I recently realised that my favourite food is a cheeseburger.
It is the food I crave the most, enjoy the most, and also a food I find fascinating. It is simplicity itself but also wide open to interpretation. Some people and places make a very simple burger, others decide to get wacky with it e.g. adding diced apple to the meat before forming it into burgers.
It is hard to make a shitty burger unless you’re really trying to do it (i.e. the apple thing above).
Now that I know it’s my favourite food I want to be able to make it, and make it well.
I know the basics. I know the order in which the burger should be stacked:
Bun-sauce-lettuce-patty-cheese-tomato-gherkin/pickle-sauce-bun. Though this is still up for debate as a lot of chefs, websites, and food scientists have their own take on it so some experimentation is needed.
I know that to make a great patty you need to go to the butcher and get good quality minced beef. The strands of mince must all be kept intact and in the same direction. You then wrap this mince in cling film and make it into a tight sausage shape, which is then refrigerated overnight. When cooking time is upon you, take the burger roll from the fridge and slice it into burgers.
I know how to make Shake Shack sauce because my brother-in-law found out for me. He’s also the one who told me the stack order that we’re currently using until we perfect it or realise it was already perfect.
I know not to get wild with it and start fucking around with bacon and eggs etc. Bacon and egg on a burger is nice but can make the burger smell like a football boot or create more mess than is necessary. People assume that to make a signature burger you need to add something when actually you simply want your signature burger to be simple and tasty.
I know that the cheese needs to be added to the burger once it have been flipped once (and only once) and that, while the burger rests, the brioche buns need to be toasted slightly in the residual burger juice in the pan.
I know that the burger doesn’t need to be squashed with a spatula while it cooks, flipped more than once, or cut to check its readiness. Once blood forms on the surface flip it and then serve it when you believe it’s ready i.e. trust your instincts.
I know that the best burger I have had so far in Melbourne came from the Grand Trailer Park Taverna on Bourke St, but I also know that I need to give 8Bit another chance as I was tipsy and ordered the ridiculous double dragon burger on my first trip there.
And I know that the best burger I ever had was at Shake Shack in Istanbul.
My plan for 2016 is to by the end of the year have a great burger recipe and method under my belt. For research I will eat burgers, talk about burgers, and read about burgers.
And now, as lunch approaches, I’m off to Mr. Burger in Fitzroy to get researching.