I thought I’d nailed the perfect burger until I read this post from the great Dan Toombes aka the Curry Guy. He’s been on a burger tour of his native United States and – fortunately for us – he has come back with a smorgasbord of brilliant burger recipes.
I’ve adapted this recipe from his Louis’ Lunch Cheese Works Burger, combining it with the Smashed Burger technique. It is magnificent.
The secret to Dan’s burger is toast! Yep, toast. White bread toast. It’s a fantastic change from the often-heavy, over-floury burger bun experience: the wrapping around the good stuff is thin and crisp, yet very easy to hold. A Cheese Burger Toastie, if you will.
The Smashed Burger technique comes from the good folks at Serious Eats, where you can read a more in-depth article here, but in a nutshell, instead of keeping your minced beef patty loose and wet, you expose as much meat as possible to a very hot surface so that you get more of the Maillard reaction (that famous umami-filled crusting that we all love).
Use whatever seasonings and topping you like, but these, below, are my personal favourite.
Makes 4 burgers
For the Burger
500g minced beef, containing 20% fat (this keeps them very juicy and flavourful)
1 tsp onion powder or granules
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp celery salt
For the Toastie
8 slices of white, sliced bread
For the Toppings
4 burger cheese slices
8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
4 tbsp burger pickle or relish (I used M&S Posh Dog relish, which is a combo of chopped gherkins, vinegar and mustard)
For the Burger Sauce
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1. Mix the burger ingredients – the meat, salts and onion powder – together in a non-metallic bowl. Keep the mixture quite loose. You don’t want your final burgers to be too dense.
2. Separate the mixture into four portions and with your hands, form each portion into a rough ball. Transfer to a clean chopping board or work surface, then using the palm of your hand, flatten out to a rough disc, approx. 10cm in diameter.
2. Heat a cast iron frying pan on the highest possible heat and leave it for as long as 30 minutes until it is white hot.
3. When you’re ready to cook, drizzle sunflower or vegetable oil over the burgers and then use a spatula to transfer them to the hot pan.
4. Now press down on each patty with the spatula. Your aim is to expose as much of the meat as possible to the hot surface. Cook for two minutes then flip over and cook for a further two minutes.
5. At the end of the cooking time, lay a cheese slice on top of each burger.
6. While the cheese is melting, toast the bread in a toaster or under a hot, pre-heated grill.
7. In a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the burger sauce. Remove the toast from the toaster/grill and dollop some of the sauce on one slice of toast.
8. Dollop a tablespoon of relish onto another slice.
9. Remove the burgers from the pan and lay on top of the relished slice of toast.
10. Add slices of tomato.
11. Add the sauced slice of toast to finish your masterpiece.