Happy International Hamburger Day! If want to challenge yourself today (or this Madaraka Day weekend) then head down to your local butcher shop or your local farmers market and grab all the ingredients you think you may need, warm up your grill and be ready to become the burger guru in all your circles.
You never think of this when you’re buying a pre-made patty but you can actually make your patty from scratch by selecting which cut of meat you want to use. If you want a juicier burger patty then you have to pick a cut of meat with the right amount of fat in it or if you’re looking to make a lean version then you need to pick a cut with less fat.
When you’re at your local butcher, ask for freshly ground meat preferably the chuck (or the shoulder if you’re using lamb). This cut of meat has a fat ratio of 80/20. They will grind it up for you and just like that you’ll be done with step one!
Once you’re back home, its time to make your patty. Gather all your favourite spices because no one likes a bland burger. Gently mix in garlic, ginger, herbs, Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice. We suggest adding a teaspoon of each then adding black pepper and salt to taste.
Once the ingredients are just mixed in, pinch a small amount of the meat and roll it into a ball. Try not to overwork it (you’re not making chapatis so there is no need to knead it). Gently press them down. You can place them on wax paper and individually press them down or if you’re going for a smash burger then you can do this on the pan.
Make the patty bigger than the bun because once it cooks it will shrink to the right size.
This is a simplified version of course. If you want to switch things up then you can fold in a slice of cheese in between your patty, you can mix in caramelised onions into your patty before shaping it…the choices are endless.
Just like beef burgers, veggie burgers need a good base to form a delicious patty. The go-to ingredients are usually mushrooms, chickpeas, tofu and black beans. Tofu and white beans are good if you’re heavily spicing your burger but if you’re looking for string flavours then you can use black beans. Be sure to cook your veggies down before mixing and shaping especially if you’re using vegetables with high water content. For beans, pat them dry before mixing them with other patty ingredients.
Once you have your ingredients cooked, use a binder like eggs, oats, wheat germ or breadcrumbs. Shape your patties and make them 1 inch thick. If you make them thicker then they may not cook evenly and you might have to cook them longer which will result in a dry patty. If you make them thinner then they will fall apart.