Recently, #meatwaffles has become a prominent hashtag in the Lowcountry Twitterverse. While there is much speculation on just what #meatwaffles are and what the term might mean (physically and metaphysically), there is the obvious interpretation: a waffle made of meat. The method of creating a literal #meatwaffle was investigated and found to be a very efficient method for cooking and consuming meat. However there are several disadvantages mostly relating to the waffle iron used.
Materials and Methods
Two types of ground meat obtained from a local grocery store were used for the #meatwaffle experiment. The first was a package of prepared meatballs similar to what you would make for spaghetti and meatballs. The second was a tube package of the house brand hot italian sausage.
One of the prepared meatballs was split in half to create two smaller meatballs. A small portion of the italian sausage was extruded from the roll to create two small balls. Once the waffle iron had finished it's heating cycle, one of each type of meat was placed into separate waffle wells as shown below.
The lid was closed and the #meatwaffles were left to cook for two (2) minutes. At the end of the two minutes, the lid raised and the two mini #meatwaffles were removed. The remaining two meatballs were cooked in the same manner.
The mini #meatwaffles made in this manner did not differ in taste to their non-#meatwaffle counterparts, but did have a nice brown and crispy seared exterior. Because of the wells created by the waffle iron, the ratio of seared exterior to #meatwaffle size is significantly greater than that for the non-#meatwaffle counterpart. For those people that appreciate this, the #meatwaffle cooking method would seem to be ideal. Cooking time is reduced significantly because of the dual heating surfaces. The mini #meatwaffles prepared in this experiment took only two minutes to cook. Since the waffle iron creates a #meatwaffle of more or less uniform shape and thickness, cooking time should not depend significantly on the size of the #meatwaffle created. Only the end thickness of the #meatwaffle should affect cooking time.
The concept of the #meatwaffle is an interesting one. From a practical standpoint, the wells created by the waffle iron allow the #meatwaffle to hold any desired condiment, such as ketchup, relish or gravy, in the same manner as regular waffles do. For example, with a traditionally made burger, only a certain amount of condiment can be added before it becomes too messy to eat. Condiments can ooze out of the side, and slippage between the burger and bun can hamper eating efforts. A burger made using the #meatwaffle method would cook significantly faster, could hold a significant amount of condiment (ketchup, relish, mustard, etc) which would be held in place by the waffle wells, and because of its flat shape would not have any burger-bun slippage.
While the #meatwaffle cooking method proved to be very efficient and practical, a standard waffle iron is not the most optimal instrument to use for the #meatwaffle method. Since most waffle irons do not have removable surfaces, cleaning the the waffle iron afterwards is somewhat difficult and tedious. Also, depending on the type of meat used for creating #meatwaffles, there can be a significant amount of grease created in the cooking process. If the #meatwaffle is made too large, there is possibility of grease overflowing out of the waffle iron and creating a fire hazard.
In light of this, the ideal #meatwaffle cooking appliance would be something similar to a George Foreman Grill designed to allow grease to drain out of the unit, and with removable cooking plates for easy cleanup. To our knowledge however, George Foreman does not make a unit with waffle pattern cooking plates.
The #meatwaffle cooking method is an efficient and practical method for cooking meat. However, the designs of existing waffle irons is not optimal for cooking meat, but these issues can be resolved with some simple design changes.