Yes, there really is a National Burger Day – on 23rd August to be precise. We’re ready for it – and so will you be once you’ve read our guide to making the best burgers – whatever your tastes.
No one is really sure where the burger originated.
There was a popular cookbook The Art Of Cookery published in 1758 (no that date is not a typo) by a certain Hannah Glasse who included a recipe for a Hamburgh Sausage which appeared to be meat on toast. In the German city of Hamburg a similar snack was gaining popularity – supposedly eaten by emigrants on their way to the States.
When the German immigrants arrived in big American cities, they opened restaurants and served Hamburg steaks – made from minced beef, onions, garlic and seasoning and flattened into a patty.
Later, during the Industrial Revolution, factory workers were served Hamburg steaks from food carts. As you can imagine, these proved difficult to eat without a table or cutlery and so before long someone had a lightbulb moment and the patties began to be served between two slices of bread. The rest, as they say, is history.
So, what are the components of a brilliant burger? Excellent meat, of course. Choose an organic mince and nothing too lean; you want your burger to be juicy, don’t you?
For a basic simple burger, finely chop an onion and mix it with the mince and season well before shaping into flat patties about the size of the palm of your hand.
You should, of course, have various accoutrements to go with it, such as lightly toasted baps, thin wedges of cheddar or sprinkles of Stilton, slices of beef tomato, a gherkin or two.
Ketchup is a must – why not make your own? Claire Thomson of 5 o’clock apron makes a brilliant, cost-effective version.
There are seemingly infinite ways to upgrade or revolutionise the burger:
- Replace brown onion in the mince with spring onion
- Add chilli or tabasco for a real kick
- Use chicken mince instead and bind with pesto or rosemary
But what about vegetarians? Well, we don’t need to feel sorry for them anymore; vegetarian food is so much more inventive than ever before. We especially rate this delight by Anna Jones which actually looks like a burger.
Lastly, you can’t have burger without chips. We’re real suckers for sweet potato chips, partly because they are so easy to make. Follow this simple recipe by Simon Hulstone.