Braai A Better Burger
Here’s your 4-step formula to braaing better burgers
Everyone has a signature burger these days, but the flourishes often come at the expense of flavour. Don’t complicate your burgers with elaborate toppings. Instead, focus on the meat to boost your burgers to best-ever status. The key is to add flavour and texture to the patty itself, this ensures that every bite is consistent and delicious. Keep the bun simple (we like wholewheat rolls, toasted), melt Gruyère or aged Cheddar on top of the patty and tuck a leaf of fresh butter lettuce beneath to avoid a soggy bottom bun. Follow these instructions for burger heaven.
Go with grass-fed beef. It typically contains fewer hormones and a heart healthier balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Ideally, aim for a meat-to-fat ratio of around 80:20, says Pat LaFrieda, meat merchant. “With that mix, you lose just the right amount of fat on the braai, but the burger will still be juicy.”
The Flavour Enhancers
Mix in these boosters to power up your 170g patty.
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp tomato
1 garlic clove, minced
1 garlic clove,
1 tsp chopped anchovies
1 tsp grated Parmesan
1 pinch dried basil, chives, red pepper flakes
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
60g cooked ham, finely chopped
2 tbsp Worcester-shire sauce
mashed to a
1 tbsp cooked bacon, chopped
Hold on! Don’t roll the meat into a ball – it could end up pasty. To keep the burger juicy, simply pull off enough to make the size you want. Then press it down on a flat surface with one hand while shaping it with the other. Keep going until it’s round. Another tip: the colder the meat, the better. (It’s less sticky.)
Season your patties with salt and crank the braai so it’s pretty hot. When it’s sizzling, place the burgers on the grate and sear them until a good char develops, about 2 minutes on each side for medium rare.* To finish, flip them and kiss them with heat until crosshatched grill marks appear, in 30 to 60 seconds. Add freshly ground pepper and let them rest for about 2 minutes.
THE SPECIAL SAUCE
Create the super condiment: mix together two parts tomato sauce, two parts mayo, one part mustard, and chopped gherkins to taste.