Meet The Burger Don, Mulunda Kombo

written by Katy Fentress 27th July 2018

We are so thrilled to have enrolled the Nairobi king of all things meat Mulunda Kombo into our mission to create some delicious burgers this month. And as we had him pinned down fanning the coals of our sizable jiko, we decided to pick his brains on burgers and what it takes to make them.

The first hamburger you ever made?

So bad. I used lean mince and made it massive. Then I didn’t let it sit so it was just a giant clump of meat that was chargrilled in the outside and raw on the inside.

Why does a hamburger need to sit?

Before cooking: it has to get rid of any chill that it had after taking it out of the fridge.

After cooking: when you cook it, all the moisture wants to come out so when you make it sit it reabsorbs all the juices that were expelled.

What is a hamburger?

To me, it used to be the sloppiest wettest thing possible. Today, instead, I would describe it as a marriage of flavours, as brioche buns that don’t fall apart, good meat, good buns. Oh and I’m tired of using standard iceberg salad, I like the pepperiness of rocket and other more interesting leaves.

Conventionally, a burger is a processed meat patty in a bun. But conventional doesn’t do it anymore. Though when you have people asking for a “skinny burger”, which is a burger without a bun, you know it’s just getting ridiculous.

What’s the difference between a meatball and a hamburger?

Absolutely nothing! All about the cooking system. Nobody would broil a burger and stick it in sauce on a plate and call it a burger.

Is there such a thing as an excessive amount of toppings?


Flat patty or fat in the middle and tapered out at the edges?

In my understanding, they should never be perfect. Roll it into a ball and just squeeze it. That ugly delicious kind of thing.

Most excessive burger you ever made?

I once made one for the novelty factor rather than to eat it. It contained: three patties, one ribeye steak, caramelized onions, roast pepper, guacamole and mushroom sauce.

What is one thing everyone gets wrong when making burgers?

Under seasoning the pattie. You don’t want a burger which just tastes of meat.

Lean meat or fatty?

Fatty (70% meat and 30% fat)

Why are American burgers so superior?

Are they superior?

Onion rings – fried or raw?

On top of the bun- fried, inside the bun – raw

Are there any rules about sides?

Depends on the kind of burger. When it comes to an excessive burger like the one above, then a side is just gluttony. But with a classic, I like to go with skinny fries, preferably twice cooked. Don’t give me any potato wedges though.

How do you know when the bbq is ready?

Your hand can’t stay longer than three seconds over the flame

How long do you cook it?

Really depends on the size of the pattie

What makes a good bun?

The best bun is one that if you press it, it easliy goes back into shape

How do you make sure the chicken does not dry out?

Sear it on a high heat then move it to the side and cover with a pot for an oven effect.

Follow Mulunda Kombo on IG: @mulunda

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