This amazing creation cooks the cheese inside the meat. Two burger joints in Minneapolis, Minnesota, claim to have invented the Juicy Lucy; the challenge is to melt the cheese without overcooking the beef.
© 2021 Tom Byng / Quadrille · Reproduced with permission. · Byron: The Cookbook by Tom Byng and Fred Smith (Quadrille, £20) Photography – Martin Poole.
Shape the minced steak into 8 x 90g balls. Flatten them following these instructions, until they are all 12cm wide. They will be thinner than usual.
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.
Put a pair of patties on a chopping board and place 2 Homemade Cheese Slices on top of them. Fold over the corners to make the cheese vaguely circular. You should have a hamburger with a small circle of cheese inside, leaving a border of meat about 1cm wide around it.
Homemade Cheese Slices
200ml DOUBLE CREAM
12 SLICES OF AMERICAN CHEESE (240g IN TOTAL)
75g GRATED CHEDDAR CHEESE
90g FINELY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE
1. Heat the cream in a medium saucepan until steaming. Add the American cheese, Cheddar and Parmesan and beat with a fork or balloon whisk over a low heat until the cheese has melted and the sauce is smooth. Do not let the mixture boil.
2. Remove from the heat and pour the mixture onto a large sheet of non-stick parchment paper. Cover with another sheet of the same size. Gently roll out the mixture, using a rolling pin, until 5mm thick.
3. Leave the mixture to cool, then transfer to the fridge on a tray and chill until set.
4. Remove the cheese from the fridge and cut into pieces suitable for hamburgers, cutting through the paper so that each slice is still sandwiched in paper.
5. The cheese slices are now ready use, or you can store them either in the fridge for up to 3 days, or well wrapped in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Place the second patty on top. Use your thumb and fore nger to press the edges of the 2 patties, working your way round. Make sure everything is sealed; you don’t want any breaks or gaps.
Shape the edges of the hamburger, cupping the sides and pressing into your cupped hands, as you would with a normal hamburger. You should be left with a hamburger that is very slightly thicker than usual.
Cook the hamburgers, but for a little longer on each side. As you ip the hamburgers, be careful not to tear the meat which will allow the melting cheese centre to escape.
Meanwhile, toast or grill the cut sides of the buns.
Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns. Spread a spoonful of Byron Sauce on both halves of the buns.
Top the lettuce with a slice of tomato. Separate the onion into rings and place 5 of these on top of the tomato.
Place the sliced gherkins on the top halves of the buns. When the hamburgers are cooked, carefully place them on 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.
75g TOMATO KETCHUP
35g PICKLED GHERKINS, DRAINED
SEA SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
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.