Monday, March 7, 2011

Diner Style Hamburgers with Homemade French Fries

When I first saw this recipe, I was skeptical. I wasn't sure a really great burger could be made on my stovetop. Usually our best burgers get the most flavor from being grilled. But I was curious and I wanted to stretch my cooking legs a bit and try my hand at something I had never attempted before: grinding meat.  

When you grind your own beef, it really enhances the flavor of your burger. And it is not hard to do at all. You don't need even need to own a meat grinder. All you need is a couple of different types of meat (easily found at your local supermarket) and a food processor. It's that easy - and you won't believe the flavor. It is out of this world. 
And it all cooks right on top of your stove. 

Trust me - folks will be impressed at your mad skills!
8 ounces, weight Sirloin Steak
8 ounces, weight Boneless Short Ribs
4 whole Hamburger Buns (potato Rolls)
2 Tablespoons Butter (for Toasting Buns)
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Black Pepper (to Taste)
4 slices American Cheese

Cut meat into one inch cubes. Layer the chunks on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer to chill for about 15-20 minutes (this will make the meat easier to grind in your processor).
The meat should be firm but not completely frozen. Grind your meat in your food processor in two batches. Just pulse the meat about 10 times for about one second for each pulse. Meat should look ground but not pulverized. 
Take any little stringy bits of fat out at this time also.
Shape patties on the same sheet pan. Don't handle the meat too much. This will make it tough. You don’t want the patties to be too tightly packed (this is what gives it all those delicious nooks and crannies those diner burgers have for the cheese to melt into). Once shaped, stick them in the fridge while you prep your buns and frying pan.

Toast your buns by spreading on a little butter and putting them under the broiler or toasting them in a pan on stove top.
Now start heating about a teaspoon or two of vegetable oil in your frying pan. You want to get it good and hot (until it just starts to smoke). Get your burgers out of the fridge and liberally salt and pepper both sides. Using your spatula, transfer hamburgers to hot skillet (don’t overload the pan, just 2-3 burgers at a time depending on the size of your pan). Be careful of popping oil! Cook them for 3 minutes (do not move them – just let them cook!). After 3 minutes, flip them over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes (depending on thickness). Add cheese and let it melt and then transfer the burgers to your hamburger buns.
The only thing we add is ketchup and mustard but feel free to add whatever toppings you choose. 
But trust me, you don't want to drown out the flavor of this meat!
Cook’s note: I don't recommend grilling these burgers only because the meat is so loosely packed that they tend to fall apart on the grill. I would only grill if you have a flat top griddle that you can place on top of the grate 
(and make sure you’ll be able to get it super hot). 
* This will make 4-6 hamburgers depending on how thick you like your burger. 
For a more authentic diner burger – make them on the thin side.
I recycle my brown paper bags to use as oil-soakers.


  • 4 large russet potatoes, peeled
  • 2 quarts peanut oil
  • Salt and pepper
Cut potatoes with a 1/4 inch cut french fry cutter or mandolin or do it by hand.

Rinse cut potatoes in a large bowl with lots of cold running water until water becomes clear. 
Cover with water by 1-inch and cover with ice. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
In a 5-quart pot (using a deep-frying thermometer) or in an electric deep fryer, heat oil over medium-low heat until the thermometer reads 325 degrees F. Make sure that you have at least 3 inches of space between the top of the oil and the top of the pan, as fries will bubble up when they are added.
Drain ice water from cut fries and wrap potato pieces in a clean dishcloth and thoroughly pat dry. Increase the heat to medium-high and add fries, a handful at a time, to the hot oil. Fry, stirring occasionally, until fries are soft and limp and begin to turn a blond color, about 6 to 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, carefully remove fries from the oil and set aside to drain on paper towels. Let rest for at least 10 minutes..
Now, bring the oil temperature up to 350 degrees F. Transfer the blanched potatoes to the hot oil and fry again, stirring frequently, until golden brown and puffed, about 1 minute. Transfer to paper lined platter and sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve immediately.


Burger recipe courtesy of America's Test Kitchen
French Fry recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse


Ashley @ Strawberry Sprinkles said...

Oh wow these look yummy. I may have to give it a go when I figure out which nozzle is broiler. We have a Belgian Convection oven.

I am also a military spouse. We currently live in Belgium & don't eat out very much so your recipe looks perfect. Thank you for sharing with us.


Elisabeth said...

Such a lost "art" as I call it...sigh...virtually no one grinds their own meat at home anymore, but as for homemade fries, I often make sweet potato fries in my oven.
Such a good idea to grind the meat in the food processor. I used to own an actual meat grinder in the seventies, that was a "pain" to clean afterwards.

Your burgers and fries are so yummy, and inviting. Craving for one for lunch, now!

Cheryl and Adam @ said...

Although not with the military and certainly not involved in the rigors of deployed life, we do remember missing a good burger when we were overseas. There is nothing as good as a good old-fashioned American burger!


That looks awesome! I think our husbands had the same idea of comfort food for MREs.

LAS8704 said...

Great idea! Looks delicious too! Nothing like some homemade fries. :) I'll make and post my idea once I make it to the grocery store!

Gloria said...

yummy,yummy my son would love this!! gloria

Sprinkled with Flour said...

I'll have to try this burger recipe, my husband loves Steak and Shake burgers, and I think their process is similar to this. They sounds so yummy!

ravienomnoms said...

Love this...burgers are always on the menu in my house!

Valerie said...

YUM!!! I love homemade fries! They are my favorite! Thanks for sharing!

Siggy Spice said...

freshly ground meat?!?! Color me impressed!!!

carolinaheartstrings said...

That hamburger looks wonderful as to the fries. Great job.

thecountrycook said...

Sprinkled with Flour - you are spot on! I think this tastes very much like a Steak and Shake Burger (something we dearly miss here in Virginia).
Thanks so much everyone for the comments and for taking time out of your busy day to stop by. I really hope you'll give this a try. Grinding your own meat makes a HUGE difference in the taste!

Patti said...

Hi Brandie! What a nice idea! This meal would make any serviceman right at home. Great pics!

Candace said...

Omygosh Brandie! I want to eat at your house. You grind your own meat?! That is awesome, girl! I could really enjoy one of those burgers and some fries right now. Yum!

Lizzy said...

Brandie, I think I'd get a standing ovation if I made this dinner for my family! The burgers with freshly ground meat sound incredible...and who doesn't like fries? Great post for your cooking club :)

Veronica Gantley said...

MRE's never looked so good! Anyone, service person or not would love this meal. They say "as American as apple pie?" You cant get anymore American than a thick juicy burger and fries!

Mateja ^_^ said...

I wouldn'y mind being invited to this meal! I never buy frozen fries, my husband dislikes them so much, so we always have homemade frys and the extra work is so rewarding beacuse they are so much more delicious! Thank you for sharing this plate of yummy deliciousness with us :)

yvette said...

Thanks for calling by my blog and leaving a message!
I think everyone all over the world would be happy to eat tis delicious looking burger and homemade fries! Nothing like a homemade grounded beef burger.Delicious! x

Leah @ Beyer Beware said...

These look fantastic. Love the mixing of the two kinds of beef!

Becky said...

My son grinds his own meat, so I think that I'll pass this recipe on to him. We love homemade french fries, though.

Sandra said...

Oh Brandy this looks so tasty..I am getting hungry! Homemade rocks!!!

Ang said...

Girl, you even ground your own meat! Your so awesome! It really does look like a diner dinner. I bet your club friends were impressed:)

Melynda said...

Wow, what a great meal. Love the brown bag, I use them in my kitchen for almost everything!

Pretend Chef said...

My guy was in the Marines and care packages consisted of cans of refried beans, tortillas, and cheez whiz so he could make tacos! He tells me stories about the MREs and I shutter at the thought. Another thing he thoroughly enjoys now are his half hour showers. Haha! Love what you made and that is such a comfort meal. Thanks to all of our service men and women!

Tiffanee said...

My hubby would be in heaven with your MRE. He could eat it everyday. I am also still drooling. There is nothing better than a good cheeseburger and homemade fries. Yum. By the way I love the brown bag idea. So clever and useful.

Kristen said...

If you opened a diner, I would be a loyal customer! That meal looks amazing.

Kimberly said...

That sounds like such a neat program! And those burgers... Girl... They look amazing! I love me some diner style burgers so much!

Lindsay said...

That is one good lookin' all-American meal! The fries look absolutely delicious and nothing like finishing a meal with cheesecake!

From the Kitchen said...

I try to meet a new blogger once a week and your name intrigued me. Now I come to your blog and find out you are in southwest Virginia. Although I now live in the Chicago area, I was born and raised in southwest Virginia and return every October. I'm looking forward to visiting more of your delicious posts.


whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

How perfect and I've been craving some french fries, they are my weakness. Yes, we all them our gratitude. Sent you some voting love! Hope you have a great rest of the week.

Heather said...

Very cool... I didn't realize you could use a food processor to grind meat! I'm going to have to give that a try!

Melynda said...

Sharing this great meal on my Wednesday and wandering post! Thanks so much.

Claire Gallam said...

Homecooked fries are my favorite, great post!

The Mom Chef said...

Please be sure to thank your husband for me, ok? I appreciate his service to our country. I am also grateful that you were willing to be alone for all that time while he was deployed. Thank you for that.

I just about started drooling at the thought of both kinds of meat in this burger. How incredible was that! It looks like the perfect meal to me, especially for our home-grown boys that miss this type of fare.

Emily {Frilly Details} said...

Oh yum, these look really good! Your cooking club sounds so fun. What a great idea!

Mrs Sea Monster said...

Fresh ground meet and french fries. Yes, I bet the guys would LOVE to see that in an MRE! :)

Give Peas A Chance said...

that looks divine!

Sandra Duvall said...

That looks delicious. Love mustard and garlic, so I've sure I'd like the mustard aoili. The only word is yum!

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