Admit it! You’re still on holiday – well almost. The kids still are, and there’s not that much to do at work. Better still the festive rush has rushed by, and many feel this is the time of year they actually get to relax a bit. And now that the Christmas catering is over for another 12 months, now’s the time to catch your breath and actually smell the charcoal while you’re having that braai. And what better thing to braai, when you’re half on holiday, than an easy peasy burger!
Make a (burger) impression!
Jamie’s Cracking Burger
Photo via www.jamieoliver.com
Wrap the crackers in a tea towel, smash til fine, tip into a large bowl.
Add chopped parsley, mustard and minced beef.
Crack the egg into the bowl, add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.
Mix well, and shape into patties.
Middle Eastern burger
Combine all ingredients and shape into patties. Serve with a cucumber & yogurt sauce.
Guess what? We know where to find Joburg’s best takeaway burger! All you have to do is find a Steers near you. When it comes to indulging a super juicy burger (when you’re not whipping one up at home, that is), there’s no better spot to head to than the home of Wacky Wednesday. If that’s not enough to get you excited (though we can’t understand why), then just picture their flame-grilled patties and more-ish chips, and you’ll definitely be singing the same tune as us. We know where we’re going for our next burger night! Details: steers.co.za
Three burger patties that aren’t meat (in 60 seconds)
Every minute spent reading is another minute you could be enjoying a mouthful of delicious guilt and meat free goodness with these super speedy recipes:
The best burger flavour pairings
If you love burgers as much as we do, you could probably eat them every day of the week without getting bored, especially with all of these weird but wonderful burger topping pairings to experiment with…
A few almond flakes and apple slices are a great way to sweeten the deal no matter what meaty goodness you’re biting down on. Use melted chocolate and sage to whip up a burger so delectable you won’t even need desert. Get saucy with a dollop of Greek yogurt (it’s best with red meats) and a few slices of cucumber for added freshness. Load up on Beta Carotene and add some lemon and honey fried carrot slices to your burger. Take a tropical approach with fried banana and coconut shavings. Get adventurous with cinnamon and peanut butter which goes great with ostrich meat, or flaunt your fancy food style with a strawberry and brie on chicken creation! How daring are you willing to get in the kitchen?
Image courtesy of www.personalcreations.com
Speaking of having the best of both … well, all worlds, if there’s one spot where you can find restaurants with every kind of burger and every kind of topping, it’s Montecasino (food lovers, proceed with caution!). From KFC’s crunchy Colonel Burger to Senhor Calisto’s’ spicy Jalapeño + Cheese Burger, your stomach will be buzzing with satisfaction … trust us. Don’t know about you but our mouths are watering already! Details: www.tsogosun.com/montecasino
Hey, hot stuff!
Here’s a fiery homemade jalapeño hot sauce recipe to set your soul alight. All you have to do is combine 1 t vegetable oil, 20 fresh sliced jalapeño peppers, 3 cloves minced garlic, and ½ cup minced onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 4 minutes and then add two cups of water and cook for 20 minutes while stirring. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Purée in food processor until smooth while adding 1 cup distilled white vinegar. Then Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator.
Sauce in seconds
Blue cheese mayo
Crumble 50g blue cheese in a bowl, then fold in 3 T mayonnaise.
Crumble 100g feta cheese in a bowl then mix in 2 T chipotle paste. Mash with a fork until well combined.
Tarragon special sauce
Combine 1/2 small bunch fresh tarragon, chopped, 1 T white wine vinegar, 1 small finely chopped shallot and 75g mayonnaise.
Combine 2 T Dijon mustard with 4 T crème fraiche. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let’s be honest, the sauce on a burger is everything! (We knew you’d agree.) That’s why Turn ‘n Tender takes the cake (or in this case, the patty) when it comes to flavourful, saucy, satisfying burgers. Whether it’s their classic, cheese, mushroom, blue cheese or smoked mozzarella ‘n biltong burger (talk about variety), you’ll find yourself licking your fingers when you’re done … and don’t worry, in this case, we won’t judge you. Details: turnntender.co.za
While we’re on the subject of variety, have you seen Mugg & Bean’s menu lately? It’s a foodie’s dream! There’s every kind of delicious dish on it, and, better still, a whole host of gourmet burgers to try. It’s a tough call but our fave has to be the sesame-crusted buttermilk chicken burger … it’s utterly divine. And if you’re feeling adventurous, they have a big daddy burger, a sunrise burger and a mushroom & bacon bare burger too. Mugg & Bean, here we come! Details: www.muggandbean.co.za
Making Better Burgers
Grind Your Own Beef
Buying store-bought ground beef is a second best. You’re never quite sure when it was ground, what part of the cow it came from, or even how many different cows are in the package. Not to freshness issues, rough handling, and tight shrink-wrap packaging that can lead to leaden patties. Grind your own beef, and not only do you control everything from the meat blend, to the grind size, to the fat content, but even better, you get to tell people that you grind your own beef. Instant street cred.
Keep Everything Really Cold
Until your burgers are fully formed, heat is their mortal enemy. Warm fat is soft and pliable, and tends to stick to your hands and work surfaces. And if that fat’s on your hands, then it ain’t in the burger.
This is what a well-seasoned patty looks like.
No matter how carefully you select your meat blend, without salt and pepper, your burgers will be dull. Freshly ground black pepper from whole peppercorns is a must.
Do Not Salt Beef until Patties Are Formed
An unsalted vs.salted patty
Salt starts affecting meat the moment it comes in contact with it. It dissolves muscle proteins, which subsequently cross-link and draw out moisture turning your burgers from moist and tender to sausage-like and springy and adversely affecting the exterior texture of your patties. The effect is dramatic. Need proof – see above.
The best time to season your burgers is within minutes of the time they gonna hit the grill or griddle.
Flip Your Burger as Often as You’d Like
An oft-flipped burger cooks more evenly. Flipping your burger repeatedly (as often as once every 15 seconds) encourages faster, more even internal cooking, shaving off as much as 1/3 of your grill time.
Don’t Futz With Your Meat
Working the meat unduly will cause proteins to cross-link with each other. Despite outward appearances, ground meat is not dead. From the moment you lay your hands on it, it is changing dynamically, reacting to every knead, every sprinkle of salt, and every change in temperature. Working the meat unduly will cause proteins to cross-link with each other like tiny strips of velcro, making your finished burgers denser and tighter with fewer nooks and crannies for cheese and sauce catching.
Be a purist
Adding ingredients like onions, herbs, eggs, breadcrumbs, anything to your ground meat not only forces you to over-handle the mix, but it instantly relegates your burgers into the “meatloaf sandwich” category. If you absolutely must add stuff to your burgers—and with a good, well-selected meat blend, there’s really no need to—mix it with the cubes of beef prior to grinding (but don’t add the salt yet!), so that it can be evenly distributed without the need to overwork the beef afterward.
Images courtesy www.serioseats.com/the burger lab