It’s a familiar story; you’re coming home on a Saturday night. It’s late, you may be a little worse for wear and you’re looking for some comfort food. You see that familiar neon logo promising easy satisfaction so you park your car and make your way inside.
Brimming with processed meats, high sodium and artificial preservatives, the fact that fast food isn’t healthy doesn’t come as a surprise to any of us anymore. Yet we love it anyway, so much so that an EMMA report from 2014 shows the average Australian eats out at least once a week. At the same time with obesity rates rising, eating healthier and getting more fresh fruits and vegetables in their diet is a growing concern amongst regular Australians as well.
So how do you have your burger and eat it too? Simple, follow these easy tips for a delicious home cooked burger and never worry about having to decide between health and comfort ever again!
Every good burger starts with high quality meat, whether it’s beef or lamb. We recommend heading to your local grocery and asking for some freshly ground chuck roll. Don’t worry about skimping on the fat either. A healthy 80/20 mix will give you a good amount of flavour and can still keep your waistline trim, if you just opt for smaller patties.
Time of the Season
The secret to making your taste buds come alive with every bite is simply salt and pepper, and a liberal amount of it. You don’t need to fiddle around with a bunch of spices and dry rubs; the old table favourites are plenty good enough. Just invest in a good kosher salt and if possible get your pepper freshly ground from peppercorns. Do be careful of your timing though, season too early and your burgers will turn tough and springy due to the effect of salts on fresh beef. So wait until a few minutes before putting them on the pan to ensure your burgers stay moist and juicy.
Patty Cake, Patty Cake
To get that perfect shape, wet your hand to avoid stickiness, grab a small handful of meat and roll it into a ball. You want each patty to be big enough to fit in your bun, with about 2 to 2.5 cm width each. If you’ve got a handy jam jar lid, use this to mould the patty as it will give you the perfect dimensions. To ensure your burgers keep that perfect flat shape, press your thumb lightly into the top of each one. This will help your patties avoid swelling up into round balls, and keeps all those lovely juices from pouring out.
Go ahead and refrigerate your burgers as soon as they’re made so they don’t break apart in the heat, cover them up so that the flavours stay inside.
Now we’re Cooking
Grills and pans each come with their own benefits. While a grill adds a wonderful char across your patty, the pan is far more easily accessible and keeps all the flavours from slipping away. Whichever you choose, pre-heat the cooker, and use a medium-high heat with a little bit of oil to prevent stickiness.
Don’t worry about flipping your burger too often, for the most part you can leave it alone until it’s done on each side to your preference. Do remember not to press the burger down for any reason, as this will simply release all the flavour, leaving you with a dry patty.
Once you’ve got your perfect patties made, it’s really up to you to decide what to pair them with – this is where your imagination and tastes come into play. As far as buns go basic white bread still works wonders, while bakery bread such as brioche is great if you’re looking for a richer flavour.
Cheese and vegetable toppings are also completely a matter of preference, whether it’s a slice of American, a Monterey or cheddar paired with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, bacon or even avocado for that upscale touch. There are a lot of proper dinners around if you look for them.
The proof is in eating the burger, and we guarantee if you follow these simple steps you’ll be enjoying a perfect home cooked burger in no time at all. So the next time you’re heading out for some convenient fast food, head for the local supermarket instead. It’s cheaper, healthier and provides endless possibilities.