Tuesday, 18 May 2010

A modest ambition - the perfect burger

All winter, I have been making my plans for the summer outdoor cooking season. I have a list of things that I want to achieve this year. I want to perfect my grilled pizzas. I want to do a Texas-style barbecued brisket. I want to cook some of my home made halloumi over charcoal. And I want to make the perfect burger.

The buns I made for my pulled brisket sandwiches were so good (thanks to Rosa) that I don't think I will look elsewhere.

Which conveniently leaves me free to focus on the burger patty itself. I read, I researched, and I came to the conclusion that the best burgers are nothing but seasoned beef - no fillers, no binders.

For my first attempt, I used some supermarket minced beef - Aberdeen Angus with 10% fat. I seasoned generously: 2/3tbs Maldon salt and 1tsp freshly ground black pepper for 500g meat. I believe that the only way to get your burger properly formed is to use your hands - I kneaded the seasoning in well, and then divided the meat into 4 patties and pressed them together firmly, then chilled them for about half an hour.

Sadly, the weather was uncooperative, so the burgers were cooked in a frying pan on the stove.

Because we were keen to see how good the flavour was, we didn't add a lot in the way of condiments - just some cheddar and a few rings of fried onion, and some kohlslaw (kohlrabi instead of cabbage) on the side.

For a first attempt, I was very happy with them! The 10% fat was about right, the burgers were moist but not fatty, and the seasoning was good. For my next attempt I will start to tweak the type of meat I use, probably grinding my own. I have read that Heston Blumenthal uses a combination of chuck, brisket and short ribs, so I can probably be guided by one of the best chefs in the world! And of course, barbecuing them over charcoal will add so much more flavour. The journey is going to be very enjoyable.

These fine looking sandwiches are going over to Deb's Kahakai Kitchen for Souper (soup, salad and sammie) Sunday! SouperSundays

15 comments:

Suelle said...

It sounds as though you've made a good start on your quest. Pity about the weather - you need a shelter for all weather outdoor cooking!

Joanne said...

I am so going to have to try these perfect buns that you made...and these patties. There is nothing better than a good burger on a warm summer day!

Barbara said...

This looks darn good as a start! I can't wait to see what your other burger experiments will turn up!

Foodycat said...

Suelle - looks like the weather is improving! Might get to barbecue them soon!

Joanne - they are AMAZING!

Barbara - thank you!

kat said...

Looks great. I leave the burger making to Matt, he always does such an amazing job!

Jude said...

Are you in the "life's too short to mince it yourself" group? In another place Earl Grey reckons that chuck steak minced twice on a coarse plate is the way to go.

I'm agreed that the meat needs no additions though. I too am looking forward to your experiments. can you get buffalo? Those Jody Scheckter ones that Waitrose do are a bit special.

Foodycat said...

Kat - I think Paul would like it if I left it to him. NO CHANCE!

Jude - Oh no, I (and when I say "I" I mean Paul) am quite happy to get the mincer out. A bison or venison burger is definitely on the agenda!

Mary said...

These sound wonderful and if the picture is any indicator the patties are delicious. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

Debinhawaii said...

An admirable quest for sure. These look pretty darn good to me and even though it is 11:15 PM here, I want a burger now! ;-)

Foodycat said...

Mary - thank you!

Deb - I have to say, I wouldn't mind one for lunch now!

Dharm said...

Yum! This looks great! I love a good burger. Regarding the half past six on my blog - its more a term that means lousy, half baked, not up to par and used not just for cooking but for anything as in "This book is half past six" or "that blog is half past six" or even "You're such a half past six person"! Not you of course!! LOL! Hugs!

Neil said...

Can't believe this is the second time I'm posting this....your blog just crashed on me...

Like you I like my burgers without too much fuss and like you I started out with the 10% fat but this year I started to use 20% fat and then it all made sense the burgers were as soft as butter.

I make burger quite a bit because they all love it at home. With mine I add onions first soften until they're sweet with thyme, add parsley and then combine everything (no egg) but lots of seasalt - burgers need lots of seasoning, don't they?

Little Tip: Heston suggests using a star anise when using onions with meat because onions & star anise react and when combined with meat they form new compounds creating a more meaty flavour 'umami' if you like. You remove the star anise once the onions are ready and proceed as normal.

It works since I've been using it with all my meat dishes on the family they go 'mmmm this taste good' but don't know what it is.

by the way, good work on the cheese...very impressed...;-)

Sook said...

The burgers look perfect to me! :)

Foodycat said...

Dharm - thanks! I understand now.

Azelia - thanks for the tip about the star anise! That's really interesting.

Sook - thank you!

Johanna said...

You are always looking for perfection! I will definitely try those buns, bread is so important for hamburgers.

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