It's safe to say that Dario Cecchini, otherwise titled as "the mad butcher of Tuscany," knows how to make the most out of a cow. As an eighth-generation artisan butcher who rose to international prominence by championing ancestral cooking techniques, Cecchini is widely understood to be an authority in the art of nose-to-tail butchery. When you're this good at your craft, you obviously understand a thing or two about how to make a big impact on the flavor of your food through simple methods. For example, rather than letting bone marrow go to waste (or serving it for diners to scrape out with a poorly shaped spoon), Cecchini employs it in something more casual: his burger blend.
In anticipation of a Taste of Italy event that he will be hosting for the upcoming South Beach Food & Wine Festival, Tasting Table sat down for an exclusive interview with Dario Cecchini. Among other things, we asked the famed butcher why bone marrow is such an important component of his signature burger mix.
"For me, beef marrow is the most noble fat," says Cecchini. "It makes the mix more delicate and more harmonic, so that's my reason. It's an added value that is very important. It also circles back to my philosophy of using every part well."
Read more: Your Guide To The Different Cuts Of Steak
Why You Need Fat In A Burger Blend
Making your own hamburger blend requires a careful balance. If you want an item that tastes professionally developed, then it's not as simple as forming minced meat into a patty and throwing it on the grill without any additions. Many burger mixes call for an ideal beef ratio of 80% lean meat to 20% fatty meat. You can certainly buy 80/20 beef in stores, but foregoing the purchase of an 80/20 pack of ground beef opens you up to the opportunity to use a combination of cuts with different fat compositions. Not only is this a technically sound method for making burgers that stay juicy and well-composed, but balancing the amount of lean meat with fattier cuts and a binding ingredient ensures a better flavor all around.
When following this tip from Dario Cecchini, adding bone marrow to your burger blend needs to be done carefully. Marrow has a high fat content. Putting it into your burger can impart a richer texture and an unctuous, umami flavor; add too much, and you risk forming a patty that is texturally greasy (with a taste to match). For Cecchini, the inclusion of bone marrow into the burger is an addition that happens to create a better flavor as long as you keep each ingredient carefully balanced.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival runs from February 22 to the 25th. You can get tickets here.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.