Let’s just put it out there: everyone loves a burger. In fact, there are many times I’ve been to a restaurant and wanted to order from the kids menu because there was no burger on the adult menu (don’t pretend like this hasn’t happened to you!)
Though, in recent times burgers have become somewhat of a heralded meal, no longer privy to whippersnappers and picky eaters. Gourmet burger bars and restaurants are cropping up all over Australia, with chefs and burger enthusiasts elevating the humble burger to new heights.
They’re not an everyday thing, but in moderation it’s a great treat for the kids (and you!). But the price of eating out at these fancy burger places quickly adds up, and let’s be honest the fast food options are deplorable.
So, how can you create the ultimate burger at home? The type of burger that’s so delicious, the kids won’t ever want McDonalds ever again. Here are some tips that I’ve picked up that will help you make 10/10 burgers every time.
1) The Meat
If you want the ultimate burger you have to grind your own meat. There are plenty of times when store bought mince will do the trick, but not when it comes to a burger. The meat is the star of the show so it’s time for plenty of love.
You may be thinking, “who has the time to mince their own meat?” but it’s actually not that time consuming. You’ll need a meat grinder which can be expensive, but I picked one up for $29 from Kmart and it hasn’t broken on me yet. You can mince up in bulk and then freeze the burgers and you’ll have a ready supply whenever you need. Remember to use squares of grease proof paper to separate the burgers and place them in a zip-lock bag before freezing.
The most important think to consider when making a burger is fat content. As the burger cooks the fat will render, giving you a juicy succulent patty. Because you are using fresh meat, you can also cook your burger rare if you wish.
The perfect ratio:
60% Chuck / 20% Short Rib / 20% Sirloin
2) Add nothing
There is actually no need to add anything to the meat at all. Adding extra ingredients will only add water content to the burger and for a burger water = bad. The fat content alone will be enough to bind the burger, 100% beef is all you need!
3) The burger dimple
This is a brilliant trick from Bobby Flay. You may have experienced the rissole-burger effect before – when your burger cooks it shrinks, and by the time it’s ready you end up with a golf ball shaped burger that’s only half the size of the bun.
Bobby suggests when forming your burger patties make them slightly larger than the diameter of the bun and make a small rounded impression in the centre. The impression will absorb the shrinkage and leave you with a perfectly sized burger. I’ve found that 140-150 grams is perfect for an adult burger, however you may need to adjust this volume for the kids.
4) Treat It Like A Steak
Never season the mince itself because the salt will toughen the meat. Rather, season the outside of the burger liberally with salt and pepper just prior to cooking. Just like when cooking a steak the salt will aid in caramelising the natural sugars of the meat, and caramelisation = flavour.
5) Thick or thin?
Much debate roars over whether a thin or thick patty makes the perfect burger, but to be honest, it’s all up to personal preference. The advantage of a thick patty is that you can cook the burger rare. Make sure if the burger is thick you cook on a medium to high heat so it cooks through without burning. The kids may prefer a thinner, well-cooked burger in which case you can crank the heat to the max.
Add your cheese of choice (you can’t go past Kraft cheddar) when the burger is almost finished cooking, add a dash of water to the pan and close the lid for 10 seconds. This is a tried and tested method of getting oozy cheese.
6) Butter the bun
Whether you opt for the new-school brioche or the regular white bread roll, one thing remains vital to selecting the right bread option: it has to be soft and fresh! There is nothing worse that biting in to a crunchy roll, only to have the contents of your burger fly out the sides. Melbourne burger joint, Huxtaburger, brushes the buns with clarified butter before grilling them. Hey, it’s a special treat!
7) Supercharged sauce
Mayo, ketchup and American mustard are the holy trinity of burger condiments. However, for the good of all humanity, Delicious Magazine recently decoded the secret to making Big Mac Sauce at home (minus the preservatives). Hot tip: its gooood! Or add some Siracha chilli sauce for that supercharged kick.
And there you have it! By following these 7 simple tips you will be a burger master in no time.
Do you have any other tips to add to the list? Please share in the comments below.
Main image courtesy of Shutterstock.com