This will be a quick one….
Everyone should know how make a decent burger. It’s right up there with being able to change a tyre and knowing where to use an apostrophe. And many sources will try to convince you that you need to make your patty as complicated as possible, e.g. stuffing the thing with cheese, adding truffle-infused calves liver, or burning an offering to Wonder Woman.
I beg to differ – the assembly of the burger can be as elaborate as you want, but the patty should be straightforward. If your foundation is good, you can do pretty much anything to build on it. My recipe changes here and there, but basically I use the following:
- 150 – 200g of lean beef per person
- An onion, finely chopped
- Salt and pepper
- A binding agent (an egg, oats, feta, or combination*)
- Spices of your choice (I used Woolies’ Italian grind for this one, but it’s up to you)
And for the chef
- A good bottle of red wine (I used Spier’s Creative Block 3)
Add all the above in a bowl, and mix together using your hands. Don’t overdo it – once it’s all combined, there’s no need to keep on mushing everything together. The mix then goes into the fridge for about 30 minutes to firm up. This is the perfect opportunity to have a glass of wine.
Next, ball your meat into the desired size and squeeze it flat. You don’t want huge, unmanageable patties – you want to be able to eat with your hands. (Yes, I’m looking at you Ed’s and Burger Bistro – sies man!) You can either cook these on the braai or a cast iron griddle pan, as long as they are hot. Don’t overdo it – well done are for idiots and sycophants. This will allow you enough time for about half a glass of wine.
Assembling your burger is very much a personal thing, and can fit into whatever you’re in the mood for. On this particular occasion, I chose to garnish the (toasted – we’re not animals) bun with some mixed herb lettuce, and an interesting sundried tomato, chilli, and black pepper savoury jam I bought from Montagu. I added some sliced jalapenos and cheese to the patties and covered them for the last few minutes to get the cheese nice and gooey. Perfect!
And that’s really all there is to it. I was quite heavy-handed with the pepper, so it worked well with the Creative Block 3.
Even better, we washed down the whole thing with a nice glass of Ardbeg, and a well-deserved nap.
Explore some burger recipes, but for the love of Spock, keep your patty simple! You can always show off with the building of the burger, but always remember that if your foundation is shit, anything put on top will be exponentially shitter.
*The binding agent is tricky business. With fatty meats, a handful of oats is all you need, if at all. Leaner meat will need something more substantial – for this one (lean sirloin) I used feta and an egg. A better option is to add some pork mince to the mix, as the fat will bind everything better.