American comedian Pete Holmes does a bit about joy quotas, of cashing happy cheques and doing things to make yourself feel better. “You gotta keep an eye on your joy quota,” he says in his HBO special.

That was exactly what I did when I took a bite of Jovan Curic’s juicy, perfectly formed, get-in-my-mouth cheeseburger.

Zing! Up went my joy quota, replenished by melty cheese, crunchy pickles, a splash of tomato sauce, a lick of mayo and a succulent patty cuddled by a soft bun (I love you, bun). And in Sydney’s seemingly never-ending locky d, it was exactly what I needed.

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The trick to this beautiful burger is the meat, which has been created in collaboration with Marcus Papadopoulo from Marrickville’s Whole Beast Butchery. “It’s taken me many moons to let go of the processing of [making] the patties, but meeting Marcus was a blessing. We share the same ethos on food and meat,” Curic tells me.

That ethos is using the best possible produce. “The patties are made from grass-fed Angus beef, which is aged on the bone. It has a strong fat content, ’cos fat is flavour. We season the meat with salt and pepper and pre-press them by hand, so they’re ready to hit the grill,” he says.

By grill, he means mine (and potentially yours). Curic has created a two-person DIY burger pack, sold through online drinks business Drnks. The black box arrives at your front door with two potato rolls, two aged-beef patties, sweet and spicy pickles, high-melt cheese, roasted garlic, lime mayo and instructions.

All you do is cook the meat, grill the buns and assemble – a super-easy process that takes no more than 15 minutes. Next? Sit back and enjoy your sweet, sweet joy package.

If Curic’s name is familiar, it’s because he created Pub Life Kitchen in 2008, which became known for its legendary Wednesday-night burger experiments. (He recently resurrected it).

“The burgers were an accident,” he says. “It was just normal to have a burger at a pub. But we used to have staffies at Potts Point’s now-closed Lotus when Dan [Hong] was making his cheeseburger, and I have chased the dragon ever since.”

You can tell – the burger’s structural integrity is never in jeopardy, and if you follow Curic’s instructions (there’s a cute video to watch to see how the master does it), you can create the perfect mouthful with every bite.

“The meat is the hero, nothing else matters. I’ve worked with butchers, meat-processing machine engineers and read way too much on the science-y stuff about meat. It is a little embarrassing to admit, but yeah, I focus on the meat. The rest is simple.”

To add extra happiness to your experience, chuck a bottle of something delicious from Drnks in your order. May I suggest a bottle of Radikon? It’s a match made in Sydney lockdown heaven.

Order your Jovi's Burger Kits here for $35. Burger-wine packs are sometimes available too. Delivery is only available in Sydney’s inner city and stock gets replenished every couple of days so check back in if sold out.


“I Can’t Stop Thinking About” is a series about Sydney dishes Broadsheet editors are obsessed with. Sarah Norris is the national editor.