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At Work :: At Play

March 21, 2010

I’ve lived in the MSP for most of my life, and I have a gut feeling that winter may have at least one more surprise for us.  One thing I’ve learned, living here, is to take advantage of our small allowance of warmer days.  I’ve spent a good chunk of the week indoors at my apprenticeship where we received a gorgeous 400+lb Mangelitsa pig, who we’ve named Milosh due to his Hungarian wild boar bloodline.  According to Milosh’s grower, there were only three Mangelitsas in the state, and we got one of them.  It’s been amazing to see just how much we can do with him, such that nothing is wasted.  We’ve taken his hams and started the three year long process of making prosciutto.  Milosh’s head becomes Fromage de Tete, his fatback becomes Lardo, and then there’s sausages.  Lots of them.  I’m a lucky guy to have the opportunity to do this kind of work, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  While that’s working indoors, the burger shown above is the product of playing outside.  The burger is grass fed bison, seasoned and run through the grinder a second time to develop its natural myosin (the stickiness that keeps the burger together).  It’s topped with homemade bacon, a caramelized onion, Le Peral bleu cheese (thanks, MC!) and horseradish sauce. and a lingonberry aioli.

Here’s just a couple useful tips on grilling, now that the weather’s (kinda) here:  Once your coals are glowing red and ashing,  lay your coals only one side of the grill.  I use a Weber charcoal kettle grill and I heap the coals up one side of the kettle, so the coal pile slopes toward the middle.  This effectively creates different heat zones, so you have a few different heat options depending on what you want to do.  With burgers, start them off over the white hot side of the grill.  You only need to do about four minutes per side to get a good sear that will hold in the juices.  Only flip your burgers once and, for the love of God and all that is holy, do not press your burgers down into the grill.  This only serves to squeeze the juices out of your burger, resulting in a dry and torched burger.  Once you’ve seared both sides over the ripping hot side of the grill, move your burger to the cooler side of the grill and put the cover on for a few more minutes.  This creates a gentle heat that serves to bring the insides of your burger up to your desired level of doneness.  When you’re burger’s done, leave it to rest for about five minutes before digging in.  This resting period allows time for the meat to relax and for the juices to evenly redistribute themselves.

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