While their day job involves solving ‘big hairy problems’ for Wall Street Banks, insurance companies and others, by crunching hoards of data, Big Data analytics is an obsession that the Context Relevant team uses whenever they can in their own lives: selecting food, wine, making coffee, determining where they live and how to most effectively spend their time. To them, it’s all about “examining effectiveness of processes instead of assuming conventional wisdom.”

For this group of data analysts, nothing is left to chance. What’s the best way to decant wine? Use a 2L Erlenmeyer flask. Mix a flawless cocktail? 2Mag Mixer lab equipment will do. But, can Big Data really grill the perfect burger? Yes and here’s how:

Where’s the Beef?

Purpura and his team love beef. They love it so much that they analyzed the quality of beef sourced from all over the country and pulled in some additional experts to help. Using data from the U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, combined with data about the distribution of meat from individual farms all the way to butcher, they determined that the best beef in the entire world is actually sold in California – specifically, Flannery Beef in San Rafael.

Mixing it up.

Not only did Big Data source the most flavorful beef in the world, it also helped the Context Relevant team determine the best beef-to-bun ratio, burger thickness and more. They worked with the best steak butcher in the U.S., which they determined using predictive analytics, and tested a variety of different blends of meat. Purpura and his team of data scientists and world-class butchers also did things like measure the net weight loss after cooking and fat ratios, then taste tested it to find the perfect blend: 50 percent Wagyu Chuck, 25 percent Wagyu Short Ribs and 25 percent Wagyu Fat Blend.


It’s getting hot in here.

There’s an actual science to grilling the perfect burger, which requires a scientific instrument to produce the most accurate results. Purpura and his team (using Big Data, of course) determined that the perfect internal temperature for a medium-rare burger, producing the absolute best flavor and texture, is 132 degrees Fahrenheit. And, how do they accurately test the temperature of a grilled burger? They use a NIST certified precision thermometer.

Voilà! The perfect burger is the perfect example of how data analytics is being used in more ways than we can imagine. Just think of what the Context Relevant team could do with Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon.