Has there ever been a better time for burger fans in the UK? A week doesn’t go by without a new gourmet/artisan/hand-crafted burger joint springing up on a high street near you, leaving the customer with plenty of choice and a severely depleted bank balance (seriously, who knew a bit of mince could be so pricey?). This week sees the arrival of National Burger Day, but instead of singing the praises of the overpriced restaurant patty, I’m going to talk about how it’s possible to create something at home that might taste better…
You’ve got two choices when it comes to the meat element – go with a homemade patty or buy a decent quality one from your supermarket or local butcher. I’ve done both in the past and both options have their merits. Buying a readymade burger patty is obviously far more convenient and perhaps essential if you’re pushed for time but just take not of that keyword – quality. Go with a fresh option instead of frozen and a good quarter pounder rather than a teeny-tiny slice of nothing that won’t even satisfy a fussy three year old. When it comes to the bigger picture, I think it’s the toppings that maketh the burger – you could be using the best quality meat in the world, but you might as well be eating a steak if you’re not going to dress it with anything.
But making your own homemade patty is far from complicated either. You can choose to mix your finely chopped raw onion with the mince and season, or fry off the onion first (my preference). I usually add some mustard as well as some salt and pepper before combining everything with my hands too. Some people like to use a beaten egg as a binder but I don’t bother – I’m not too sure I like the taste of egg mixed in with my mince and I’d much rather have runny fried egg as a topping (more about that in a bit). The easiest way to cook these (and readymade patties) is on a griddle pan, but if you don’t have one then frying is the next best thing. I wouldn’t recommend cooking homemade patties under a grill as I suspect they’d have a tendency to fall apart.
So now you’ve got your beef, what do you put it in and what do you put on it? To answer the first question, I’d go for as good a quality bap and as large a bap as you can find. The larger the better if you’re planning on cramming it full of delicious fillings and condiments. And of course, what you choose to put in that bun is completely up to you. I’m married to an Australian, so in our house, burgers always come with fried egg, cheese and sliced beetroot as is standard over there, as well as red onion, sliced tomato and lettuce. But if you want to create that traditional quarter pounder taste, go with sliced gherkins, onion, mustard and ketchup.
Condiments have a special place in my heart. I don’t understand people who don’t like condiments. My Special Condiment Cupboard is packed full of ketchups, hot pepper sauces and barbeque sauces. Every condiment has its place on a particular food (cold pizza can only be enjoyed with salad cream for example), and so it goes that every different type of burger requires a different condiment – basic salad? That’s ketchup and mayonnaise. Just cheese and red onion? Smoky barbeque sauce thank you very much. Obviously I don’t expect you to agree with me on any of this, but my point is that your choice of burger condiment is of UTMOST IMPORTANCE. So choose wisely.
Please don’t queue in the rain to get your taste of the new burger pop up – the chances are you can do just as well if not better at home. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a future condiment-themed blog post to prepare…[indeed-social-media sm_list='fb,tw,goo,rd,pt' sm_template='ism_template_3' sm_list_align='horizontal' sm_display_counts='true' sm_display_full_name='true' ]