Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hamburger America Test Kitchen - The Squealer

Tonight I attempted to re-create one of my favorite burgers in America, the Squealer from Tookie's in Seabrook, Texas. Tookie's has guarded secrets so I was on my own with this one. From what I can tell, bacon is ground with the beef to create a one-of-a-kind experience, a burger with the unmistakable essence of bacon mixed right in.

You have to use a grinder to blend the bacon with the beef properly, so naturally start with a good chuck steak from your butcher. I cooked 3 slices of Boar's Head bacon until browned, not crispy. I then cubed a 1 pound chuck steak and sent it all through the grinder. The bacon strips went in whole, which was a mistake because some of the undercooked bacon fat gummed up the grinder.

I scooped balls of the mixture, placed them in a hot skillet, and pressed them to the shape of the patty. The chuck I used was too lean though and the burgers came out a bit dry. I'm guessing that the bacon may have also dried out the burger as well. The result was pretty damn good for a first try. It tasted close to Tookie's Squealer, the taste of bacon very present, but needs more work. Next time, more bacon, and more beef fat.


DocChuck said...

The last time I visited one of my U. of H. friends in Houston, we visited Tookie's to sample the Squealer. I enjoyed the burger, and enjoyed the cold beer even more.

My buddy has also tried to copy the Squealer, and according to him, his version is pretty close to Tookie's.

I didn't get to sample his product, but he did tell me his method.

He uses an 80/20 mix of ground chuck. To a pound of ground meat, he adds six slices of bacon that has been cooked to almost crisp, and chopped in a blender to the mix along with the rendered bacon fat (grease). He also adds a "heavy dash" (as he calls it) of crushed red pepper flakes.

I haven't gotten around to trying it myself, but he claims that his is just as good as Tookie's.

Oh yeah, and he says that he tops the Squealer clone with pepperjack cheese.

Hamburger America said...

I like it. Next time, more bacon for sure.

Don said...

docchuck has something going here. The key is adding back the bacon grease that was rendered out when it was cooked. It not only helps with the moisture content, it also helps spread the bacon flavor thru the patty.

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