By Ian Leatt
How do you like yours? Loaded with all the trimmings: lettuce, tomato, cucumber, mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, onions, pickles, cheese, and bacon?
Marinated in beer with all sorts of other goodies?
Stuffed with cheese, waiting for that gooey ooze of hot, mouth-watering cheese to explode in your mouth?
Smoked then barbecued? Roasted then finished on the barbecue?
There are so many ways of preparing a hamburger, and in my opinion, every one is simply stunning. Let us know your favourite. Who knows, we may even have to try it and invite you over!
Here is one burger we like to make at our office after we’ve stopped devouring Le Burger Week creations, and still want more.
1 kilo ground beef
2 cups bread crumbs (freshly made)
1½ large onions
Salt and pepper to taste
Creating the perfect beef burger is like making a miracle happen, and its appearance should be something pretty special too. (We’ll get to that later.)
To begin, prepare the beef. Make sure your bowl is large enough, and place the ground beef inside. Add the onion, finely diced, then the two cups of fresh bread crumbs. (I make my own bread crumbs, always adding chopped parsley, white and black pepper, cayenne pepper, paprika, oregano and other herbs.)
Finally, add the two large eggs, beaten.
Mix the ingredients together and then mould into round patties. Size is up to you. Place in the refrigerator for at least four hours before use.
Cooking time is important. Slow-cooked burgers are a treat, and of course, if you’re doing things the manly way, you’re cooking them on the barbecue. (Why is it that so many men like to barbecue but won’t cook in the kitchen?)
Heat the barbecue to the required temperature, usually around 300 degrees. While you are waiting for the barbecue to heat, take the burgers out of the refrigerator and cover one side with a sauce of your choice. Then place the burger on the barbecue sauce side down, and spread more sauce on top.
Some people say you should only turn burgers once, keeping the juice in, but temperature is the real key. Turn the burgers when the blood starts to show and keep doing this until the burgers are blood-free.
What you put in the bun with the burger is up to you.
Here’s my formula:
Slice the bun open and on one side spread mustard (usually Dijon), then on the other side spread the mayonnaise. Place an onion slice on the bottom part of the bun, then add sliced tomato, cucumber and lettuce.
Then, simply place the burger on top, add a pinch of salt and pepper for taste, and enjoy.
I mustn’t forget to add that the burger doesn’t have to be just beef. There’s nothing wrong with pork, chicken, lamb, fish… Any burger is a great burger.
Ian Leatt is general manager of Pegasus Publications Inc.