Don’t like pickles? Are you mad? Get a jar of McClure’s and give your tongue a jab of hot 'n spicy Chicago at its best!
400g (about 14 oz) Scotch fillet (rib-eye steak) 1 Tbsp finely chopped shallot 1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed Salt and freshly ground black pepper ½ tsp crumbled dried oregano, or a little chopped fresh marjoram ½ tsp chopped rosemary 1 tsp creamy Dijonnaise mustard 1 Tbsp tomato ketchup 1 small (size 5) free-range egg, lightly beaten with a pinch of salt 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil Olive oil Butter (optional) 4 quality burger buns or baps, split in half Mayonnaise (use a ready-made premium brand) Iceberg lettuce leaves, torn into bite-sized pieces or shredded Tomato ketchup (optional) Gherkins (pickles), patted dry and sliced Tomatoes, sliced Flaky sea salt
1 To make the patties, trim meat removing any tough or scrappy pieces and excess fat. Slice meat into fat strips, then chop coarsely. Work half the meat at a time in a food processor, giving it 10-12 pulses only, taking it no further than a coarse purée; if you process it too long it will turn pasty. Transfer meat to a bowl as it is prepared. Pick over, removing any pieces with silverskin attached (it will be tough; simply slice it off).
2 Mix in shallot, garlic, ½-¾ teaspoon of salt, a little black pepper, oregano or marjoram, rosemary, mustard, ketchup and olive oil. Divide into 4 balls then roughly shape into thinnish patties on a plate, but don’t squash or compress. The patties don’t have to be perfectly round – mine never are (I go for a rustic look!). Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 1-4 hours.
3 Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-based ridged frying pan (skillet) over medium-high heat. Drop in 1 tablespoon of butter when it is hot, and add patties when it is sizzling. Don’t move patties around, leave them where they land, but spoon butter and oil over them as they cook to keep them moist. Once patties are nicely browned, turn and cook the other side. Keep anointing them with the oil and butter. Transfer to a plate and season with salt and black pepper. Alternatively, cook patties on a preheated lightly oiled barbecue hot plate (cast-iron griddle) over medium heat, and brush with olive oil as they cook.
4 Toast buns and spread with mayonnaise (or butter). Stack with lettuce, patties, a little ketchup if liked, gherkins and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with sea salt and grind over pepper. Put bun tops in place and serve.
Put some lettuce on each bun bottom and top with a pattie. Add a little ketchup if liked, then add gherkins and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and grind over a little pepper. Put bun lids in place and serve.
Mincing or grinding your own meat gives you the opportunity to cook burger patties to medium-rare if that is your preference, keeping them nice and moist. If using minced or ground meat it is safer to cook the patties right through Minced Meat
The whole deal here is to have sufficient fat in the meat to make a succulent pattie. Scotch fillet (rib-eye steak) has fat threaded through the meat so it’s ideal – save fillet (tenderloin) steak and minced beef for other recipes. I’ve added an egg to the mix just in case your meat doesn’t have sufficient fat to help hold the patties together.
Another important tip – once you put the patties in the pan (skillet) or on the barbecue hot plate (cast-iron griddle) resist the urge to move them around because, firstly, they are likely to stick to the cooking surface until they are browned, so moving them can break them up, and it also interferes with the cooking momentum, slowing it down. If this happens, they might start to stew!
Opt for tomato ketchup, not tomato sauce which is sweet and doesn’t have the necessary depth of flavour and tang.