I’m of the opinion that just about every famous dish used to be good once, even if it’s much maligned now. Black Forest gateau and chicken Kiev are two that immediately spring to mind. But good sausages and beefburgers are also often hard to find. But that doesn’t matter because making your own beefburger is so satisfying, easy and quick. You really should question as to why you’d bother buying suspect supermarket ones.
Seeing as a burger is actually a piece of 100% meat, it really is worth getting good lean meat and a good cut at that. Therefore there’s nothing wrong in maybe using rump, sirloin or even silverside and buy the best quality of beef you can justify. You could ask your butcher to mince it for you and, if you do, ask that it’s minced relatively coarsely. However, you could mince it at home or, as I prefer, just chop it with a knife.
I tend to add little to the burger. I salt after it’s cooked but you could add a little freshly-ground black pepper and we often add a little freshly-grated horseradish at the restaurant. But there’s nothing wrong in adding nothing at all; leaving the seasoning to the end and choosing your accompaniments with care.
And what will they be? We tend to use bacon, cheese, cos lettuce and onions rings at the restaurant. But a few slices of raw onions, a slice of tomato and some mayonnaise make good accompaniments. And then there’s the bun. Quality’s the key again and you could toast it or not. I prefer the former but it’s up to you.
So, for the burger, the list of ingredients isn’t very long. Use 150g to 180g of meat per burger. That’s about the size of a small to medium steak. If you want it minced, either get it minced for you or mince it yourself as coarse as possible. Alternatively, chop with a knife before binding into a ball in your hand and then moulding into a patty shape. I prefer it relatively thick, about an inch, to ensure it stays moist.
Whether you’re cooking on a barbecue or indoors in a thick-based frying pan, make sure the cooking surface is good and hot before starting. Brush each side of the burger with oil and then apply to the heat, pressing down every now and then, leaving it to cook for three or four minutes. Season with a little salt and pepper as necessary and then cook on the other side for a couple of minutes more. That, after a few minutes rest, should give you a juicy yet cooked burger. Over cooking will spoil it.
Whilst it’s resting in a warm place, toast the bun if wanted and assemble the accompaniments. So easy, quick and satisfying.
Previously published in the Northern Echo