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Hamburgers rule OK!

Dear Fellow Foodies, I hope all is well and that you’ve had a good weekend. The weather is certainly starting to bite, or that may be due to my stringency on not turning on the heating to at least the clocks go back. It is still, officially at least, British Summer Time after all. Does anyone else do this!?

It’s most certainly autumn now, though the garden is still lush and green, the Virginia Creeper is just about hanging on to its bright red, and with the clocks just about to go back, it means that half-term is already upon us! With that in mind, why not treat the kids (and yourselves!) to a sumptuous Burger Friday dinner! Our burgers, as many of you know, are popular with both children and adults alike! What does make our burgers so darn good!?? Surely it can’t be that difficult to make something that at the most basic level is just minced beef in between two slices of bread? The short answer is….., well, its not quite that simple! With so many different burgers out there, all claiming to be the perfect burger, what is the magic formula? I’ve listened to people discussing what, in their eyes, makes the perfect burger, and found myself disagreeing about the number of toppings needed and that you really need to put a slice of Stilton on the patty! (Sorry if you’re one of those people, but seriously, WTAF!)

Having had the most wonderful feedback from a lot of misty eyed eaters (thank you, it means so much!), it’s something that I have given a lot of, perhaps too much, thought. Over the course of the last year, I’ve tweaked what we do as our trademark double cheeseburgers have evolved.

So, here, if you don’t mind, are my “Hamburger Rules”:

The Meat - Good quality, well hung beef is what you want. A burger is truly the democratic way to enjoy beef in all its glory, and everything should be done to allow it to shine! Don’t scrimp on the quality of the animal, though that doesn’t mean that you need to go full Wagu. Something from a traditional butchers would be perfect. We use the Ginger Pig as we know that they have great standards, look after their animals and produce great tasting meat. Just don’t go and buy a pack of mince from Sainsburys, squish it into a ball and think y’all be grand.

The Cuts – We believe in good quality meat, and that rings true for the cuts too. But that doesn’t mean that you need to have the most expensive cuts. In fact most of the cuts we cook with are at the cheaper end of the scale, and I genuinely believe that the more expensive cuts are phenomenally over-rated. We use our own blend of chuck and flat iron (skirt) steak, mixing it ourselves. The chuck has the required fat content and beefiness that helps deliver the flavour of a truly great burger, and the flat-iron takes it up a level with a hint of irony-liverness.

The Patty – We roll our patties into 3oz balls, though when I’m feeling particularly greedy, I have done 4ozs! They are then kept chilled until ready to be smashed and cooked. This is something that has evolved and I’ve changed my thinking on slightly. When we first started they were coming out pretty thick; I quiet liked them coming out medium rare. Now they are coming out thinner, about ¼ inch, but you don’t want them so thin that they cook too quickly. We’ve thinned them out slightly so that there is more surface area cooking on the grill plate. (see “the cook”)

Seasoning & Binding– A decent covering of salt on both sides of the squished patty is all you need here. Remember you are seasoning for the unexposed meat too. People often ask what I use and are surprised to learn that nothing is added. That’s right, nothing. Nada. Zip! I’ve tried Paula Deans Butter Burgers – far too greasy & grassy. Whilst this isn’t health food, we don’t need to unnecessarily over do it! They also cooked most strangely taking on a weird yellow glisten. I’ve also added breadcrumb and guiness. These I actually quite liked, but the Guinness, made the patty too loose. Black Pepper will potentially burn and cause and acrid taste. Just salt, but probably more than you think! Let that beef shine!

The cook – we use a flat cast iron griddle and make sure that it is just about smoking hot! You want the patty to be hitting that pan and cooking straight away searing the crust locking in all the fats and juices. Also it will cook the beef to a temperature where you get a nice brown crust forming from the maillard effect, which is a chemical reaction between the amino acids and the sugar that gives browned food that delicious umami flavour that we all love. Don’t squeeze or press down on that patty! That, albeit satisfying, sizzling sound is flavour evaporating away! We cook ours for about 2-3 minutes each side. When it comes to flipping, you’ll know its down as the patty will come away from the grill plate nice and easy!

Cheese – Just plain simple American cheese here. Don’t try and be fancy-schmancy here. Not cheddar, not Stilton. No! Just no! American cheese is the perfect cheese for your patty. It is textually and structurally perfect for the job that it is designed to do, helping to glue everything together.

Salad – We just put pickles in ours, and a few slithers of thinly cut onion on the patty, to add a bit of crunch and to help cut the fats of the burgers. As for anything else, it’s not really necessary. Lettuce? Maybe, again, to add a bit of crunch, but you don’t really need anything else. Tomatoes? Nah, leave them in the side salad, acting as lubricant they’ll cause everything to slip and slide, and help the bun disintegrate whilst eating!

Sauce – How to describe our sauce? The best I can come up with is that it’s a grown up big-mac sauce. Mayo & American mustard based, with some finely chopped jalapeno’s, it’s the perfect accompaniment to the beef without overpowering it. If you’ve not got our burger sauce at hand, just a simple blob of ketchup (Heinz) and American mustard is ok here.

The Bun – The job of the bun is to hold and deliver the contents from the plate to one’s mouth over the course of eating it, being a canvas to allow the bright colours of the patty to shine! It shouldn’t be sweet, it shouldn’t be delicate so that it disintegrates under the heft of patty and sauce. It needs to be soft, pillowy and robust. If any knows where I can get a potato bun from, please do let me know!

There you have it! Our burger rules, so feel free to agree or disagree, and we’d love to hear what you think in the comments section. So have a go at home and see how you do! Or just order a batch of burgers for this Friday!

As always, please pre-order on the website so that we can get the right amount of stock in, and leave no-one disappointed! Thanks for your support and we look forward to cooking for you soon!

Happy eating y’all!!

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