The Ultimate Steak & Ribs Burger (With Watercress Salad & Horseradish-Lime Cream)
1-3/4 pounds trimmed flank steak, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 pound well-marbled, untrimmed boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch pieces, including fat
2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/2-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 large bowl of ice water for submerging the patties
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1-1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons grated fresh (or jarred, drained) horseradish
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon granulated fine sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Lime- Infused Butter:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 small garlic clove, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
12 slices (thin or thick-cut) smoked bacon
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, such as Colavita for brushing on the grill rack
2-1/2 cups small watercress sprigs
1/2 cup chervil leaves
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, such as Colavita
1-1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest
12 (1/2 -inch-thick) slices French sourdough bread, or 6 sourdough rolls, split
1/2 cup, or more, as needed, extra-virgin olive oil, such as Colavita, for brushing bread or rolls
2 large garlic cloves, peeled, each halved on a diagonal
Place beef, pieces not touching, on large baking sheet, and season evenly with 1-1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Chill 1 to 6 hours. When needed, rinse under cold water and pat dry. Grind using a meat grinder with a 3/8 or 1/4-inch die, or, finely chop in a food processor. Remove any large chunks or stringy connective tissue from ground beef mixture; discard. Gently separate meat into 6 equal portions. Handling the meat as little as possible to avoid compacting it, shape into patties to fit the shape of the bread or rolls. Press center of patties down with fingertips, creating a slight depression in each patty, which will allow patty to cook evenly with no puffiness in the center. Set aside, or cover and refrigerate until needed.
For horseradish-lime cream, combine creme fraiche, lime juice, horseradish, salt, sugar and parsley together in a small non-reactive bowl. Cover and chill until serving time.
Prepare the lime-infused butter. Mix butter, garlic, lime juice and salt together in a small bowl; set aside.
Preheat a gas grill to medium- high, or prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill with a cover.
When the grill is ready, cook the bacon until crisp in a large fire-proof griddle or skillet on the grill rack, turning slices as necessary for even cooking. Drain bacon on paper towels; wrap in aluminum foil to keep warm, and discard the bacon fat.
Brush the grill rack with olive oil as needed.
To cook patties, first submerge patties into the bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. With large slotted spatula, remove patties and place on oiled rack. Spread about1 teaspoon of the lime-infused butter mixture evenly over tops of the patties. Cover, and cook 5-7 minutes; turn; spread about1 teaspoon more of the lime-infused butter over each cooked side of each patty, using up the rest of the butter. Lightly sprinkle tops of each patty with any remaining salt and pepper, or to taste. Cover, and cook and additional 5-7 minutes for medium cooked burgers, or to desired preference.
While patties cook, brush each side of each bread slice with olive oil to taste, or brush cut sides of each roll with oil to taste; During the last 2-3 minutes of cooking patties, place bread (or cut side of rolls) on the outer edges of the rack to toast (both sides of bread) lightly, about 1 minute per side. Rub toasts (or toasted rolls) with garlic to taste.
Prepare watercress salad. Gently toss watercress sprigs, chervil leaves, shallots, lime juice, extra-virgin olive oil, and grated lime zest together in a medium bowl; set aside.
To assemble the burgers, spread about 1 tablespoon horseradish-lime cream over one side of each toast, or cut sides of rolls. Layer each with a burger, about ½ cup watercress salad, 2 slices of bacon, if desired, halved, and top toast (or roll), horseradish-lime cream side down. If desired, halve crosswise on a diagonal.
Yield: 6 servings.