Thursday, 17 September 2015

The Perfect Burger

The Perfect BBQ Burger

The other day I was visiting a local service provider when one of the lovely ladies who worked there came up to me to chat about my column. The paper is not delivered where she lives so her daughter saves my column for her every week. She asked me if I would please share my idea of the perfect burger recipe; it is my pleasure to share that today. As per usual, we will start with some information and tips.

It will probably come as no surprise to you, but it is difficult to write about the history of the hamburger. Since the invention of bread man has been looking for new things to put in it; especially in New Zealand. We once had a visitor from America say “you Kiwis will make a sandwich out of anything”. The origin of the modern burger is claimed all over the world, especially in the USA, but there is some logic to the idea of the name “Hamburger” originating in the German city of Hamberg. No matter where it originated from, I am so glad someone thought of it!

Burgers are pretty straight forward, but there are some tips and tricks to making the perfect burger:
·         The most important thing to consider is the meat you are using. The more fat there is in that meat, the more your pattie will shrink. Like everything culinary, the better the quality of ingredients you use, the better your end result will be. 

Use good quality minced meat. We make our own vension or goat mince; they are equally delicious. If you do not have access to them you could use beef or lamb.
·         Adding some egg to your meat will bind it well and help retain some moisture, but you also do not want the mixture to be too wet. One of the best ways to help balance the consistency is with bread crumbs. Add the crumbs slowly and leave for a while to allow the bread to soak up the excess moisture.
·         Seasoning is really important, especially salt and pepper. I always use my Big Red seasoning (available from, but you can use whatever you like to use, as long as you remember the salt. All the fancy salts look great but remember we need iodine in our diets and iodised salt is a great way to get that. If you are trying something new in terms of seasoning, always fry a small piece in a pan before you make all your patties.
·         It does not really matter what sort of bun you use, but toasting it is important. Toasting your bun creates a bit of a barrier which stops your bun going soggy, and also ads more texture to the burger.
·         Raw onion will always be the predominant flavour whenever you use it; you have gone to the effort of making a great patty, so please cook your onions.

This is my last column before Christmas. Ngā mihi mō te Kirihimete. I wish you and the people you love a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas.

Kia makona,
Mawera Karetai x

The Perfect Burger Pattie
1kg minced meat
1/2c bread crumbs
1 egg
1 carrot, peeled and finely grated
2 tblsp Made by Mawera “Big Red”
Or 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper
1/8 c bbq sauce (recipe below)
1tsp mustard

Mix all ingredients together. Add more bread crumbs if necessary.
Serve your pattie on a toasted bun with good mayo, veges of your choice and a dollop of homemade BBQ sauce.

Mawera’s BBQ Sauce Recipe
10           tomatoes, chopped
1              cup brown sugar
1              onion, chopped
1              lemon, sliced
1/4         cup white vinegar
1              tablespoon salt
1              tablespoon allspice
1              teaspoon pepper
1              tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4         teaspoon hot sauce (I use Kaitaia Fire)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy-based pan.
Bring to a boil, lower heat and cook, uncovered, for an hour, stirring occasionally.

Strain through muslin and bottle in hot, sterilized jars.

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