Posts Tagged ‘best burger’

Starting Out – The Basics For A Simple Homemade Burger

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Some time ago, I started a quest for a great burger, then stopped that search as things at Steenbergs gave me less time than I had needed.  But I think I am ready to start that hunt again.

In the meantime, I have not been completely idle..well, a little perhaps…and have tweaked my core simple burger recipe, reducing the seasoning to let the flavour of the meat come through more.  However, it is completely a matter of taste as to how much seasoning you want to complement the beef flavours, plus an element of how good the meat itself is, where the better the flavours in the meat, the less seasoning you should be adding.

So here is my amended Simple Burger recipe:

450g / 1lb ground chuck, rib eye, rump, silverside or topside beef
1tbsp grated or minced onion (optional especially for top notch 21+ days’ beef, but ideal for shop bought mince), lightly fried then cooled
½tsp sea salt
¼tsp cracked black pepper

If doing the onion, fry gently in ½tbsp of sunflower oil until clear, then cool until chilled in the fridge. 

Next, clean your hands.  Then, in a clean stainless steel bowl, mix together all the ingredients using your hands, making sure all the ingredients are spread evenly through the mix.  Leave in the fridge for at least an hour and ideally overnight (or 6 hours).  Form the burger mix into patties that are 2cm (¾ inch) thick with your hands or in a burger press.

Season With Mince With Salt & Pepper

Season With Mince With Salt & Pepper

Shape The Burgers In A Pattie Press Or By Hand

Shape The Burgers In A Pattie Press Or By Hand

Homemade Burger Patties

Burger Patties Made At Home

Lightly brush with sunflower oil on each side, then either grill them over a barbecue or in a good cast-iron frying pan over a medium-high heat to the desired degree of doneness – around 4 – 5 minutes per side for medium rare; 5 – 6 minutes for medium.  However, the degree of doneness is not an exact science and depends a lot on the actual temperatures used and the meat, so be flexible rather than rigid in these guides.

Burger Press From Weschenfelder

Burger Press From Weschenfelder

To shape the burgers, I just use my hands.  However, Lakeland have a burger press that would do the job if you do not like the feel of meat, or you could try Twenga where there seem to be loads of alternatives over a wide price bracket.  Better still there is a range of burger presses from £7 – £300 at one of my favourite web secrets, Weschenfelder.

If you find that your burgers are falling apart, you may find that the meat you are using is not moist enough.  Alternatively, you could add some breadcrumbs, which will help to bind the meat together more.  In my homemade burger recipe via the main Steenbergs website, I use these in a more involved burger recipe.  The other possibility is that the burger is being turned too much or you are pressing it down, so releasing the juices that would bind the meat together, as below.

If you wish to barbecue them, a charcoal fire is much better rather than a gas grill, but obviously comes with more of a hassle factor.  Here are some basic burger cooking rules:

  1. Turn the burger only once – flipping might make the burger fall apart, while turning it back and forth will dry it out without letting the burger cook through.
  2. Don’t squash down the burger while it is cooking.  It does not speed up the cooking time much and squeezes out the juices, so ensuring your burger will become dry and solid rather than succulent & delicious.
  3. Finally, make sure your frying pan or grill is hot before you start cooking, but you don’t want a mega hot flame that chars the burgers to a crisp, cinder, better to be white hot charcoals than big flickering flames.  Impatience will not help the best flavours to develop.

But the key to any burger recipe is the meat.

Simple Burger Recipe – Part 1

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Saturday, a cold Saturday a few weekends ago that felt like winter but was meant to be almost midsummer.  It felt like a good day to start trying to find the Steenberg family’s favourite burger recipe.  We tried three recipes which we taste tested simultaneously and our favourite of these is one that’s been flavoured with red onion, salt and pepper.  I will give you the recipe below, as well as the other ones that we decided weren’t as good.  It’s a start, but I don’t feel that we have got much further than a first step on this quest – we like a burger flavoured with onion and some salt and pepper which is not much different from our standard family recipe for a homemade burger.

Our first cut of a burger recipe:

225g  Beef mince
½ Small red onion, finely chopped
½ tsp Finely ground sea salt
¼ tsp Coarsely ground black pepper

Caramelising Red Onions

Caramelising Red Onions

Take a frying pan, then put in a decent piece of butter and heat this up.  Add the chopped up red onion and gently fry for 10 – 15 minutes to lightly caramelise.  Remove caramelised red onion with fork or slotted spoon and leave to cool.  Add the sea salt and Steenbergs cracked black pepper until well mixed up, and cool down in fridge.

Burger Mix Rolled Into Ball

Burger Mix Rolled Into Ball

Put the beef mince into a mixing bowl and then add the red onion and seasonings.  With washed hands, mix the mince up thoroughly until all the flavours are well interspersed.  Roll up into ball, then cover bowl in clingfilm and put back into the fridge for about 1 hour. 

Remove from the fridge, then divide the burger mix into three and shape each half into round flat burgers; I actually found a 8cm / 3 inch metal pastry circle that we had and put the meat into that to 2cm / 1 inch depth.  These were then covered with clingfilm and left in fridge again for 1 hour.

Red Onion Burgers

Red Onion Burgers Ready To Fry

Leaving the burger mix in the fridge allows the flavours to infuse and spread through the beef mince.  You can skip or reduce the time that I took in this section by going straight to the shaped burgers and putting these into the fridge.  I would ask that you give the mix at least 30 minutes to let the flavours develop.

In a good, heavy frying pan, heat some sunflower oil until piping hot, then reduce the heat a bit.  Put in the burgers and fry until lightly browned on each side, or your perfect level of doneness.  For me, this takes about 3 – 4 minutes for each side.  Even though it’s a health worker’s nightmare, I am trying to leave the centre warmed but still red in the middle!  Leave to settle for about 2 minutes before serving.

We ate these plain as we were trialling the flavours, but serve with your favourite sauces and bread rolls.

Where to next, I think I will vary the level of red onion down a bit and see whether that’s better; perhaps to more like 1 tablespoon of caramelised red onion to 225g meat.  After that, I will look at the seasonings in more detail as to whether I can add some flair to them over and above these basic flavours.

For information, the other burger recipes that we tried were the following mixes:

Very basic burger: 337g beef mince, ½ tsp Steenbergs cracked black pepper, ½ tsp finely ground sea salt (too boring in our opinion, but the kids preferred these plainer flavourings)

Alternative onion version: 175g beef mince, ¼ medium white onion,½ tsp finely ground sea salt, ¼ tsp Steenbergs coarsely ground black pepper (tasted a bit sweeter, and perhaps the spice/salt level was better than the red onion burger)

Quest For The Best Burger In The North

Friday, June 18th, 2010

I have decided, like many before me, to go on a quest; a quest for the perfect burger

I want to do this in part to find something close to perfection, but also it will give me an opportunity to find some of the best local producers of breads and beef and other ingredients.  But here’s the downside, I have to put limits on my search, otherwise I will need to travel the world – I will let others do that for me and I would welcome your input for other great producers or recipes.  My rules for producers are that they must be located north of the Humber and south of the Tweed and on the east coast of England; those rules will seem arbitrary to most, but for me they are logical – I am a born and bred Northumbrian who lives in North Yorkshire.

So how to start this quest.  Well, I can only think about doing it very systematically, almost like a science project.  I am firstly going to do two things in parallel – I am going to test a number of recipes to find the best (in my family’s opinion) burger recipe, while simultaneously looking for the best local burger bun and/or recipe.  I have decided to do these together as I expect my wife and kids to get sick of very similar tasting burger recipes, so I will need to mix up what I am doing to keep this quest moving forwards rather than getting stuck in the culinary doldrums.  I will then run on into cuts of meat, proportions of fat and best local sources of beef etc etc.

As for recipes, I am going to stick only to beef, but we will be hunting for two recipes – one the best simple burger recipe, and the other, the best more complex recipe.  The former will be able to showcase the best beef when we get there, letting the meat do the talking, while the second can be a bit more showy.  I completely expect to change the rules as I go along, so don’t expect me to be overly strict.