A burger is never a healthy option but rather an indulgent treat so don’t make the mistake of trying to make some kind of healthy burger with lean mince. That will only result in dry, tasteless burgers that simply won’t satisfy you. If you want a healthy meal, eat a salad. But, if you want a REALLY SATISFYING burger, then really good quality beef is the key, preferably using a cut or blend of cuts from the forequarter. Chuck is ideal because of its natural marbling with around 20% internal fat content – which is perfect for a tasty and juicy burger. If you can get aged chuck (28 days will do nicely) and mince it fresh on the day you make the burger, that’s even better.
The next thing you need is a plan, a concept for the burger you’re going to build. The softest bread or buns you can find will work well – the last thing you want is a chewy, crusty roll! How you approach the rest of the burger is entirely down to personal taste but remember you need to balance flavours and textures just as you would preparing any other dish. I’m talking about a balance between meaty and tangy, sweet and sour, and soft and crisp.
Personally, I like to add a slice of processed cheese (it melts perfectly), slices of sweet pickled cucumber, tomato ketchup and American mustard and also shredded iceberg lettuce and thin cut slices of red onion for a bit of crunch and freshness. Of course the world is your oyster and you could use a tangy earthy cheddar, add streaky smoked bacon and step up the flavour profile of your burger sauce by mixing mayo or ketchup with a chipotle paste or a hot chilli sauce.
Damn, I’m now VERY hungry!
Vegetarians can try griddling or barbecuing 1.5 cm thick slices of halloumi (soak them in water for an hour if you want to reduce its saltiness a little) and large flat mushrooms. Ketchup or sweet chilli sauce and some spinach leaves or rocket as salad will be super tasty with the halloumi and mushroom sandwiched in a soft burger bun. Yum!
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