I Really Do love Burgers
I’m going to prove it –
- I’ve got an American Diner in my home.
- I’ve been to America more times than any other country.
- If I get a bad burger I cry.
- I make fresh burgers for my family every month (or I lose the will to live).
- We once had a party where I cooked the biggest Burger in Norwich – it weighed 5lb and was the size of a large paella pan, it was enclosed in a home-made sesame seed bun which took up the whole oven.
- If ever a new restaurant opens that specialised in burgers – I’m there.
- I know exactly how the best burger should be – I’ll prove that too –
The best burger is made with
- Good quality mince, it should be 15 – 20% fat, I don’t mind if it’s made with steak mince but it cooks dry so needs added fat, I don’t mind if a little pork is added but only 10-15% of added to steak mince or 5 – 10% if added to regular mince. Only a butcher can produce the best quality tasting mince, which needs to be really red and freshly ground twice once on a big grind and then again on a fine grind – I’m not fussy!
- The best pattie is seasoned, I add some Colmans mustard and sometimes a little tomato puree – but that’s it – its ok to season the outside with salt – but if you do don’t over salt the pattie mix.
- Only the best soft burgers are hand moulded or shaped in to a ball and squashed in to shape with a weight – compressing them in a burger machine makes for a hard textured burger.
- The best way to cook a burger is on a real wood or coal BBQ, alternatively in a hot pan with a small amount of oil – best brushed and not poured. The meat needs to be sealed without prodding before it’s flipped over. Adding salt to the raw pattie means a crisp outer edge.
- The ice-trick – I add a few cubes of ice to the pan and cover it with a lid, this means it intensifies the heat, cooking the centre quicker but also creates steam, making the meat moist as well – – plus if you add a slice of cheese to the top – it melts it perfectly.
- Now this may cause some controversy but I like my burger cooked just slightly under done, only just – not ‘mooing’, just a tad pale in the middle, not pink – – of course most restaurant have a policy for over cooking a burger to 70*c for 3 minutes – drying them out more. (Sorry to all you health and safety gurus out there – This is my Perfect Burger, I can take the risk.)
- The Bun has to be fresh, no sweet American mass produced buns full of sugar and air, no soft bakery sandwich rolls or day old buns – – Artisan brioche is good, sesame seed bakery burger baps are lovely, home-made delicious – but white and fresh is essential. Plus it needs to be big enough to take the pattie – you don’t want an over-hanging burger!
- Toasted – – you have to lightly toast the middle first – you can either do it under a grill or in the dry pan before you cook the burger. That little crunch of the toasted bread as you bite through is so good and makes all the difference.
- Mayonnaise and mustard on the bottom half – topped with crisp ice-burg lettuce, then the hot freshly cooked burger, then some red onion rings, followed by a few slices of tasty big boy tomatoes, then you ooze some ketchup on to the top bun and slap it together.
- Oh, my – – – – enjoy!
My favourite places for Burgers in Norwich –
- Gonzos – 68 London Street, Norwich. A place like no other that’s not for everyone. Gonzos is named after the American owners dog who owns this dive – it is a dive, but in a really good way – I love it, it oozes rustic charm, madness spills from every nook and cranny. He told me it took days to perfect the perfect pattie – they tried dozens of variations until they hit the jackpot. And that’s why they do the bestest burgers in town – lovely bread, lovely patties, perfectly cooked with home-cut dirty fries or sweet potato ones. A massive plate full of loveliness for around £11-12.
- Dray yard Smoke House – 31 Exchange Street, Norwich. A proper smoke house with massive top heavy burgers charred to tasty perfection, brioche buns and salad all served with hand cut chips and a selection of yummy homemade sauces like their B.B.Q and chilli as standard on the table – all for £9 or £11 for a double stack. Plus, if you’re lucky you’ll catch the midweek, term time £5 lunch special – usually including a burger and fries. Add some of their scrumptious sides for a few quid and everyone’s happy.
- Yellows – Carrow Road, NR1, Delia’s Norwich City Football Club American Bar and grill. *Medium-well burgers for around £10 hand formed with hand cut chips.
- Middleton’s, 11-15 Timber Hill – Hand-made steak burgers with soft brioche bread and nice cut chips. They use a blend of Sirloin, ribeye and rump from their butchers. *Med-Well again so always going to be a tad over cooked and a tad dry (for me) but still real tasty with all that gorgeous meat lightly seasoned, they really do speak for themselves. Go for lunch and enjoy a bargain £9.95 2 course lunch where you’ll enjoy a generous cheese burger and one side and a choice of starters (Love the ribs) or desserts (Love the Tirimisu).
- Zaks – Mousehold, Gurney Road or Waterside, Barrack Street – Every now and then I just have to have a Zak’s – they use a local supplier for their burgers and buy in their fries but it’s a locals institution. (I used to go to the Yarmouth Zaks, now the Yankee Traveller with different owners – when I was so young I had to have the kid’s meal. Burgers from £10-11 with toppings and fries. There not gourmet burgers, more traditional to quench your hunger.
- Five Guys, 17-27 Orford Place – A chain but a good en. Burgers from £7 fries between £3-5. So, eat in restaurant prices but fast food delivery and service. Eat in or take away. You get a double pattie and even though the burgers are cooked on a flat griddle to near death they retain moistness and taste – get it with a dozen free extras like fried onions, mushrooms, sauces, salads etc. the buns are soft – making for a lovely juicy filling bite.
- Pye Bakery and Café – 132 Dereham Road – Burgers aren’t always on the menu but last time I had a compacted meaty, pye bun, blue cheese rich burger for around £6 eat in. It’s mainly a takeaway sandwich & pastry shop with a small diner bench seating area. It’s out of the city but walking distance (10 mins from Toy’s R Us / 20 mins from Chapelfield) – or you can park around the corner for free. Lunch times only and not Sundays.
Alternatively, you can BURGER party here at Lodge Farm Kitchen Cookery Courses and indulge in an American Classics cookery course (includes a Slider demo), choosing to dine in the diner with friends and family
– on my Party or Group courses full details on here or www.cookerycoursesnorfolk.co.uk.
By Zena Leech-Calton ©