Rack M Nation: Pork Choppin & Burger Smashin

Jerry Markland

I haven't really gotten the smoker out as much as i'd like so far this spring but I've cooked up plenty of delicious meat inside!

First thing first. I am a huge disciple of Serious Eats' Food Lab. It is my daily go to for new recipes, ideas, reviews and all sorts of info needed for any cook. Seriously, check it out. Like right now, if you haven't already.

Ok, now that that is out of the way, lets talk food! The last 2 nights I've taken 2 recipes from the Food Lab and tried them out myself to see just how easy they are. One was a monster success, the other took quite a bit of tinkering and I almost broke a window by throwing a hot pan through it. Don't do this at home kids.

Smashed Burger

I saw these and instantly thought of Winsteads, one of my favorite burger joints of all time. These are supposed to be the delicious little thin patties that are just crispy on the outside and still super juicy. I mean, just look at those pictures, so juicy, greasy and just begging to be destroyed. Mmmmmm.

My attempt at these was, well, a bit of a pain but in the end I finally got something decently close. For starters I used 85/15 beef for my patties. I usually go for a higher fat content like this for the juicier burger but it does cause quite a bit of shrinkage (insert I was in the pool joke here) during cooking.

I started with 2 oz balls of meat as described in the recipe:

and a screamin hot oily pan:

I went ahead and added my first ball of meat and tried to squish er down, well this is where I started to run into trouble. #1, do use some kind of coated pan, the meat completely stuck to my pan. #2 the balls were far too small after cooking. I mean they seriously looked like sliders.

I scrapped that pan and doubled the size of my balls, heh. Things went MUCH smoother after this point. Also, I put the meat in between two pieces of wax paper and thinned it out with a "tamper". This was much easier than smashing in the pan:

I got some good bakery style buns to go along with these burgers and added some pepper jack cheese to mine. They were quite good. As always I made sure I had a solid beverage to consume while cooking:

Pork Chops

I picked up some very nice double thick pork chops at the local hyvee the other day because they were on sale and I figured what they hay, lets give it a whirl. After a quick bit of searching I found this reverse sear recipe and holy crap does it work.

I first just did some seasoning with salt and pepper, just like I would with a steak, and let them sit for about 45 minutes. I pre-heated my oven to 275, because it always runs colder, and put the chops in on a grate on top of a flat pan. They took about 45 minutes to heat up to the 110 degree range. After they were cooked I turned the oven off and left them in there for another 10 minutes or so while I finished the corn and fried taters on the stove:

I had been cooking the taters in my cast iron skillet with oil, butter, garlic chunks, seasoned salt and slap ya mama. When the taters were done I scooped em out, added another half stick of butter and let it melt quickly. I then added the chops for about a minute on each side and got a super nice golden char. These were seriously the juiciest pork chops I've ever had. The reverse sear does such a good job of slow cooking and not drying the chops out at all.

I drank  a few Schlafly Summer Lagers during this process but I ran out of battery to take more pictures.

Welp, thats all I've got kiddos. What do you have on your menus for the upcoming holiday weekend?

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