Putting the ham back into burgers

Sometimes you need to make your own junk food. We crave a pizza, something fried or a good old-fashioned burger!

So, why not? Nothing tastes as good as a well made burger patty that has been put into the middle of a well composed burger made up of the right combination and amounts of ingredients for your taste buds … which is why we have a Make your own burger night.

So, below are the components for the burger buffet.

The ingredients are prepared and set out on the table to allow everyone to build and eat their own perfect burger.

BURGER PATTIES

The patties are based on Heston Blumenthal’s methodolgy more than his recipe and has been modified to our own tastes – with a combination of young juicy veal and pork mixed in with aged rib meat that has been mixed and ground together.

Prepare the patties a few days ahead!

  • 625g veal chuck
  • 25g salt
  • 625g pork loin
  • 1.2kg aged short-rib meat

Directions:

    • Cut the chuck into 3 x 3cm cubes and toss with the salt in a bowl. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge for six hours. The salt will penetrate the meat during this time and begin to draw out some of the moisture.
    • In the meantime, cut the short-rib meat and loin into cubes and using a meat grinder with a 3mm plate, grind the cubes twice.
    • Refrigerate this meat until very cold.
    • Combine the cold ground meat with the salted cold diced chuck and mix well.
    • Before you begin the final grinding, place two layers of cling film across a chopping board  and position it under the mouth of the grinder.
    • Using a 8mm plate, pass the meat mixture through the grinder.
    • As the meat comes out of the grinder, have a second person use their hands to lay out the strands of meat on the cling film keeping the grain of the individual strands running lengthwise in the same direction. Try to not get them tangled.
    • Wrap the meat up tightly in the clingfilm, twisting the ends in opposite directions to form a sausage shape and continue to twist the ends until it is about 12cm in diameter.
    • Wrap the log in another layer of cling film to keep it from coming apart, and refrigerate overnight
    • On the day, place the log on a cutting board and using a very sharp knife, cut 2 to 3cm slices and remove the remaining cling wrap
    • Place the cut patties onto a baking sheet and return to refrigerate for later.
    • (If you have more patties than you need, they can be individually wrapped in baking paper and frozen for when needed)
    • To finish the patties, take each one between the palms of your hands and gently press into a burger shape the same diameter as the bun (taking care to keep the grain of the meat running in the same direction)
    • place a large cast-iron pan over a high heat until very hot (~7 minutes)
    • Place a dob of dripping or drizzle a layer of the oil into the pan and then add the patties (don’t overcrowd)
    • Flip the patties every 30 seconds.
    • A crust will form on both sides, usually within two to three minutes. If you like them rare, now is the time to remove them. Cook for an additional minute for medium and two for well done.
    • Remove the burgers from the pan one at a time and transfer the burgers to a warm place to rest.

TOMATO CONCENTRATE

The taste will be very intense but this makes a great enhancement to the burger’s flavour!

  • 1kg tomatoes, very ripe
  • salt, as needed

Directions:

    • Cut the tomatoes in half
    • Scoop the pulp and seeds into a bowl.
    • Press the pulp through a very coarse sieve to remove any seeds large pieces of flesh and core.
    • Cure the remaining halves by salting them and then place in an oven at 150*C for an hour
    • Pour the liquid into a pan and reduce at a simmer until the liquid takes on a thick, ketchup-like consistency.
    • Stir often as the concentrate thickens, and lower the heat to avoid burning it.
    • Chop up the oven roasted halves and mix into the concentrate.
    • Place in a serving bowl

MUSHROOMS

Mushrooms that are full of flavour, retain their shape and remain firm are easy to make and add an earthy punch to the burger

  • Field Mushrooms
  • Butter

Directions:

    • Peel and cut the mushrooms into 1/2cm slices
    • Heat up a non-stick pan on a medium-high heat
    • Place the mushrooms onto the pan and toss around then seal with a lid to allow to sweat for ~4 minutes
    • Remove the lid and add a small knob of butter, mix the mushrooms around to coat with as much of the combined butter and sweated moisture in the pan then re-seal with the lid for another minute
    • Remove the lid and fry off any remaining liquid.
    • Remove from the pan and place onto a plate

FILLING & ASSEMBLY

Everyone has their own preferences for buns and for the fillings so, in our house, we tend to aslo prepare a range of ingredients:

  • Damper and seeded buns (generally lightly toasted)
  • Grated Carrot
  • Lettuce leaves (generally cos, iceberg and/or butter)
  • Fried Egg
  • Fried Crispy bacon
  • Semi-fried Capsicum
  • Sliced Cucmber
  • Cheese Slices
  • Fried Onions

The actual list of ingredients here isn’t impoortant – as the goal is to have a mix of fillers that suit your table and audience.

Assembly Directions:

    • Throw it together in the order and quanties that your taste buds desire!
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