Sunday, August 16, 2015

Juicy Pub-Style Burgers (and a little honesty about being a food blogger today)

 
My fingertips have been hovering above my keyboard.  I'm really not sure where to start this blog post.  Bear with me, for just a moment or two as I digress from sharing this juicy burger recipe that I ground myself-- even though I don't even own a meat grinder.  (This recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen.)

Inhale.  I've been blogging for seven years.  Seven wonderful years, that has introduced me to so many wonderful people who love to cook and bake as much as I do.  I've been blessed to attend food blogger festivals, and I have been able to rub elbows with celebrity chefs and celebrity food bloggers.  I've enjoyed some great perks-- like, when the UPS truck shows up with kitchen tools or foods for me to test and develop recipes for.  How could I not love that?!!  Food blogging has been my creative outlet, and has encouraged me to step up my game with what I feed to my family. 

There was a time when I would make some extra pocket money, that I used to pay website designers,  or to purchase cookware or gourmet ingredients.  But, in recent times, the food blog community has changed a lot.  It's become more competitive, and I don't make as much extra cash as I once did. It seems that I've reached a fork in the road, where I feel a little left behind (and somewhat guilty) in maintaining regular food blog posts.  In short, I have broken a few of the Golden Rules of having a successful food blog, within the last year or so.

What rule is that, you might wonder?

I've been blogging rather infrequently-- sometimes with two weeks of no blog posts being posted.  This, I've been told, can cause a loss of readership.  By my recent stats, I can see this is happening.  It's discouraging, for me, because I cherish each and every person who has faithfully been reading my food bog.  I so enjoy visiting my favorite food blogs, and discovering new ones. I spend at average of 2 hours (or more)  to edit and organize my food photos, and to write the blog post.   I have a full-time job that I love, but it has become more and more demanding of my time and energy.

So,  I had to make a choice. I chose to spend more of my time focusing on my family, my health, my job and less time on social media.  That, my friends, is another Golden Rule that I've broken in the Food Blogger community. The most successful food bloggers don't only have beautiful photos and recipes, but they are very active on Twitter, Facebook and blog more than once a week-- some blog every day! 

Thank you to those of you who remain faithful readers of my food bog.  I have no immediate plans to quit food blogging altogether..   I won't allow statistics to make me feel like a failure.  I will continue to share the simple food (and desserts) that I make for my family and friends when I can.  One day, I'll be able to retire. Then, maybe, I can make this food blog my full-time job and be rich! (Just kidding/wishing on that last thought.)

Thank you for listening.  Muwahhh!  Exhale.

Okay... on with this recipe:



It is highly unusual for me to eat burgers from a big chain take-out place-unless, there's a good Mom and  Pop place that char-grills their burgers. Then, I'm in!

While you don't need a meat grinder, you do need a food processor to make this recipe. You also need to buy Sirloin Steak Tips.  Maybe you've seen this cut labeled as Round Tip Steak, Tip Steak, Sandwich Steak, Ball Tip Steak, Breakfast Steak, or Knuckle Steak?


Even better, use Flap Meat.  Flap Meat?  It doesn't sound pretty, does it?   Think of Flap Meat as being an alternative to Skirt Steak.  May you've seen it labeled as Faux hanger?  I buy mine at Costco (and it's reasonably priced), and freeze it in smaller portions.

You simply cut the meat into long strips, and then into smaller chunks.  Then, freeze them for about 30 minutes-- just until firm and hardening around the edges, but still pliable.

Then you pulse the meat (one quarter at a time) until finely ground.  Next you add some melted butter (to encourage browning)...

Then, you add some pepper and work it through the meat with a fork (don't overwork the meat, or your burger will be tough).  Last, shape the burgers into four patties.

America's Test Kitchen's recipe is written to sear the patties in a frying pan, and then transferring the patties to a baking sheet. The meat is finished off in the oven for 3-6 minutes, thereby ensuring a juice burgers.

However...

It was a hot day, and I chose to grill these on a gas grill.  The meat is a little loose, so flipping them over took some care so that they wouldn't fall apart.

I made a quick sauce of mayonnaise, ketchup and sweet pickle relish. I also made Buttermilk Fried Onion Rings  and served the burgers on store-bought Brioche Hamburger Buns.

TASTING NOTES:  I'm totally ruined.  Store-bought ground beef should be ashamed of itself.  This burger was so juicy, and I loved the texture of the beef.  I cannot wait for the opportunity to make this again.  I'm going to stock up on Flap Meat, so that I can make burgers like this from now on.  You will not be sorry if you add this to your next grilled dinner menu.

If you're feeling ambitious, you can make these homemade hamburger buns in an hour!

Enjoy!



Here is the printable recipe card:




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37 comments:

Mom24 said...

Take care of yourself and your family. First. Always. Please don't quit though. Your faithful readers will still be here.

(Please post the peach melba pie recipe too!)

Susan Sevig said...

Blogging is not what it used to be. I still have my favorites that pop up on my side bar when something new has been posted. I try to read them all. I do not comment as often as in the past, only when I am really inspired by the writing or the recipe. You, my friend, you are the one I always go to when I want to find a good recipe for...... There comes a time when we have to decide what is really important. I will always be checking you out when something new is posted. Just stay healthy and happy. Mit liebe, Susan

Lrcintexas said...

You are one of my favorite! I discovered your blog about 6 years ago. When I decide to sit down and go read food blogs, yours is on the top of my list for inspiration.
Take time for yourself, breathe and enjoy your life.
I will always be checking in to see if anything is new...

Proud Italian Cook said...

Deb, I try to post once a week, sometimes it's longer, I use to do 2 times a week when I first started, I could never do that now! Just do what you can do. Just because comments are low, ( on all our blogs) doesn't mean people aren't reading them, you'd be surprised, plus there's social media overload now.
Stats and numbers never concerned me and they never will, my mind doesn't work that way, (that's probably a good thing). Just keep putting out the quality posts that you always do, as long as it's still creative and fun for you ,don't worry about the other stuff! My new commitment to myself is to walk every day, our health is just as important, and I've been slacking big time.. Health is wealth!

Joanne said...

As someone who has also been blogging for seven years...it is WAY harder being a food blogger now than when we started. And part of me definitely wishes we could go back to that simpler time. I say, you do you! And try not to worry about the rest.

shirley balentine said...

Hi Deb, I love your blog and check quite frequently to see any new recipes. Please don't quit. Take care of yourself and your family. God bless.

MommyNamedApril said...

i've been at it for 7 years this month too :-) sometimes you need to step back and take a break. do what works for you. this space will still be here when you need it!

bellini said...

Your words are all too true Debby. Food blogging is definitely not what it used to be for so many reasons that we both know. These days you probably blog more than I do as I blog infrequently, but when I do I want my posts to be well thought out. Yes our readership goes down which I too find disappointing, but life is too short.

Bonnie B. said...

I'm glad you're hanging in there and not going away! Our lives have their ups and downs and then new energy comes and you're back with even more enthusiasm! You've had a busy year or more, and now that school is back in session, a new groove has to be established. We will happily wait for each and every post you are able to make. I'll be on the lookout for this flap steak! Take care, Bonnie B. of Santa Ynez.

Debby Foodiewife said...

A collective thank you for all of your encouragement. I'm have no plans to abandon this blog. I've come to terms that worrying about how many comments I get, or how much money I make (or, in my case, don't make....)isn't important. It's good to know that I'm not alone. By the way, the burger is delicious, and I do hope that you try it.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add my voice to the chorus out there encouraging you to contribute when and as you can. You're worth the wait! Seriously... Debbie the NY Baker

Anonymous said...

Chiming in to say that I'm glad you have no intentions of quitting entirely! Even though your priorities have shifted (and rightly so, imho), your posts are always a delight, and I'm always happy to see one in my email.

And I fondly remember the time we (you, G and I) met for lunch when I was visiting my in-laws in San Jose, and the fun of poking around in that kitchen supply store. So many temptations! :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm just happy to see you pop up on my screen-- NO matter when!
Thanks.

pbadaluco said...

Deb....hang in there! I really enjoy your posts and since I live in So Cal and your area is always a favorite trip , and I once worked in a school district, I feel a kinship with you. I look forward to your next wonderful recipe...whenever it is! Best Regards, Pat ( Murrieta)

Debby Foodiewife said...

Your blog posts are always beautifully written, Val. We did share some good times in San Francisco.

Debby Foodiewife said...

I will! Thank you v

Mimi G said...

The hamburger looks delish....happy you can use food processor! Love when I get a new post from you. Keep up the good work in your own time.

Penny said...

I know what you are talking about Debby. It can be discouraging at times, especially when we put so much of ourselves and our time into a post and then get very few comments. It is also hard to keep up with commenting on the blogs that we love. A double edged sword for sure. But we all can continue to try our best, blog when we can, respect our blog friends and get joy from whatever contribution we can make. You are a class act and make a very mean hamburger too.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

First of all let me say that your burger stands above the rest. I've never ground my own meat for burgers, but you're making me crave one of these right now. As for changes in food blogging, I've never made one cent from it, although there have certainly been free foods to try and even new gadgets too - none of which I would write positively about if I didn't really stand behind them. I too, find it increasingly difficult to find the time to write blog posts -- not to cook, but to document the recipe, take the photo, etc. Once a week is my typical output and if it's less frequent, so be it. Living life and enjoying family and friends take priority -- always. I'm more likely to comment on someone's post if it's less frequent anyway. Who has time to comment on daily blogs? And your posts are always enticing, delicious and beautifully photographed. Keep on keepin' on, no matter what the schedule.

Gail Meadows said...

Dear Debby, I have read your blog for a while and have never posted a comment. It is way time overdue. Thanks for all the care and love you have for your food blog... I especially like the "home touch" news about your family, what recipes they like the best, etc. We will all continue to follow you when you are available. Do not worry about losing readership. We are all so busy these days, but (ditto from the other posts: Take care of your needs. : )
Gail, from White Oak, TX

Big Dude said...

great looking burger Debbie and a good tip to freeze before trying to use the food processor. Since I don't have advertising or make a single penny from mine, I can't relate to the issues you are dealing with but it looks like it's a simple you run the blog or the blog runs you and it's your choice.

Ali Phillips said...

I totally feel ya, I'm in the same boat. I do my best, but I know I don't have the time or energy to do the whole social media thing, and to blog super frequently. It takes a bit of time to get used to accepting that, but I think I'm pretty okay with it. :) Good for you for bringing up this topic!

jezinthekitchen said...

As a non-blogger, here's my the view from my side. If you have good recipes, if you share stories that make me laugh ... I'm staying with you. The one SURE way to lose my readership? Get together with thirty other bloggers and host a "giveaway" for one lousy gift card which requires me to like you and those thirty other bloggers on Facebook, follow all of you on Twitter AND Pinterest, subscribe to your newsletters, etc.

Look ... if I like what you're doing, I'm going to follow your blog SOMEwhere ... but what I WON'T do is follow your blog EVERYWHERE. It's a waste of my time to see the same post in five or six different places - and even if I don't blog, my time is still valuable to me.

Rock on, sister ... I'm not going anywhere. :)

Debby Foodiewife said...

Dear Jez,
Your comment gave me a hearty laugh. So funny! Yet, so true! Thank you for the encouragement. You're awesome!

AnneBB said...

I really love your blog and would be lost if you quit. You test the recipes and then give me tips for real people cooking!! Thank you for all you do!!!

Kate said...

Debby, I know exactly what you are saying. I originally started blogging just to share and join in the wonderful community...in the last six years, I, too, have seen a real change. Like you, I had to do a self examination and decide what was really important to me and what was my purpose. So, whether the post is once a week, every two weeks or once a month, I am a faithful reader and will be there! Yours was one of the first blogs I found....I remember your posting about your horse that you were boarding on the central coast, your trips to Cambria and all of the wonderful food along the way. Thank you for your willingness to share those great family recipes!

Gloriosky said...

Debby, I have signed up for any number of food blogs because I love to cook and try different recipes. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that commenting was being "kept track of". Of those blogs I signed up for all but four or five I have unsubscribed to, because more often than not,they weren't the kind of recipes I would try. I have saved those recipes of yours that I've tried and hope to keep recieving your blogs in my mail for as long as you feel like writing a blog good enough to eat.
I'm also going to start commenting on my other favorite bloggers and not taking any of you for granted any more.
Gloriosky

Debby Foodiewife said...

Gloriosky,
Actually, I don't track my comments at all. I appreciate them, and ready very single one. I have stats that tell me how many visitors I get, what time of day etc. The numbers are down. At first, I took it personally. But, a good thing has happened every since I posted my honesty. Suddenly, I find readers coming out of the woodwork who have lifted my spirits and I am deeply touched. I no longer feel like a failure or guilty for not blogging as often. I am not alone, it seems. Thank you for your kind words.

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

Good looking burger Debbie and happy blog anniversary. I am a little late to this discussion and I've enjoyed reading all of the comments above. You've got a lot of support and I'm so pleased that you are planning to continue. You and I began blogging around the same time (my 7th anniversary is in October). It has changed a great deal since the early days when we knew everyone and there was virtually no social media. It is rare that I have ever blogged more than once a week. I am retired and just don't have the time nor energy to do more than one post a week. Some people expected me to blog while we were on our leisurely two month stroll through the south of France and to tell you the truth, I wanted to enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime experience to feel as if we lived there among the locals with no pressures from the outside world, so I didn't post for almost three months. Of course my readership is down, but I don't have the energy or interest to do what it takes to blog every day or get involved in all of the social media. I have a Facebook page for the blog, but that's all of the social media I participate in. I just saw you mention "snapchat" on FB this morning. I don't want nor do I have the time to figure all of it out. It seems to be blogs have become big business ventures and that has left me behind for sure. I'm glad to say that we were among the first and also I'm so I'm pleased that you will continue your lovely blog and enjoy your life along the way.
Sam

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I break the rules of food blogging all the time. But I don't blog for other bloggers. I blog for me. I won't lie. I love it when my blog gets attention, but the main reason I started it was to share recipes and stories with friends and family. If anyone else reads it, then that's just gravy (apt metaphor, no?) I never did anything to really promote my blog either.

Over the years many of the people in my audience have either gone on to bigger projects beyond their blogs or have stopped blogging. It has been 8 years. I'm not sure where I'm going with my blog, but I know it's not going away. I like it - in all its imperfections and rule-breaking glory.

andrea chiu said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Cheryl Dunkin said...

Debby I could not agree more on the blogging community and how it has changed, I have struggled as well with loss of readership. I quit for quite some time, now I post once every few weeks and that is about it, I doubt anyone reads what I post but it is more for me to refer back to.

Take care, hope you are well!

Deborah said...

Guten Tag! I have been a longtime reader of your wonderful blog and I wanted to say I appreciate all that you do and share with your readers. I first discovered your blog after coming back from vacation in Munich and then Salzburg. I desperately needed an authentic recipe to re-create Austrian Goulash at home and that is when I discovered your recipe, and many of your other delicious ones as well. I am glad to read that you still enjoying blogging and that you will continue to do so in the future. I look forward to happy reading days ahead :)

Best wishes,
Deborah (from Virginia)

Kate @ Framed Cooks said...

I loved this post. The burger is of course so wonderful-looking I could almost taste it, and I am SO WITH YOU you grinding your own meat. But as one of your fellow food bloggers, I definitely understand the push-pull between all the time and work that goes into our blogs, and all the time and work and most importantly the love and moments you won't get back with your family. You've come up with the perfect approach, and I will look forward to your pictures and your recipes no matter when they come. xoxo

LadyJayPee said...

That burger does look delicious. I'd love to get ambitious and make it.

I closed my blog down a few years ago, after four years of blogging, and went back to keeping it as my own private recipe box--the intention I had when I began it. This was after finding my photographs, several times, on other people's blogs being represented as their own. I still read food blogs occasionally, but now that I'm (finally) on Facebook, I mostly follow them there, now including you! In the meantime, I've moved on to develop other long-held interests besides cooking & gardening--the primary one being devoting my energies to learning the medium of watercolor. It's been a challenge that may never end, and brings with it the bonus of finding a new tribe of my people; and it's great fun as well!

I remember when we were both new bloggers and first "met" through our blogs. All the best to you! ~LadyJayPee

Anonymous said...

I haven't read all of the above posts, so don't know if this is just a repeat. I love your blog! The recipes are a cut above so many other blogs, it is well written and beautiful! I am going no where and I hope you don't either. I will not be leaving no matter how few your post get to be. I am busy too and don't have time to read all of the blogs and groups I belong to, so many times I have to just delete and read my favorites. Yours is one of my favorites!
Phyllis

Sydney Maria said...

wow! very nice recipe. Thanks for this! I've been grinding my own for awhile now but didn't know about chilling the parts before using. Great!!!!