1) The Really Good: 25% Top Round, 25% Sirloin, 25% Choice Chuck, 25% Suet Blend.
The overall fat content in this blend will be around 16%, making it a good choice for those who are looking for a burger with training wheels. The overall flavor score would be a 2.5; this is .5 above what's usually available.
2) The Even Better: 25% Sirloin, 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Skirt Steak, 25% Prime Shortribs.
This one's overall fat content will be roughly 9%, but the flavor will be a step above the "Really Good" burger at 3.5, because of the inclusion of the skirt steak. This is like trading in your ten-speed for a Harley.
3) The More Betterer: 25% Prime Chuck, 25% Choice Shortribs, 25% Prime Brisket, 25% Rib Cap Fat Blend.
This will have an overall flavor score of 4, and the fat content will be in the 24% range. The sleeper here is the combination of Brisket with the Prime Rib Cap Fat Blend (brisket fat absolutely believes it's Wagyu fat; we'll get more into that later).
4) The Flat Out Crazy: 25% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Choice Shortribs, 25% Wagyu Shortribs, 25% Prime Brisket Fat Blend.
The overall fat content will be 27% here, with a flavor score of 4.75. This is getting close to really getting your wife (not to mention your cardiologist) angry with you. It's almost like this is the NBA All-Stars (but without the firearms).
5) The Soon to be Illegal: 50% Wagyu Chuck, 25% Wagyu Shortribs, 25% Wagyu Fat Blend.
The fat percentage of this beauty is around 26%, and the flavor score on is a solid 5. This mix has the capability of:
- a) Lowering the sea level
- b) Lowering bad cholesterol
- c) Lowering the value of the euro
- d) Lowering moral standards
- e) All of the above
Answer: first of all, e's out of the question, there's no way in hell. Secondly, we have come across information leading us to believe one of the remaining answers is correct. Which one do you think is true?
Flavor Level 2/5, Fat Content 6%
This would be your basic day-in-day-out commodity and most readily available for hamburger, and by and large will deliver a good basic burger. This cut is actually from the neck area and is the continuation of the prime rib, so a little bit of the rib eye comes through as well as the rib cap and some boneless short ribs. The average fat content of the choice Chuck will be somewhere in the range of 6%. By itself it's absolutely fine as burger meat, but it also offers a good platform to blend the flavors of other items that would be fattier, without greatly increasing the overall fat content of the finished product. We don’t age this cut to any extent, so it will have a higher moisture content.
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 12%
This is the next step up from the choice, and left by itself would give you a more flavorful burger then you could find anywhere commercially outside of the Wagyu. It's the same cut of meat as the choice so it also comprises the rib eye, rib cap and short ribs; just from the superior grade of beef. The fat content will increase to between 10% and 12%, and since this cut doesn’t have much aging to speak of, the moisture content will be higher.
Flavor Level 5/5, Fat Content 15%
This is the next step up on the basic rung and will present a fat content of about 15%. This again is a cut that has the ability to stand alone to produce 100% of your burger providing you with something that is virtually impossible to find outside of restaurants. I'm comfortable with a higher fat content when using the Wagyu Chuck as a basis, because of the Omega oils present in the fat of Wagyu. In fact, I’ve heard of Wagyu being referred to as the “Salmon of Beef” (even though that sounds like something I made up!)
Flavor Level 2/5, Fat Content 4%
Possibly the leanest basic platform from which to build your burger. The fat content here would be somewhere in the range of 2 to 4% and therefore would allow the mixing of much fatter items while still keeping the end result in a reasonable fat content range. To put this into perspective as to exactly how lean this is, the sirloin is generally the cut that would be used when making steak tartare. We don't recommend it being 100% of your burger unless you're going to cook it extremely rare - anything approaching medium or beyond would be quite dry. Being one of the cuts that we dry age, the moisture content will be a little lower (and the flavor more concentrated), which allows you to add some more interesting fatter ingredients to it without going over the top.
Flavor Level 1/5, Fat Content 4%
This is another lean basic starting point, with the fat content being somewhere in the range of 2% to 5%. As with the prime sirloin, this would be in the steak tartare range if used exclusively, and is not recommended for 100% of the Burger unless the plan was to cook very rare! Even though well marbled, the flavor is low to indistinct; but it’s a great platform upon which to build. Not aged noticeably (somewhere in the 10 to 14 day range), the moisture content will be a little higher.
Flavor Level 4/5, Fat Content 18%
This cut comes from an area very close to the Chuck, and will present a much more marbled type of meat. As with the other Chuck cuts, it is not particularly aged for any length of time, although on average it will have 8 to 14 days of age. This means that there will be a higher moisture content to the meat; so a good idea would be to pair this option with another one that does have some aging. The fat content here would be somewhere around 18%. If you went with 100% of boneless short ribs, your burgers would have a flavor similar to a 50 – 50 blend of the Choice Chuck and the Wagyu Chuck.
Flavor Level 2/5, Fat Content 8%
Here's an opportunity to do a conceptual hybrid. The fat content here will be about 8% and the flavor will fall somewhere between the Prime Top Round and the Choice Chuck. Moderately aged to around 15 days, the moisture content will be middle of the road and will allow adding either moister or drier cuts for the finished product. Simply put, this is a good option for a base to an exceptional burger.
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 5%
Here’s an interesting twist, fat content goes down but the flavor goes up. Relatively lean, somewhere in the 5% fat content range, the skirt brings a distinctive natural flavor to the table. Like the Hanger Steak, it has a tendency to grind slightly darker so you might notice a difference in the color throughout the final blend of the Burger whenever the Skirt Steak or the Hanger Steak is present. This cut is aged moderately, maybe in the two-week plus range, so it will be lower in moisture.
Flavor Level 5/5, Fat Content 5%
Here's a cut of meat with all the flavor you could possibly hope for all by itself. Interestingly enough, the fat content is relatively low, I would say in the 5% range, but the natural flavor of this cut comes through. Like the skirt steak, it is by nature a darker color piece of meat and so when mixed with other cuts you might notice some variation of color throughout the burger. We age the Hanger Steak a moderate length of time, in the 15 to 21 day range. But since the flavor is in this cut to begin with, the aging doesn't really come into play as much.
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 4%
This is a traditional Argentinean cut and is made from a piece that is sometimes referred to as a coulotte; which is simply part of the top sirloin, from around the area where the Châteaubriand is produced. We then marinate this cut for three days in a chimichurri marinade, which consists of olive oil, red wine, shallots, garlic, Italian parsley, and red chili flakes. At the end of three days we remove it from the marinade let it dry overnight then pack and freeze for future use. The fat content here would be quite similar to the prime top sirloin and will be in the 2 to 5% range so again this is a good platform to use for mixing an item with a higher fat content. Moisture will be low as the aging will be in excess of 30 days before the marinade. From a fat content point of view, this could be a Level I item, but we feel the marinade might take over if the content isn’t limited to 50%.
Flavor Level 4/5, Fat Content 20%
With these beauties, the fat content will be in the 20% range with the flavor approximating that of the prime rib eye steak. Technically, this cut could've been Mix Level I, but using this exclusively would put you very close to being over the edge so we feel would be more wisely used as a component. The amount of age on these is minimal, perhaps in the 10 to 14 day range, so moisture is moderate.
Flavor Level 5/5, Fat Content 22%
The fat content is moving up a notch here, somewhere in the 22% range. Additionally there will be a generous boost in flavor commensurate with the increase of the fat, as well as the fact that Wagyu fat delivers a huge flavor by its very nature.
Flavor Level 4/5, Fat Content 15%
This is a great cut to play with. While there's no noticeable aging involved here, there are two other things that come into play. One is the percentage of fat, which will be close to 15%, and the other is the type of fat. The fat on the brisket is unusual in that it's a bit more oily and therefore very similar to the type of fat you find on the Wagyu cattle. I have read studies that indicate that brisket fat is the healthiest of all the beef fat (sounds like a study I would have written!). Normally, one doesn’t get to use the Brisket as it requires time and very slow cooking; but the resulting flavor is remarkable. Here’s the chance to get the flavor without all the effort. Moisture will be high so mixing with aged cuts works well.
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 6%
This cut flies in the face of all conventional wisdom. Normally the filet is one of the least flavorful cuts in the beef even though it's the most tender steak of all. This particular cut is produced from the narrow end of the filet when it has tapered to the point when it's not large enough to cut into steaks. This is the piece of meat that is left on the wrong side of the bone on a T-bone steak. Generally it goes to waste in this form as it tends to get overcooked and thus overlooked. For whatever reason, and I think it's because there's more fat throughout this part of the filet than the rest of the filet, the filet tail has a tremendous flavor. Choice filets are aged only moderately so this will be a fairly moist cut.
Flavor Level 4/5, Fat Content 6%
Same as the Choice Filet Tail, but a more intense flavor because it’s dry aged to at least 30 days (versus the choice which has less aging).
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 10%
One of the most flavorful cuts of pork, the shoulder is used extensively in sausages, meatballs, meat loaf and other similar combinations. So we see no reason at all why we can’t introduce it to our Burger Builder, especially since pork by nature seems to have a sweeter flavored fat. We use either Berkshire or Duroc pork shoulder, with a fat content in the 10% range.
Flavor Level 3/5, Fat Content 10%
Also known as sweet Italian sausage, this is a mixture of pork shoulder, fennel garlic, nutmeg, coriander, paprika, and sugar. The fat content will be around 10%, like the pork shoulder, but the flavor will be enhanced through the addition of the seasonings used.
Flavor Score 2/5, Fat Content 75%
Surprisingly, bacon does not play as dominant a role flavor-wise as one would think. In order to get a real strong bacon flavor you'd almost have to go 50-50, but there’s probably a law against that somewhere. The reason we keep bacon with the Level 3 items is the amount of fat involved. While four pounds of ground bacon sounds perfect to me it's probably not for everybody. Fat content will be in the 75% range.
Flavor Score 3/5, Fat Content 40%
This reminds me a little of the bacon and what it brings to the table. It is far more subtle than would appear. I would estimate the fat content to be in the 75% range, and because of the unique texture of foie gras we need to keep it at 12.5% of the final mix (to achieve this we blend it with the sirloin for the other 12.5%). Foie gras has a somewhat fragile texture, and is extremely susceptible to melting; if we were to include a full 25% of foie gras you’d see about half of it melt out of the burger while on the grill.
Flavor Score 5/5, Fat Content 53%
This blend contains 12.5% Suet and 12.5% Choice Chuck, which allows you to experiment with the flavors the fat will bring without tipping the total fat content of your burger over 30% (my personal favorite is to keep it right around 25% fat). This is the remarkable fat of Yorkshire pudding fame; basically it’s the kidney fat that is found on the inside of the loin. In fact, this is the fact that wraps around the filet mignon. It has a very crumbly and extremely rich texture, and while not a wet fat I would hazard to guess that it's as high of an oil content as the brisket fat and possibly even the Wagyu fat. It brings a wonderful smooth flavor that will enhance whatever it's mixed with. We have a fat content of 53% so I would advise using this as a blend with one of the lower fat base meats and play with the concept of the flavor of the beef as enhanced by the flavor of the fat.
Flavor Score 5/5, Fat Content 53%
This blend contains 12.5% Prime Brisket Fat and 12.5% Choice Chuck, which allows you to experiment with the flavors the fat will bring without tipping the total fat content of your burger over 30% (my personal favorite is to keep it right around 25% fat). This fat, taken from the Prime Brisket, has a high oil content, which allows you to introduce the flavor of brisket in a more controlled percentage. By that we mean you could blend into a much leaner type of beef and produce the flavor without the overall fat being off the charts.
Flavor Score 5/5, Fat Content 53%
This blend contains 12.5% Prime Beef Rib Cap Fat and 12.5% Choice Chuck, which allows you to experiment with the flavors the fat will bring without tipping the total fat content of your burger over 30% (my personal favorite is to keep it right around 25% fat). This is probably the most complex of the fats offered; it delivers the full flavor of the others while being middle-of-the-road with the moisture content. This is the fat that is normally present within the rib eye steak, which indicates the richness of flavor it will bring to the table.
Flavor Score 3/5, Fat Content 10%
Same drill as the mild Italian sausage but with a little bit of heat. Similar ingredients to the mild sausage as well, but without the sugar and plus both cayenne pepper and red pepper flakes to give it a little edge. This type of sausage is often used as a subtle boost in traditional Italian meatballs as it will enhance the flavor of the beef that it's mixed with without taking over.
Flavor Score 5/5, Fat Content 10%
Not for the squeamish but once you get past the concept they're way cool. As we dry age our steaks, in this case the Rib Eyes and New Yorks, the exterior edges are exposed to the air for a full 30+ days. During this time the moisture evaporation from these edges is far more accelerated than the whole piece that they're part of; and they will intensify in both flavor and darkness. We cut these edges to the thickness of about a half an inch, which removes all trace of darkness from the underlying meat. The result of which is that we have the equivalent of our top-of-the-line Private Reserve steaks with the moisture content perhaps less than half of what the steaks have. This intensifies the flavor by a factor of two. One note for these, like the skirt steak and hanger steak this cut will grind somewhat darker and so there may be a color variation in the final combined product.
Flavor Score 5/5, Fat Content 53%
This blend contains 12.5% Wagyu Fat and 12.5% Choice Chuck, which allows you to experiment with the flavors the fat will bring without tipping the total fat content of your burger over 30% (my personal favorite is to keep it right around 25% fat). Okay, now here we go with some unsubstantiated claims (by me), but I'm working on it. It is said that the fat of the wagyu cattle is the healthiest of any beef fat around. Now I know that sounds like something I would've made up, and given the chance I definitely would have, but I’m hearing that this really is true. Since I plan on believing it, I'm pulling out all the stops to actually back up this claim; and trust me you’ll be the first to know when I have some solid data. Regardless, there's no doubt that wagyu fat has a tremendous flavor as well as being a more moist fat. So using this as one of your components actually gives you a twofer; flavor and moisture. This is a perfect medium to use when working with one of the leaner base components with a goal of keeping the overall fat content lower while still delivering a great flavor.