To say I love burgers is an understatement. I’d happily eat burgers every week if CB, general common sense, a strong sense of culinary shame, and coronary health concerns didn’t stop me. I’m trying desperately not to embarrass myself here – I seriously can’t get enough of them. What’s the provenance of this? I’m not 100% sure – I think it’s something to do with growing up in the kind of home that’s always favoured fresh, healthy food with a firm emphasis on no junk food. That’s exactly the kind of person I am – tell me something’s no good for me and I’ll develop a debilitating fondness for it in every form it comes in.
There’s no denying the rise and fall of The Burger can be well tracked across a number of different increasingly stupidly named burger joints (I won’t name any here until I see some sponsorship coins thank you) where the menu will offer similar variations on a theme. Generally speaking it’ll start at a plain burger (if you’re the kind of person who orders this, come see me afterwards please) before moving on to cheese, bacon cheese, chilli cheese and so on before it reaches the dregs section – skinny “no bun” burgers, chicken burgers and vegetarian burgers. I’m not here to police your choices but I am here to tell you I know what the f**k I’m doing here – if you went out for a burger, don’t order from that part of the menu.
Briefly, the composition of a good burger, if you were wondering: thick, VERY well seasoned patty, slightly wider than the bun when raw because it’ll shrink (c’mon); good quality, well melted cheese (personally would never go for a mature cheddar as it’ll overpower everything – a Swiss, mild cheddar or American cheese will do); crisped (but not crispy – you understand) bacon, thick cut with fat removed; red onion rings, pan fried lovingly in the beef and/or bacon fat; thick slice(s) of fresh tomato; a good squeeze each of mayo and American mustard and then slices of your favourite pickles. I personally don’t dick around with lettuce but that’s personal preference friends. Brioche burger bun (fried in the remnants of whatever is in your pan if your cardiologist will allow it) is the expert choice. The point is, pick your toppings, don’t make them too ridiculous (patty + pulled pork + extras or patty + chilli + extras is asking for trouble, a mess and indigestion. Save it for another time) and come to terms with your own burger truth.
I’ve spoken at length here and much of it has been fairly militant. I hope this serves to show you how seriously I take this topic and gives you confidence where the truly poor quality of these pictures may not. Luckily burgers occupy that great paradoxical space in life – the uglier they look, the more I want them in my mouth. Blimey. Grab a beer and happy chomping!
Mandi's Homemade Burgers
- 500g lean mince beef (as lean as possible)
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp all purpose seasoning
- good grinding black pepper
- sprinkling of salt
- 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 red onion, cut into half-moon slices
- 4 burger buns (we like brioche burger buns)
- American mustard
- slice cheese per burger (we use cheddar)
- 2 salad tomatoes, sliced
- Combine mince beef, garlic powder, purpose seasoning, black pepper and salt in a bowl and form into 4 patties.
- Heat up the oil in a frying pan and fry the burgers on a medium high heat for 5 minutes on the first side, then add the sliced red onion into the pan and flip the burgers for 3 minutes on the second side. Remove the burgers and put to one side, but leave the onions in the pan on a medium heat while you assemble the burgers.
- Cut your burger buns in half. If you’re feeling decadent then fire the bun halves into the frying pan, cut-side down, and fry with the onion for 1 minute (you’ll probably only have space to do 2 buns at a time). On the top side of the bun add a dollop of mayonnaise and a dollop of mustard, around half tsp of each. On the bottom half of the bun add the burger, then cheese, then sliced tomato, then fried onion, followed by the top half of the bun.
Serve with your choice of salad, fries, sweet potato wedges, or corn on the cob.