So what constitutes the perfect or ultimate burger? For something so fundamentally simple there are a wide variety of opinions and arguments regarding the morally acceptable use of condiments and toppings. I will leave those arguments for you to continue but what I can try to do is offer a recipe for the beef burger itself and perhaps even some tips on making it the best that it can be. Many of you will already have your own opinions about what goes into it but one hugely important ingredient is fat. In one of only a few cases in life, when it comes to a beef burger, fat is your friend. The juicy, moist unctuousness that we associate so much with a burger is largely down to the fat content. A good amount of fat is important so try to get at the very least 10% though 12-15% or even 18%-20% fat would be better again. A butcher could also mince some round steak or rib steak for you and add some fat if necessary. Beyond that obviously using good quality steak mince is important so try not to scrimp entirely and buy cheap mince, the final outcome is likely to represent that poor quality.
The main idea thing to consider with flavour is largely to keep it as simple as possible. Minimalists will insist upon the use of just beef and seasoning and if you’ve never done that it’s worth the try considering the quality of our beef in Ireland. However, I’m of the opinion where flavour can be added to compliment and even enhance the flavour of the burger then why not? Mustard, ketchup and parmesan give a boost in umami. The crackers or breadcrumbs help bind the mixture together with the egg. Finally in terms of seasoning some will tell you not to salt the mixture before you make the burgers with the reasoning being that salt can draw moisture from the meat. However with this amount of meat I think that it’s vital to season it all the way through to have a flavourful burger.
What is equally as vitally important is not to over handle the mixture when you are combining the ingredients. Over handling is most likely the number one cause for tough burgers that lack in tenderness. You want the strands of the meat to be brought together without mushing or crushing it too much. A gentler touch goes a long way here.
Makes 4 large burgers