dress, made me feel impolite to stare.  But, I guess, that’s why Lisbon felt so unique.  Holding her own, almost carefully, with a flustered sense of self-esteem… she sits quietly, a city by the sea.

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A place like her leaves an impression.  She made me wonder about the life she’s had.  She made me want to dig deeper.  She made me wanna do things that I’ve never done to any other places, beyond the politeness of walking through her streets and allies, beyond gorging the foods that she cooked.  I wanted to get more intimate.  Closer.  I wanted to hear her sing.  And if there’s one thing that I think you should do in Lisbon, however cheesy it may be, you should hear Lisbon sing.

And she sings Fado.



First of all, it might help to mention that I am not a music person.  I have almost zero song downloaded to my smartphone, and in the 7 years I’ve dwelled in New York, a trip to New Orleans, I have never stepped a foot inside a jazz bar.  Curried goat, yes, but Bob Marley who?

So no, I don’t usually do this.

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But to come to Lisbon without listening to a bit of fado, a music as burnt into the soul of this country as anything can hurt, is a regret that I wasn’t planning to walk away with.  However, before I go on, I warn you, that a fado experience in Lisbon can prove to be borderline awkward if you have some kind of personal distance-issues.  Chances are, as we were, you’d be seated on a stool tucked in between the elbows and knees of total strangers, so crowded it’d be difficult to reach down to your phones to take a selfie.  Chances are you’d be forced to share foods, and drinks, too, oh hell, conversations even.  If you got problems with any of those things as I almost do – oh fuck did I mention that they smoke indoors, too – chances are, it would be uncomfortable.

But again, chances are, you would regret it if you didn’t.

A young woman in her 20’s came into the tiny spot reserved for performers, professionals and amateurs alike.  Carried only by a couple of guitarists sitting a feet away, she started singing… no, more like… pouring her heart out on the floor.  There was so much passions, longings and losses that I felt through a song that I didn’t understand.  Her body moved like a stringed puppet, cringed, shaken, pulled by the very own emotions in the melody that she sang.  Her voice, at times almost inaudible, at times piercingly loud, communicated words without any translations.  It felt… brave, almost, bleeding this much feelings to a wall of strangers staring within an arm’s length.  Just when I thought I got a sense of what fado was, after her, came an old man in his 80’s.  He was more talking then singing, waving and pointing his hands in every possible gestures, sometime as if in an argument, sometime as if in mourning.  It was comical but not funny.  It was crude but endearing.  I can’t say I know fado, but if you ask me, the beauty of it is not in the perfection of vocal skills, but in the generosity of common strangers, singing their hearts to you on a sleeve.

We left the bar a bit in awe, with a couple of new German friends who were forced to share their chorizos with us.  Walking home on her crooked slopes echoing her voice in heart-strung melodies, Lisbon felt more mysteriously beautiful than before I got to know her.


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Today is the 4th day, the longest duration since 2002, the year I moved to New York, that I’ve ever gone without ingesting a drop of coffee.  Not a drop.

Because on September 6th 2015, an otherwise wonderfully uneventful morning, my coffee-stash abruptly ran out on me without a warning as if it was premeditated, leaving me in a cold-turkey caffeine withdrawal that I’m frankly too sleepy to wrestle.  Right of course, I don’t live in a no-man’s land.  There’s a convenience store downstair just 3 minutes of walking from where my ass sits, ready to supply me lacking but coffee-like substances that will ease the cold sweats and wobbling mind.  But more to my own surprise than anything else, I didn’t go.  In the passing 96 hours of brain-paralysis, waiting for my online coffee shipment which hasn’t came yet, I just stayed inside my bunker chewing and spitting out green tea-leaves, mainly trying to open my eyes without much success.  Shit, I can’t even open them now.  Did you know you can type with your eyes closed?  Uh Whast was thsr?

This episode told me something about myself.  You know I would never sell my sloth short of its worth, God bless its noble soul, but apparently I have underestimated it all this time.  Apparently, I’m even lazier than the human instinct to stay lucid.  Su[er HumN, RElly.

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I can’t even… I won’t even… I’m not even gonna…  Look, my friends, this is my Xi’an-style smushed lamb meatballs braised in joy-juice, slobbering in between a layer of sesame/peanut sauce and cilantro/red onion slaw, my signature chili oil and Xi’an burger buns (call it Ch-english muffins).  If you are looking at them and doesn’t have the urge to tell me to shut the fuck up now, and get to it, then I don’t know nothin’ about foods.  This is where that song – More Than Words – was written for, a song that I suffered through 20 years of karaoke with and couldn’t figure out the appeal, until now.

And you wouldn’t have to saaayeh~ that you love me.  Cuz I’d already knowoah~

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I’ve been wanting to do a fried fish sandwich for some time now.  In fact, it’s strange even to myself that it has taken me so long, considering that battered fried fish, from both the perspective of nostalgia and deliciousness, holds a very special place in my heart.

Myself, circa 1992, fresh off the boat in Vancouver and practically English-illiterate, this was one of the very first introduction I had into the then-completely-alien world of western food culture.  Once in a while, friends and families would make a special night out of dinning at the New England-style seafood restaurants lining the river-port, for this was a scarce enjoyment where we came from, and for me, watching the seagulls pirating scraps off of the table, it served a foreign exhilaration of this new place to call home.  Back then, with the inability to understand the menu, a dinner in a place like this would almost certainly meant having the same entree over and over again, and that was, yes, fish and chips.  A funny dish that, I was told, the child I was should really appreciate.  To be honest, I can’t really recall what the dish tasted like.  Eating, for who I was at the age 12, was not a priority in the purposes of life.  But the premise of those memories, the silhouette of those evenings, I will forever hold dear.  Then, perhaps taking the theory of all-kids-love-fried-fish a bit too far, for quite a while, my breakfasts were often times, if not persistently, fried fish-sticks that my mom homemade from the supermarket freezer-section, served with ketchup.  Now that, that I remember the taste of, and it tasted… delicious.  Diss it all you want, but it was like a bun-less and sauce-less filet-o-fish burger from McDonald’s which, to me, was and still is considered a very fine thing amongst others.  Hands down, for the first two decades of my life, it was (only marginally) the second-best thing from 6-pcs-of-nuggets.  If the completely illogical fear after adulthood doesn’t exist – that somehow it feels much safer to consume meats than seafoods from this fine American institution – nowadays I would’ve ordered the filet-o-fish over the cheese burger, at least twice as often.

So I guess, in short, what I’m trying to say is, that I’ve had my fair share of battered fried fish in my days growing up, and I loved it.  But somewhere along the line of losing childhood innocence and maturing food-phobias, I’ve grown estranged to this wonderful thing that practically raised me.  And so I guess, more simply put, I want it back.

To do so, I set out to create an ultimate sum of this significant chapter of my childhood dinning experiences, but, greater than its parts.  A sandwich that combines the classic elements of English beer-battered fish, sweet and tangy tartar sauce and herby butter-mashed peas, with the lunacy of sliced American cheese, and since I was already at the edge of a cliff, why not taking off with another layer of salt’n-vinegar potato chips in between to bring an extra element of crunch?  An idea so wrong, that I was about to write-off with self-doubt right before a dear Instagramer from a little town known as, the Great Britain, left a comment.  People here like putting “crisps” in their fish finger “sarnies”!, she said.  Aside from the unexplained urge to forever call “sandwiches” as “sarnies” from now on, that also brought the much needed endorsement for my madness.  It is done.  After all, with what is both the home of fish’n chips, and the founding father of the establishment of sandwiches, who the hell am I to argue?

And thus, we arrive at this conclusion, one that even my 12-year-old-self would’ve assumed, well that can’t taste bad.  And my friends, I was right to assume.


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MY grandfather was a mysterious man.

Not much is known for facts but there are certainly many stories about him, speaking of a skinny, humble working-class man often seen in between two slices of bread trying to make a buck or two at food fairs back in the late 1800’s. Who his ancestors were and where they came from, is still up to this day, my most intimate wonders. Were they even named a Burger? And whatever stories, legends even, being told about his tale of becoming the untoppled icon of a nation’s food-identity, remain exactly that, just stories. But if there is one thing indisputable about those stories, the truth that inspired the myth, or at least so everyone says, it’s that he was a fine and proud citizen of America. And that’s fine enough by me.

Truth is, I was never too held up on who my grandfather was. After all, I’m pretty sure, I am nothing like him. I am more of the making of my father, who’s the heir of an idea and the product of the industrial revolution, who, all together, turned what my grandfather left him into an empire that forever changed how a country eats, the world even, for better or worse. In various steps and establishments, he invented a new era in America called the fast food around the 1940’s, who defined and made our family name, Hamburger, known to literally every man, woman, child, some lucky dogs and city pigeons around this world. Most adore him. Many don’t. History will decide wether to side with him or not, but one thing for sure is that he is a great, historic man, and I am, his legacy.



My father is a man of few words… for that I don’t know what aspirations, if any, he has for me. Yes, has. I didn’t say he dead. In fact, he is at the height of his prime at expanding his already mega dollar-making machine through every human-occupied corners of this world. Right, loaded. That we are, too. Perhaps it’s precisely because I grew up accustomed to the security and comfort of a family establishment, I became something you would call, a rebel. I have no desire to follow my father’s footsteps in the advancement towards industrial fooding. It’s a fortune yes, but nonetheless a fortune made on basic, unornamented commodities that lack glam and artistry. Like the rest of my own kind, the third generation of a traditional empire who has too much to prove for themselves, I am, above all else, eager to redefine.

And boy, redefined I have.

Somewhere in the last decade was the ignition of my own torch to pass down, and it’s burning brighter than ever. My grandfather would never in his wildest dreams, the flappy white toasts and leftover ground meat that he was, imagined the burger that I am today. A long way from being a mere necessity in the 1800’s, or the cold counters of soulless assembly-lines in the 1900’s, I am the poster child of the modern American food-scene, attended with almost obsessive care, even labeled black, served to the most stellar eaters in the country. I carry myself with prestigious cuts of beef, in the company of top knives in the industry similar to that of places like Weston Biltong Company. I am more than food. I am porn. Some even say, better than sex. I wouldn’t know. I’m just a burger.

But that was the hubris of my youth. Looking back at when we used to be kids playing in the kitchen, to now finding myself part of the culinary world and taking more of an interest in food, it is interesting to see the progress, even if I did used to just mess around and not know what I was doing. Today, I am an older, wiser man. In the settlement of fireworks and egos, I have grown enough confidence to tell you that mastering me is only as difficult as the industry would like you to believe. With simple tips and tricks, I am not, unlike my grandfather, a mystery.

And maybe, who knows, that you’ll be the next human to reshape the future of my family.





To home-grind your patty, or not to home-grind your patty? Well, there are pros and cons on both sides.



  • PROS on grinding your own beef:
    • You get to be as fancy as you’d like with the cuts. A combination of aged rib-eye, skirt steak and brisket is said to be the blend of supremacy. To achieve such supremacy you’ll want to be using a suitable grinder though, so make sure to look around into differing manual meat grinder reviews to ensure you know what you’re purchasing. The secret on the ratio is a highly guarded, overrated marketing gimmick in my opinion. You pretty much can’t go wrong with these cuts, as long as you don’t included unwanted tendons and excess connective tissues. Whatever the combination is, I like to result on a total 30% of fat just because we are on the subject of lusciousness
    • Update on 2014/07/13: A reader reminded me that adding seasoning and spices directly into the ground meat (like making sausages) is also another pros! Because mixing already-ground beef can make the meat tough.
  • CONS on grinding your own beef:
    • Most people will default to a food-processor for grinding at home. But if your food-processor is a less robust machinery, it can result in uneven, chewy bits of fat and connective tissues that aren’t cut properly. Running the machine for too long will give you a pasty, woody ground which is no better than store-bought ground beef, not to mention a waste of money.
    • The consistency of a food-processor ground beef is still, more or less, different than from a meat grinder. The meats are cut into tiny tiny pieces that resembles ground meat, but has a “chunkier” texture. Some prefer it. Some don’t. For example, you can compare the difference in texture between the top-left picture (food-processor ground) with the top-right picture (store-bought meat grinder).



  • PROS on store-bought ground beef:
    • Well, convenience. And cheap.
  • CONS on store-bought ground beef:
    • Most of supermarket’s ground beef is run through a fine-grind setting, resulting in a bit of “mushy” texture. It is better to ask the butcher, if you have one, to grind the beef on demand through a coarse setting on the meat-grinder.
    • Obviously you’ll have less control over the fat-content and cuts of the beef. The fat content will affect how much the patty will shrink during cooking (more details on shaping the patty in the recipe). Some supermarkets do label the fat-contents of the meat, some don’t. But is this going to present a huge problem for you? Not really. The shortcomings of store-bought ground beef can be made up with some flavouring tricks that will turn it into a great burger as well.


Whether or not your patty is of a fancy cuts of beef or down-to-earth store-bought, it should be treated with the same care and details.

There’s a few things here that is a bit unorthodox. First, is stuffing butter inside the patty. This recipe is one of the rare cases where you want o use salted butter, instead of unsalted butter. The salted-ness will flavour the center of the patty where you otherwise can’t (mixing the ground beef in order to season it, will toughen the meat). The butter will melt and run through the ground meat during cooking. Even though you may loose most of the butter, the result is a more flavourful and juicier patty. Update 2014/07/13: Using herbed/seasoned butter can be a good way to introduce added flavour to store-bought ground beef without having to mix it. A reader suggested using frozen butter to prevent melting too fast during cooking. Let me know if anybody has tested this theory :)

Then, the dusting of seasoned flour on both sides of the patty can seem quite weird. But I think it encourages caramelizing and the forming of a “crust”. Just a whiff-y thin layer of seasoned flour will not taste like “breading”, but instead, a deeper… nuttier and crustier surface.

Then, I like toasting the buns in the same skillet as the patty is cooking. They will pick up the rendered fat and browned bits. Overall, more flavourful.

This burger is kept simple, just a great patty, great bun, caramelized onion and Dijon mustard. I’m not including any measurements/weights for patty because it will vary greatly based on the size of the buns using. You should measure the patty based on diameter and thickness. And I’m using these potato rolls. I’m not going to include instruction for caramelized onion because it’s already widely available. But adding a few halved cherry tomatoes while cooking the onions (let them caramelize together) will add good flavour.


To grind your own beef: Choose a combination of cuts between rib-eye (for fat and flavour), skirt steak, chuck or brisket (for beefy flavour) with the total ratio of fat at about 30% (I used only rib-eye). Remove a small piece of fat from the steak and reserve for cooking, then cut the rest into small chunks. Cover with plastic-wrap and flash-freeze for 1 ~ 1:30 hours until hardened (but not stone-hard). Transfer them into the food-processor, filling it only 1/3 of the way at a time, and pulse until the meats are cut/ground into very tiny pieces, resembling ground meat. If not using immediately, transfer the ground beef onto a paper towel-lined baking sheet (to absorb excess liquid) and keep cold inside the fridge.

At 30% fat, the patty will shrink during cooking as fats are rendered down. So you need to calculate the diameter of the patty at 15% larger than the diameter of the buns, and each patty should be 3/4″ thick (about 2 cm). I highly recommend using a round biscuit-cutter to help forming uniformly shaped patties! It makes a difference.

Choose a round cutter with the right diameter for your patty. Put a layer of ground beef down and make sure it conforms tightly to the shape of the cutter. In the center of the patty, put a slice of salted butter that’s about 1 tsp, then top with another layer of ground beef. The whole patty should be 3/4″ thick. Again, make sure that the meat conforms tightly to the cutter, as well as sticking soundly to the bottom layer of meat. Slowly remove the cutter/mold, then transfer the patty to a paper towel-lined baking sheet. Repeat with the rest.

To use store-bought ground beef: Store-bought ground beef usually ranges from 10% to 20% fat, sometimes up to 25%. The leaner the beef, the less it will shrink during cooking, so pick a round cutter/mold that’s 5% larger than the buns. Repeat the making of patties as instructed above.

To cook the patty: Mix 1/2 cup (63 grams) of flour with 1 tsp of salt and 2 tsp of freshly ground black pepper. Lightly pat both sides of a patty with the flour mixture, and dust off ANY excess. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat. Rub the reserved beef-fat on the surface of the skillet until you have a thin layer of oil (or use bacon-dripping). Gently place the patty on the skillet, and toast the cut-side of the buns on the side. Don’t move the patty until you see a browned crust has formed on the bottom of the patty, then flip it over (the interior butter will ooze out, it’s ok)(remember to remove the buns once they are toasted!). Re-seaon the patty with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper during cooking. Never cook the patty all the way through. The best doneness, I think, is medium-well done. The patty should have deeply caramelized crust on both sides, but you’ll still see pinkish juice oozing out from the mid-section. The skillet needs to be hot enough to achieve this.

Transfer the patty over to the bun that’s already smeared with Dijon mustard on both sides. Top with caramelized onions and let rest for 5 min, then serve.




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What happens when you practice general lawlessness between a 6-pounds white prince who has, for his entire 14-years of life, consistently mistaken himself as a Magnificent Pit Bull, and a 26-pounds mutt boy who, constantly subjected to his ambiguous status in the house, has quietly developed some sort of combative inferiority-complex?

Sibling rivalries? Boys will be boys? I don’t think so… there’s a hole on Dumpling’s neck right now that looks like my ultimate parental failure.

I know, I know, Cesar Millan, that it’s my fault and not theirs. So now allow me to present you this fresh pork chorizo burger with melted manchego cheese with garlic shrimps and paprika mayo, while I run off to to get some really dirty looks from the vets. Enjoy.

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