Byron: The Cookbook
Our signature hamburger: a classic combination of beef, melted Cheddar and dry-cured bacon with a dollop of our famous sauce.
© 2020 Tom Byng / Quadrille · Reproduced with permission. · Byron: The Cookbook by Tom Byng and Fred Smith (Quadrille, £20) Photography – Martin Poole.
You Will Need
Preheat the grill to high.
Cook the hamburgers to your liking following these instructions:
GRINDING THE MEAT
Always grind the meat on the day you intend to use it.
Ask your butcher for chuck steak, ground twice through a 4–6mm plate.
To mince beef at home, cut the chuck steak into 1cm cubes and place in the freezer for 15–20 minutes to make sure it is very cold. You can also put the mincer in the freezer.
Good mincing attachments are available for mixers. A small, stand-alone electric mincer is great; an old-school hand mincer will do.
FORMING THE PATTIES
Divide the mince into 180g portions and roll by hand into balls. Place onto squares of greaseproof paper.
If shaping by hand, take one portion between your palms. Cup the edges of the mince with one hand and push with the other. Turn your hands as you press them together and shape the mince into an even patty about 12cm wide and 1.5cm
If using a burger press, buy one that will give you a 11–12cm wide burger; they are easy to find online. Put one 180g ball of mince between two sheets of greaseproof paper (usually provided with the burger press) and follow the instructions.
Store the patties separated by squares of greaseproof paper. Wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cooking.
CHOOSING BURGER BUNS
The best buns are homemade – see page 58 for my recipe. Alternatively, find a local baker who bakes burger buns.
In the supermarket, always look for an “enriched” dough – something with a little butter and some egg in the recipe. Try giving shop-bought buns a gentle squeeze: they should give a little, and not crack on the surface.
Meanwhile, toast or grill the cut sides of the buns.
Spread the Byron Sauce evenly over the top halves of the buns.
Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns and add a slice of tomato. Place 5 onion rings on top of each tomato.
When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer them to a small roasting tray. Top each one with a slice of Cheddar and 2 slices of bacon. Place under the hot grill on the highest shelf. Watch carefully and remove the tray from under the grill as soon as the cheese has melted. If using a BBQ, follow the instructions for melting cheese on page 16.
Carefully place the hamburgers onto the bottom halves of the buns and bring the 2 halves together.
Serve with a gherkin spear on the side.
MAKES PLENTY FOR 4 HAMBURGERS
Our flagship burger sauce:
simple, appropriate and delicious.
1. In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise and ketchup.
2. Very finely chop the drained gherkins and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
3. Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.