A great burger is one of life’s great pleasures. For me, a burger is also one of the nicest and simplest meals and even better enjoyed with a table of friends. Burgers offer a very relaxed and easy way to gather and entertain one another.
So what separates a burger from being;
“That was truly awful” (and we’ve all had that burger, I am sure)
to “Meh, it was okay”,
to “Oh my word – this is outstanding!”
Perhaps I’ll rent ‘When Harry Met Sally‘ again sometime soon – was it a Wagyu burger she was eating?
As much as I love a crunchy soft bun and all of the glorious burger accompaniments, I’m here to tell you that for a burger to be a truly great burger, it all comes down to the patty itself. The meat, well, it has to be a little bit fatty and a whole lot flavoursome.
I have played around a lot to reach burger perfection over the years. I declare that I am elated with my final take.
So what meat do I use for my patty? I use Wagyu. Wagyu (和牛, which literally translates to Japanese cow, refers to several breeds of cattle that are genetically predisposed to intense marbling and to producing a high percentage of unsaturated fat. Wagyu beef is high-quality eating. It has a naturally enhanced flavour, tenderness and juiciness. The increased marbling also improves the ratio of monounsaturated fats to saturated fats. More and more good butchers are stocking Wagyu beef these days. Wagyu does cost a little bit more, but a little goes a long way. And, that first bite will be all you need to assure you that you got great beef bang for your buck.
If you do cook this (and I truly hope that you do), I’d love to hear from you, and I hope you enjoy every whopping sweet mouthful!
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The Wagyu beef burger recipe
250g (approx) of caramelised onions – you will get this quantity from caramelising 2-3 onions
400 g wagyu, coarsely minced (your butcher will likely be happy to mince it for you)
50 g dried fine breadcrumbs (don’t use from a packet if you can help it. Making fresh breadcrumbs is pretty simple and it makes a big difference here)
1 egg, lightly whisked
1 tbsp grapeseed oil or olive oil
4 thin slices of vintage cheddar
4 Soft burger bun rolls (Phillipa’s bakery makes a lovely one simply sold as ‘Soft roll’ but I am also very partial to their campagnard roll as pictured)
Greenery – baby cos or iceberg are my preference
Relish Mama beetroot and balsamic Relish (or substitute for a good quality Relish of your choice)
Place the caramelised onions in a bowl and add the wagyu mince, breadcrumbs and egg.
Mix with your hands to combine. Season to taste.
Mould into 4 patties, place on a tray, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 220o C.
Heat oil in an ovenproof frying pan and sear burgers over medium heat until browned (1-2 minutes on each side). Transfer to oven and cook for 2 minutes, then top each patty with a slice of cheese slice and cook until cheese just melts (1-2 minutes).
Meanwhile, preheat a grill on high heat and lightly toast the cut-side of the soft burger buns/rolls and then spread with mayonnaise whilst still warm. Top bun bottoms with lettuce, followed by the wagyu patty, caramelised onion and beetroot relish. Add the top and serve straight away, preferably with some sunshine and an icy cold glass of your favourite something-something. Enjoy!