Finding burger heaven! (part 2)


Photo 2014-05-02, 12 46 26 PM

In my mind all the secrets of the perfect burger were supposed to be locked up in the patty. It is meant to be packed with flavour from corner to corner. I put this to the team and we started work. The thing is, you are tempted to add the whole pantry to the mixture to get it right. The problem is, the more ingredients we added the more binding agent is needed, making the burger far less than 100% beef.
Then the dietary/allergen nightmare started: “I am allergic to garlic” or “no onion with my food”, and so on.
So we started leaving out the garlic and the onion, followed by the mixed herbs. We believed that the mixture should always have eggs to assist with the binding, but slowly started reducing the quantity. The problem with this was that we still did not have control of everything that was going in.
The solution was in plain sight, we needed to take control of the meat mixture. First it was whatever we had available from all our trimmings in an approximate 70/30 beef fat ratio . This ended up being far too inconsistent.
Then late 2012, we decided that we needed to set up specific criteria for our burger.
We had a team chat and selected the beef cuts that we thought that would taste great in a burger, it is after all about the 100% beef.
Now we were on a journey to purity and flavour.

Finding Burger Heaven – Part 1

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Finding burger heaven! (part 1)


Burger in Bar

What makes a burger truly great? You know – that burger that is going to make you sit back and sigh with a stupid grin on your face.
Four years later and I am still working on making it perfect, tweaking, adjusting and eating more than my share of burgers. When the burger sits on the pass tall and proud, ready to meet it’s master I always think ”it is not perfection yet”. We all have different views and preferences, so the task in hand is a very personal adventure, as it should be. I have sampled most of the burgers in and around Cape Town
That perfect burger must have layers of soft, crunchy, tart, sour, juicy, tender, crisp, umami and sweet all in one. I want to be able to pick the burger up and finish it, without the bun falling apart.
When we started our journey the patty was a combination of bought mince 70/30 meat fat ratio we added garlic, onion, egg, crumbs, worcestershire sauce, mustard, parsley, salt, pepper, mixed herbs and somewhere in between some chutney! It looked and smelled like my grandmother’s frikkadel recipe. In hind sight we should have called it grandma’s frikkadel burger.
We called it home made…The problem with this was that we actually had no control over what went into mince mixture. Realising this meant finding the right burger patty was a priority.
So the journey began!

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Finding burger heaven!

Burger in Bar 2

What makes a good burger is pretty much a personal thing. A lot of people – chefs, bloggers – have written about the same topic. Some blogs are dedicated to the search for the ultimate burger.

I have used the search as a valuable tool in my kitchen to guide myself as well as illustrate to my staff that everything we do is a process of learning and a search towards perfection. Burgers are everywhere, we are all so familiar with the damn thing. We even settle for cheap fix on the run, late at night when we can not distinguish right from wrong even if we regret it later. But we still do it. It was important that everyone in my kitchen could relate to the one thing all of us know and are familiar with – good or bad.

All the lessons and all the mistakes we have made in the journey of making and eating burgers, we have applied to all our other recipes. None of them is perfect, none of them complete. But every day we go to work we know we have to try and be a little better than we were yesterday, no matter how small the improvement or the change. So while I search and compare burgers I know perfection is a dream, but it is a journey we must travel.

As one of my favourite burger spots would say  “not all burgers are created equal”

Our journey must start where we source our ingredients.




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