My husband always looks forward to Sunday brunch with our friends because he gets to “boast” of his grilling expertise – he has this special burger recipe and secret sauce to add to that. I admit it – the whole ensemble is really delicious. It is superb! Well, that’s because I have this Oriental Salad that goes with his cheesesteak burger ala pobre. But, really. It is the bomb.
One time, his parents were around to taste this masterpiece of his and then, his mom spoke. “Oh, George, sweetheart. I know this is Aunt Mary’s recipe and you did something really different – different good, love – with the sauce. But, I am not so sure about the patty. Where did you buy it?”
“The patty, mom? What about it,” he said. The old woman narrowed his eyes and looked at my George sternly. “Did you buy this from the frozen meat section, pre-packaged?” I saw him gulp down his saliva. My 40-year-old husband was thinking of reasons to tell his mother as to why he bought the ground beef from the grocery store that was already frozen and pre-packaged. I had to intervene.
“Oh, I am so sorry, Martha. You know how forgetful I am with these meats.” My mother-in-law loved me even if I didn’t know how to cook. “I knew it. You bought the pre-packaged ground beef. It’s okay. Next time, don’t!” And she gave me a dazzling smile.
My husband touched my thigh since I saved him from the “Wrath of Martha”. His mother is not bad at all; it’s just that she is a really great cook and would never hesitate to tell her son of his cooking mishaps. I know she meant well but it hurt my husband’s heart a bit and I didn’t want his spirit to be crushed. So, as usual, Martha had to explore the mishap topic. And explained the reasons why it’s not OK to buy pre-packaged ground beef. I really believed everything she said.
She explained that while ground beef that has already been pre-packaged may look good and red to the eye, the truth is that it will lack the meat’s juiciness. After the grinding, the tenderness of the beef will also lessen. And of course, the flavor of fresh ground beef is missing. All these signs combined, Martha said that’s how she knew the patty came from a pre-packaged ground beef.
They left and we talked about it. George realized that he had to pursue the best ingredients if he were to go on with his food grilling passion. The next weekend, he and I went to the grocery store but instead of grabbing the pre-packaged ground beef, he asked assistance from the supermarket butcher counter.
First, he picked the freshest beef from the lot and told the butcher to have it ground. The butcher was kind enough to accommodate his request and he even said that fresh meat is always the best meat to cook any type of dish.
My husband turned to me and said that he read from an online source on fresh meat products that pre-packaged ground beef is not often pure. It contains too much beef fat, beef scraps and additives. He was beaming when he said, “Look, hun. I can see my beef being handled right here. No additives, for sure!”
So, I asked him, “What kind of beef did you ask to be ground? I didn’t see what you picked up.” He said that his mom sent him a text message beforehand reminding him to buy the “chuck steak” kind because it is not expensive and often, it only contains 20% fat. For a burger patty, this is the perfect meat and fat combination. Fat from the chuck steak will also add to the natural flavors of the beef patty and the aroma is just right.
He looked really happy all the way through. That Sunday brunch, I ate two burgers just to show him that I loved the way his food tasted.