How To Make The Perfect Burger

Esquire's resident chef Mark Hix with the last word on going homemade

Despite the crackdown on serving rare meat implemented last year in London’s Westminster, immediately followed by the horsemeat scandal, the burger craze shows no signs of slowing. With US hamburger joints like Five Guys and Shake Shack competing with homegrown diners like MEATliquor and Byron, the whole business is booming.

One reason: you can have a lot of fun with burgers and their fillings. Try spicing things up with toppings like sautéed onions, blue cheese or fried eggs. And be sure to load up on piquant relishes; my favourites are corn and spicy tomato.

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And if you’re wary of beef, there are two alternative burger recipes – containing zero beef – in December's copy of Esquire.
 

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Hamburgers (above)
Serves 4
These are pretty substantial burgers made with good quality meat — there’s nothing cheap about them. You can make the patties larger if you wish, or miniaturise them to serve as party snacks.

Ingredients:
1.4kg good-quality minced rib or chuck steak, with 20–30 per cent fat
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A little vegetable or corn oil for brushing

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Directions:
1. Mix the mince and seasoning, distributing the fat evenly, then mould into eight balls. Shape them either with a burger press or by pushing the meat into a pastry cutter. Put the burgers in the fridge to set before cooking.
2. For the sauce, whisk together the ketchup and mustard. Set aside.
3. Lightly toast the baps and keep them warm. Burgers are best cooked on a barbecue or griddle plate but a smoking-hot, cast-iron pan will do: this seals in the juices and will produce a rare or medium-rare burger in a couple of minutes. Don’t cook them under a grill as this tends to boil the meat making it dry and flavour-less.
4. Serve the burgers in the baps with slices of red onion, gherkin, beef tomato and the sauce.

Photography: Jason Lowe

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MORE FROM MARK HIX

Cooking Deer
Perfect Pies
Classic Fish Soup
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