For me the secret to the perfect burger is the simpler the better. When I say simple, I mean just some good quality mince, seasoning and nothing else! If you can, make your own mince or get your butcher to make you up a batch. A cut like chuck steak is brilliant for making mince beef. If you want a good juicy burger, use 15% fat at least (but I’ve had leaner ones and they have turned out pretty good too). Then add nothing and I mean nothing! That’s it! All you have to do is press it into shape. I use a burger press because it makes the job easy and you can make them all the same size. Season them well like a steak with salt and pepper just before they hit the pan (add the salt earlier and it can dry them out). Make a thumb print in the middle of the burger which stops them from turning into a golf ball shape and keeps the patty flat when cooking. I would recommend about 150-160 grams or mince beef per person.
After that, it’s what you load the burger up with that can make each burger a different experience to the last. Whether it’s crispy bacon or a mature cheddar, even the type of bun used can make a difference. My personal favourite is a brioche bun; they are sweet with a texture like sponge, when you push down on them they slowly rise back up into shape.
For the burgers in my main photo, I decided to go for an ‘Italian’ style finish. I added smoked mozzarella, which was a revelation when I tried it. I love mozzarella, but when I tried it smoked I couldn’t believe the taste. The texture is a little more rubbery than your regular fresh one and the subtle smokiness that comes through is uniquely incredible. You can buy it in supermarkets as I found this one in the “Tesco Finest” range. I sliced up a beef tomato and seasoned the slices with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I also love adding cos lettuce as you get a nice crunch added to each bite.
I only use a little oil when adding the burger patties to the pan. Heat until cooked through, turning occasionally. I then add the tomato and smoked mozzarella to the patty whilst the burger is still in the pan to let it melt a little. If you have a lid that can cover the pan, turn up the heat real quick, add a little water then cover. This will melt the cheese using steam and create a mouthwatering burger, ready to be added to your bun.
Toast your buns then load them up, lettuce and any sauce if you like. The burger I created certainly did not need any sauce as it was lovely and moist. Crispy bacon wouldn’t go a miss though for that extra saltiness.