IT’S ALL ABOUT THE SENSES
Eating a burger is a “multi-sensory experience” and taste is only one component of the perfect burger; we eat with our eyes and our ears just as much as our mouths, as we actually ‘taste’ food with all of our senses.
The aroma of fresh, high-quality ingredients plus the fat in the beef optimises the expectation of deliciousness to come. The feeling of a soft, warm bun in the hand improves perception of taste in the mouth; a perfect burger should never be eaten with cutlery.
Sound is often the forgotten flavour sense; a burger would be disappointing without hearing the crunch of lettuce.
My perfect burger is 10cm tall, 10cm wide and boasts eight layers;
- Warm toasted bun top
- Tomato ketchup
- Juicy beef tomato
- Slice of melted cheese
- Seasoned patty of beef
- Crunchy salad and fresh onion
- Mustard mayonnaise sauce
- Warm toasted bun bottom
The star is the patty, everything else: bun, lettuce, cheese, sauce, are part of the delivery system and as such are supporting acts.
The way the meat is ground, and the cuts used in the grind, are the most important factors in producing a truly great burger.
The next most important element is the bun, or delivery vehicle. My favourite buns are demi brioche or potato buns.
Burger buns should be firm enough to hold the fillings without getting immediately soaked and disintegrating in a soggy mess. The bun should be the same size when toasted as the burger is when cooked.
They should be innocuous in flavour with no herbs or spices. This is about the beef, the whole beef, and nothing but the beef.
TO PICKLE OR NOT TO PICKLE, THAT IS THE QUESTION
Sauces, pickles and salads are important but should be kept to a minimum, their role is to insulate the bun from the juicy burger, to compliment the star of the show, and to offer
texture, crunch and freshness.
(It goes without saying that all accompaniments should be of the best possible quality.)
A SLIGHT DEVIATION
You might even consider omitting sliced tomato in the depths of Winter, in favour of a perfect sliced raw Portobello mushroom.
But that is the only caveat I will provide here.
THE LAST WORD FROM MAT KEMP AKA MR MEATOPIA
Perish the thought that I would ever deviate from Chef’s guiding principles towards burger nirvana here.
But! If you are catering for a large group, breaking down our Black Label Burgers some more - into smaller patties to create sliders - is a very efficient methodology here.
Remember folks, sharing is caring.