Beautiful burgers

The rain stopped for a whole hour today, long enough for me to wheel out the barbecue and do a quick dance of appeasement to the cloud gods.

I love a good beefburger. Sadly, a good beefburger is a thing seldom found in burger restaurants, which usually fob you off with a pallid and distressingly regular disc of frozen and reheated, mechanically recovered goo. There, are, however, exceptions. Americans with a branch of Fatburger nearby should put down the computer now and run out of the door, pausing only to gather enough pocket change to purchase a burger and some onion rings. The Fatburger is a sweet and juicy beast, made fresh out of minced steak on a toasted bun. I understand that In ‘n’ Out is pretty good too; unfortunately, the In ‘n’ Out and Fatburger franchises haven’t spread much outside California. California is about 6000 miles away. I’m going to have to make my own.

Remarkably (especially given that we’re cooking burgers here), this is a very low-fat recipe. Such things are not the norm on this blog. Take the opportunity to cook in a relatively fat-free fashion in both hands, because it doesn’t come along all that often round here.

For burgers for four, you’ll need:

1 kg lean minced steak
1 red pepper
1 large onion
1 egg
8 sun-dried tomatoes
3 tablespoons ketchup
1 handful parsley
1 handful marjoram
5 cloves garlic
Salt and pepper to taste

Hopelessly easy method, this; just throw everything except the steak mince into the food processor and whizz until chopped. You are aiming to chop here, not to reduce everything to a ketchup-coloured slurry, so exercise restraint with the whizz button.

Add the chopped mixture to the steak mince in a bowl, and use your hands to bring it all together. Then form patties. I find I can get about ten good-size burgers out of this amount; you may prefer smaller or larger burgers.

Barbecue over hot charcoal until cooked through. (Today, a drizzly day when my charcoal just refused to give off much heat, this took about ten minutes on each side. Under ideal conditions, it should take about four per side; check your burger regularly.) If it’s not barbecuing weather, these burgers are excellent put under a hot grill.

I don’t serve these with a fluffy and pasty burger bun, but with robust slices of ciabatta and a dressed salad with pine nuts.

I leave you with a photograph I took at Fatburger in Heavenly, on the border between California and Nevada, back in February. A little less handsome than my burgers, but fantastically tasty. I need to get back to America soon.

11 Replies to “Beautiful burgers”

  1. They look really good. I need to invest in a whizzer as we’ve only got a crappy hand-held one at the moment which is a pain. Here in Bordeaux we’ve got one good burger bar. I might have to go over and test one soon. And yours of course!

  2. But don’t you need a mouth the size of the Channel Tunnel for the american version? Only kidding. I have been looking for a good burger recipe since I bought some Brown Cow organics mince at the Slow Food market – this will do it proud.

  3. Hi…

    A comment about your Beefburger recipe…you must always add at least 30% fat in the mixture otherwise it will be to dry also use red onions, dijon mustard, oyster sauce and of course Tomato ketchup in the mix, believe me its a great taste.
    if anyone wants the recipe they can email me on

  4. Now my favorite way of making a burger is to use three different meats Veal, Beef and Pork. IU always buy the best cuts i can and then grind them myself. I then use the processor to make my own bread crumbs and minced red onions and cornichons, little gerkins. Mix this all together in a bowl and then BBQ, put on the grill. I guarantee you the most moist burger you’ve ever had, the tree meats work together well and the onions and cornichons hive it just a little bit of something. Oh and obviously season with salt and pepper. I hope you enjoy

  5. I know this is an old post, so maybe you've discovered this already – but over the last couple of years there's been a gourmet burger revolution (or maybe it's just hit me since I moved to London!) in and around London, there's several burger chains (Gourmet Burger Kitchen is my favourite) and gastropubs do amazing burgers – there's a pub in Fulham that does diving burgers. I will try this recipe it looks amazing!

  6. Hi Liz, I made these burgers a couple of times and every time they turned out a bit too soft/soggy. I heard from some friends that I need to add bread crumbs and I was hoping you would have some advice as to how much and what type i.e. simple white sliced bread or something more fancy? The taste of these burgers is absolutely incredible and that is why I want to keep at it until I get the consistency right and I can really show them off at the next family BBQ 🙂

    BTW, your website is amazing, I look forward to trying the Malaysian Satay’s at the next BBQ as well!!!

    Thanks in advance.

  7. Hi Brian

    They can come out a little soft sometimes – sorry! (It’s the moisture in the veg, which, unfortunately, varies enormously from onion to onion.) Soft white crumbs should help – use whatever bread you have kicking around. Add a small handful to the mix in a bowl, stir, make a judgement about stiffness and add another handful if you think it’s necessary. And enjoy that BBQ!

  8. Hi Liz,

    Thanks for the advice on the burgers – I will try that soon. I just wanted to say that the Satay recipe was an absiolute stunner for yesterday’s BBQ with everyone being more than blown away. I had prepared them as a starter but people could not stop eating more and more that they were too full for the main course. Next time I will have to just make a mountain of satays and leave it at that. Lovely 🙂

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