It was time for me to roll up my sleeves and see if I still had it in me. Why put everybody else to the test, when I can do these things myself?
Ladies and gentlemen, get ready for MY OWN homemade burgers!
Here’s the secret recipe:
- Take the leanest steak mince you can find, say from Sainsbury’s. Have 500g (one pound) or a tad more.
- I recommend steak mince over ordinairy beef mince, especially over “half pork, half beef”, and that’s not because I’m scared of Swine Flue. Anything other than steak mince. The reason is that other minces will leak, and on the grill, smoke up the joint.
- Make sure you actually USE THE MINCE before it turns into some gray gunk stinking up your fridge
- Get some cos or iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, onions if you like
- Make sure you USE THIS TOO before it turns into green slime – I’ve seen it all
- Get some large soft fresh baps, preferrably with sesame on the top. Kingsmill do good ones, or instore bakeries at supermarkets. Stay away from the sort that’s been on your Off License’s shelf for the last decade, with a best before date next year. You’ve been warned!
- Treat yourself to a packet of Knorr or Maggi “Fertige Gewürtzmischung für Gehacktes” – although you have to import that from Germany. My Mum was kind enough to send a few packets over; alternatively, use Coleman’s or Schwartz – mix it with the mince as per instructions on the pack
Alternatively, you can make your own mixture, like in the good old days. Therefore, have the following ingredients ready:
- one egg
- a handful of breadcrumbs
- salt, pepper, chilli, paprika, curry – that sort of thing
- if you’re a herb lover, go for oregano, thyme, majoram
- mix everything together with the mince, using a fork or your bare hands
Now it’s time to shape the burgers. You do this best with warm hands. Take a good scoop and first make it into a ball, then flattening it evenly. Make sure no bits fall off, can easily happen if you’re using onions in your mixture.
You want to check that the burger is about the size of your buns. If you decide to go ahead with anything other than steak mince, you will have to account for shrinkage too. Pork, lamb or “half and half” cheap-o-sucker stuff can shrink by up to 50% – seriously!
For best results, grill your burgers for 15-20 minutes, turning them every 5-6 minutes. Use common sense here and don’t turn them over if they’re completely rare of course. On electric grills, do this at 180-200 C or gas mark 5 (god only knows what that is in Fahrenheit).
If you want them raw (which you shouldn’t have), use a higher temperature to brown the outsides, and cook them shorter. You’re taking the risk of serious unwellness.
If you cook your burgers too long (either because you’re paranoid, or just forgetful), you’re running the risk of a dry burger. That’s not nice, because you have to drown it in ketchup and mayo. You want them juice, but well done.
OK, time to eat:
use your imagination to decorate your plate, slap on all the condiments you can find in the fridge, grab a beer and enjoy! Serve them with chips, or open a packet of Kettle Chips like I do (stay away from Pringles if you can).
Share your delight below, or even send a picture to firstname.lastname@example.org!