A certain well-known fast-food chain boasts that its burgers are “100 percent beef”. This is no doubt a very good selling point with skeptical customers who don’t want their burgers adulterated with dubious junk. But why is this good? Why is it good to have a burger that is all beef and no other ingredients? Surely it depends ON what those other ingredients are.
The well-known chain seems to think that their powerful advertising claim gives their customers an assurance that the product has not been adulterated by cheap filler like rusk and such like. But it also tells customers that the burgers will have little if any flavor of their own and that if they want it to have any real flavor, they must add it afterwards through condiments and seasoning.
Needless to say, I completely disagree with that food philosophy. I believe that flavor should be cooked into the food and not tacked on from the outside as an afterthought! That’s why I’m here, offering my tip for a very tasty beef burger that has a bit of zing to it.
The recipe below emerged from my ongoing experiments to create the perfect burger. Now obviously that’s a tall order - to mix my metaphors. After all, as I observed in my article on the perfect marinade: one man’s meat is another man’s poison. (Yes, I do love my Sunday School proverbs!)
As with the marinades, the quantities below are not written in stone, like the Ten Commandments. They are aimed at getting a certain balance of flavours. I recognize that while some like it hot, others prefer it mild.
Enough to make 12-15 quarter pounders!
● 2½ LBS minced beef (preferably lean and fine-minced)
● 1 large grated onion
● 1 large grated carrot
● ½ cup finely chopped parsley
● ¼ cup grated horseradish
● 2 medium or 3 small eggs
● 1 tablespoon salt
● 1 tablespoon black pepper
● 1 teaspoon mustard powder
● 1 teaspoon hot paprika
● 4 tablespoons of garlic granules
● 2 tablespoons soya sauce
● 1 cup (approx.) matzo meal (preferred) or breadcrumbs
1. Put the minced beef in a large mixing bowl
2. Add the salt, pepper, mustard powder, hot paprika and garlic granules to the beef and mix well.
3. Add the grated onion, carrot, parsley and horseradish. Mix thoroughly.
4. Add the soya.
5. Open one of the eggs in a small bowl, check that it is fresh and has no blood in it. If it is okay, add it to the meat.
6. Mix the egg and soya into the meat. If the mixture is not soggy, add the other egg (or two)
7. Start adding the breadcrumbs or matzo meal while mixing continuously. Keep adding and mixing until the mixture is firm but not saturated with matzo meal or breadcrumbs. It is now ready for pressing out into burgers.
● You can either use a burger press or manually shape the patties before putting on the grill. There are some good deals and discount offers on burger presses at Amazon. We will be reviewing a few.
● These burgers can either be grilled directly or griddle fried first and then grilled. If you are using a charcoal grill, then we recommend straight grilling. On the other hand, if you are using a gas grill with a flame tamer or lava rocks, we suggest griddle frying first for a minute or 90 seconds each side.
● If you like it really spicy you can increase the grated horseradish, or mustard powder or both.
As an alternative, you can try this same recipe with minced lamb. If so, you can shape them into koftes and grill them without griddle-frying first. However, for lamb, you might want to replace the mustard powder with turmeric and the parsley with coriander leaf (cilantro). This will give it a more Middle Eastern or even Indian flavour.
You could even try this recipe with minced turkey meat. However, then I would recommend reducing all the spicy ingredients (mustard, black, pepper, hot paprika and horseradish).
One good idea might be to try this recipe once in a slightly smaller quantity (say 1½ lbs at a family barbecue.) You can probably get about 8 or 9 quarter pounders out of it. Then, once you’re sure of your quantities and the tastes of your family and close friends, you can unleash it on the extended family and work colleagues.
You might not set the world on fire, but at least you’ll warm up a few tongues...
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