Friday 26 June 2015

The Burger

It is very easy to buy burgers ready made and just slam them on the barbecue but in this age of meat scandals and unknown additives it can be far safer, cheaper and tastier to make your own, and indeed more satisfying. I've experimented in the past mixing the mince with all sorts of ingredients such as onion, chili, mushroom, rosemary, star anise, the list goes on. Then there are binding agents like breadcrumbs or eggs that people insist on using, or they whiz everything up in a food processor pulverizing everything into a mush. I find the best burgers are simply done by grabbing a handful of good mince (from a butcher), gently forming a patty, put a dimple in the middle, season and coat with oil and barbecue for a few minutes each side. Don't be tempted to move it, don't even touch it! It will come free of the grill when its charred enough and that side is done, then you can turn it over. Please never be tempted to squash the burger, if you do all that lovely juicy flavour will escape and you will end up with a dry, burnt bit of shoe leather.

I've also tried many different toppings and sauces, while they can make for some interesting and different combinations in my humble opinion the best burgers are the simple ones.

Burger Rules:

1. Never over work the mince, just form a simple patty and don't forget the dimple.

2. Always toast the inside of the buns on the grill first.
3. Make a burger sauce out of mayo, ketchup and mustard (English or American). Equal quantities of each is a good start but be careful if using English mustard as it is hotter. I like to add a few chopped capers too but that's up to you.
4. Wash and dry your salad.
5. Don't overcook the burger and don't fiddle with it!


Mince beef from the butcher
Cheddar cheese, sliced
Iceberg lettuce, leaves torn off
Tomato, sliced
Red onion, sliced
Lemon juice
Tomato Ketchup
Mustard, English or American
Bread buns
Salt and pepper


1. Wash and dry the salad.
2. Put the sliced onion in a bowl with a bit of lemon juice and mix through. I find this add's a bit of tang and also softens the intensity of raw onion.
3. Make your burger sauce by mixing the sauces together with some chopped up capers.
4. Cut the buns in half and toast the inside on the hot bbq or grill. Be careful not to burn them! Set aside when done.
5. Grab a handful of mince and form your patty, give it the dimple, season and smear with oil then pop it on the grill, if you have a lid on your barby get it shut. I do mine for about 3 minutes then flip but it depends on the thickness and how done you like them. I have no problem eating them pink if the mince is from a good butcher, in fact I prefer them like that.
6. Flip the burger then after a minute cover with the sliced cheddar and shut that lid again.
7. After about 2 minutes remove from the grill and set aside and allow the burger to rest for a few minutes on a plate. It will release it juices then suck them back up again, and boy do you want those juices.
8. Plate up! I start with lettuce on the bottom, then the burger, topped with the tomato and onion with the sauce spread on the inside of the lid. Tuck in and let that juice dribble down your chin, cant be beat!

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