Pink slime is so hot right now – it’s in fast food joints, at supermarkets, and even in our elementary schools. But, pink slime is so much better when it’s homemade! Once you taste a fresh pink slime hamburger, you’ll never be satisfied with the drive-through version again. Grinding our own pink slime is also a great way to tailor the ammonia content to your particular taste, whether you prefer tangy and solvent, or mild and corrosive.
For this burger, I used the left over beef trimmings that I had been saving for compost. They were aged one week at room temperature and had just started to take on the terroir of my compost bin. You can use store-bought ammonia, but if you happen to be (or know) a cat owner, I highly recommend using feline-produced ammonia. It provides a sharper, more vibrant flavor that you can only get from fresh, local sources. I recommend using cat litter that has been sitting for 30 days. Sift out the solid waste (because it would be disgusting if any fecal matter got near your burger patty) and reserve the litter granules – they contain the precious ammonium hydroxide we’re after. Blend the litter granules into a fine puree, then pass them through a chinois or coffee filter. Combine the aromatic litter liquid with the beef trimmings and feed through a masticating juicer or a pasta maker with a spaghetti die attached. Form the extruded meat into circular patties and cook on a grill, or sous vide before deep frying for a perfectly brown crust.
I like to keep the rest of my burger pretty simple – a Kaiser roll or a brioche bun, an American cheese slice, some heirloom tomato, and plenty of ketchup to mask the other flavors. Enjoy at your next backyard barbeque, or any old day of the week!
[The photo above was obviously inspired by Ryan Matthew Smith’s iconic hamburger photo from Modernist Cuisine. Thanks for the inspiration and the tips, Ryan!]
[and happy April Fool’s day.]