I don’t really remember where the idea for this recipe came from. I was doing a barbecue one day (in the UK a barbecue is a bit of an event as we don’t get to do them that often) and wanted to make a nice juicy burger. This is how I did it, it worked and I just keep doing it this way.
Now Drew is a bit of a purest when it comes to burgers - just 100% great meat and nothing else, but when I made these when the GreatGrub team met in London, he told me they were up there and that I had to share the recipe here.
- 2lb minced beef (doesn’t matter how many you are serving 1lb just never makes enough)
- half a large onion, finely chopped
- a handful of fresh basil leaves, torn up
- a clove or two of garlic, crushed
- a few glugs of red wine — whatever you’re drinking
- a drizzle of olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- large mixing bowl
- tray and foil to lay the raw burgers on
- barbeque or outdoor grill
- Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. You want enough wine to add some moisture, but not too much that it makes the mix go sloppy. Add a little to start and more if you need it.
- Mix with your hands. This is important, you need to add that human touch.
- Grab a handful of the mix and shape into a patty. Size is up to you, but remember they’ll shrink in cooking (depending on how fatty the mince is). My wife likes them bite sized, but I prefer them big enough to bulge from my bun.
- Don’t press the patty to tightly together else it will make your burgers heavy. Placing a dimple in the middle will stop the patty loosing its shape when cooking.
- Repeat until you have used all the mix.
- Now go back and adjust the size of the earlier patties that now seem to big or too small.
- I cook on a fairly hot grill to get the larger burgers nicely charred on the outside and still slightly pink in the middle.
- Let the burgers rest a little at the edge or your grill. I think this is something to do with allowing the meat to relax, but it also helps even the cooking out. You could try taking them off to rest, but my experience is as soon as they’re off, they’re gone.
What you should know
On a couple of occasions when the rain has washed out my barbecue plans I’ve cooked these burgers on the griddle plate - big mistake. A lot of fat comes out of them in cooking (I guess it depends on the mince) which on a barbecue is fine and dandy. On the griddle it makes “fat rain”. The fat comes out of the meat and gets vaporized with the steam. It then cools and falls out of the air on to the floor. Great it’s out my meat, but it’s pretty hazardous and a pain to clean up.
If you find yourself without any wine (yes it really happened once) or just fancy poshing it up, try some port, but use a little less.