In their new cookbook, Meatsmith, Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler, owners of the Melbourne butcher shops of the same name, offer recipes for every kind of meaty occasion – from showstopping steaks and celebratory centrepieces to salads and sides. Fittingly, while this cheeseburger might be based on those you'd find at a fast food joint, it's elevated with top-tier cuts of meat.
“This burger is unashamedly based on a fast-food chain burger, but without all the additives,” the pair write. “Still, there’s something great about occasionally treating yourself to something that’s not exactly healthy. We like to use potato rolls – they’re like sweet puffs of nothing but are great at soaking up the burger juices (so they end up in your mouth rather than on your clothes). We also like using American cheese, which doesn’t add much flavour-wise but helps glue the whole thing together and gives the burger structural integrity. The trade-off? We use quality meat in the patty – a blend of short rib, chuck and rib cap, plus a little bone marrow. The stewed onions are not essential but do come highly recommended.”
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes (add 30 minutes if you are making stewed onions)
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4 tbsp clarified butter or olive oil
6 slices orange American cheese
6 potato or brioche buns, split
Shoestring fries and dill pickles to serve
Salt and pepper to season
350g short rib, coarsely minced
350g chuck beef, coarsely minced
350g dry-aged beef rib cap, coarsely minced
100g frozen beef bone marrow, grated
Stewed onions (optional)
2 tbsp olive oil
4 onions, sliced
2 tbsp unsalted butter
60ml sherry vinegar
Burger sauce (makes approximately 400g)
250g Kewpie mayonnaise
50g cornichons, finely chopped
60ml tomato sauce
50g American mustard
1½ tsp garlic powder
1¼ tsp onion powder
1¼ tsp ruby red paprika
½ tsp smoked paprika
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1¼ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
To prepare the patties, combine meat and bone marrow in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix for about 2 minutes. Divide the mixture into 6 roughly 200g portions and shape into patties. Set aside.
To make the stewed onions, heat the olive oil in a stockpot or large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onion and salt and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently until the onions begin to turn translucent. Add the butter and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The colour should start to become a bit darker at this point. Add the sherry vinegar and cook until the liquid has reduced by half. Reduce heat to low and cook for a further 15 minutes. If you find that the onions are catching on the base of the pot, just add a splash of water to loosen them up a little. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
To make the burger sauce, whisk together the mayonnaise, cornichons, tomato sauce and mustard. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining dry ingredients, then add the wet ingredients and continue to whisk until combined. This keeps for a week, refrigerated – use any excess as dressing for a green salad or in a ham sandwich.
To cook the patties and assemble your burgers, heat 2 tbsp of the clarified butter or olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over a high heat. Add 3 of the patties to the pan, pressing each one down with a spatula to flatten to about 2cm thick and a diameter equal to your bun size. Season with a good pinch of sea salt and a little pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for a further 4 minutes. Remove from the pan, top each with a slice of cheese and transfer to a tray to keep warm. Rinse the pan, then repeat to cook remaining patties.
Once you have cooked the burgers, rinse the frying pan again and place over a medium heat. Brush each cut-side of the buns generously with mayonnaise, then toast, cut-side down, in the pan until deep golden brown.
Place 1 patty on each bun base and top with 2 tbsp of the stewed onions (if using), 1 tbsp of the burger sauce and the bun top. Serve immediately with shoestring fries and a wedge of dill pickle.
This is an edited extract from Meatsmith by Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler published by Hardie Grant Books.
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