|The Secret Is Meat From Laurel Meat Market|
I don't want to pompous. I just want to catch your attention because you can make the best burger too. The secret is Laurel Meat Market, and I don't want them to be a secret from anyone.
Laurel Meat Market on Main Street is just across the line from Howard County, but it's a trip worth making because their ground chuck should be the star of your summer grilling. They grind at the shop. You're not eating industrial product. You're buying real meat that you can turn into special burgers one-third of a pound at a time.
You have two ways to do that.
First, you have the simple lesson from Mrs. HowChow's family. Dice a clove of garlic and handful of onion for each burger. Briefly mix them into the meat -- but don't press around enough to compact the meat. If you make one-third-pound patties, those will grill up juicy and with more flavor than even many of the gourmet burger restaurants around.
Second, you can go crazy. Laurel Meat Market will regrind your beef with spicy sausage or bacon. The sausage-beef combo is called "firecracker mix," and either sausage or bacon will create burgers that will make your guests sit up straight. With two or three parts beef to one part sausage or bacon, I have gotten raves every single time -- even from folks who say that they normally try to avoid bacon.
If you want to get even-more specific, you can buy whole steaks at Laurel and ask them to grind your personal blend. In 2011, Matt wrote me about how he created custom blends of chuck, sirloin and bacon.
Whatever you do, it's the meat that makes the best burger. I'm sure of that -- and of the value of good buns from Wegmans or the Breadery (which occasionally makes the best hot dog buns that you'll ever find). Honestly, you can probably do as well with the butchers at J.W. Trueth in Oella or Boarman's in Highland. I have just never asked those folks to do any special blends.
This is part of a Worth Repeating series highlighting dishes and places that you should hear about even though they aren't new. I'm suggesting sandwiches, Chinese, Cuban sandwiches, and other items that have been HowChow favorites for years.