One 12-ounce piece boneless top round, coarsely chopped
One 12-ounce piece brisket, coarsely chopped
4 ounces beef fat, coarsely chopped (Or: 2 pounds ground beef with a 75 percent to 25 percent meat-to-fat ratio)
1/4 cup Korean barbecue spice-mix blend, or your favorite barbecue seasoning
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, smashed
5 sprigs fresh thyme
4 thick slices cheddar cheese (may substitute Cheese Foam; see note.)
English muffins, split and toasted (may use any kind of bun or roll of choice)
(Blais likes to dress this burger up with Candied Onions and Pressure-Cooker Braised Bacon — recipes are in his book. The Korean barbecue rub he uses may be purchased from Terra Spice Company (terraspicecompany.com). Plain salt and pepper works fine. Blais suggests using any leftover liquid to cook vegetables.)
If using top round and brisket, in a large bowl, combine the meat, fat and spice mix. Attach the medium-sized die to a meat grinder and grind the beef and fat; then transfer to a medium bowl and mix gently. If using ground beef, form the meat into 4 patties, about 3/4-inch thick, and, with the handle of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the middle of each patty. (This will prevent the burgers from shrinking into meatball shapes while cooking). Season the patties on both sides, using 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper for each one.
Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat until smoking. Place the beef patties in the pan; immediately reduce the heat to medium-high, and cook for 4 minutes; do not press on the burgers so they retain their juices. With a spatula, carefully flip the patties, and add the butter, garlic cloves, and thyme to the pan. Once the butter has melted, tip the pan and baste each burger a few times, spooning the hot butter over it. Continue to cook, basting often, until the burgers are well-browned on the bottom and the meat is medium-rare, 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the burgers from the hot pan, top each with a slice of cheddar, and let rest for 5 minutes.
To make the cheese foam: Put 2 cups heavy cream and 4 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded, in a medium saucepan and warm gently over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the cheese is completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Pour the cream into a pitcher or bowl and refrigerate, covered, until cold. When ready to dispense, whisk the cream thoroughly to loosen it; then transfer the mixture to an iSi siphon and charge with 2 charges. Let the canister sit for 5 minutes, then shake it vigorously before dispensing the foam on top of the hot burgers.
Makes 4 burgers.
— Adapted from "Try this at Home" by Richard Blais