THE BASH BURGER

Beef

This burger might end up being one of your favourite hamburger recipes on the braai. The bashed burger method is the secret to crispy edges and a juicy burger. The main idea is to not pre make or form the patties but to divide the mince into portions, but those portions of mince on a searing hot cast iron plate or pan and to then use a flat object to bash (smash, strike, hit, beat, thump, slap, smack, batter, pound, pummel, thrash, rap, buffet, hammer, bang, knock; wallop, belt, whack, clout, clip, clobber, bop, biff, sock, deck) the meat into a flatter form resembling a patty.

Here are some basic guidelines to follow when making your Bash Burger:

  • You need something to bash the burgers with. A heavy spatula made from metal will do the job.
  • The less you handle or touch the meat, the better. You want loose ground beef. The more you mould it, the more packed it will become and that is not what you want to achieve.
  • You want lots of air pockets in the beef mince so that the juices and fat released by the cooking can sit there and end up in your mouth. This is why it’s juicy.
  • You want the edges of the burger to be edgy and crispy. Bashing the meat means pieces of mince get very acquainted with the cast iron, and those pieces get very crispy.
  • All you need to add to the beef mince is salt and pepper, nothing else.
  • Use good quality beef mince, with a good percentage of fat, as the fat adds flavour to the burger.
  • Use a cast iron grill pan that you can place directly on the fire. You need a flat surface, that can handle very high heat.
  • Use good quality cheddar cheese and soft burger buns and make the special burger sauce in the recipe below.

Ingredients

(feeds 4)

  • 1kg good quality beef mince
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 soft hamburger buns
  • 8 slices of good quality cheddar cheese

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup mayonnaise  (French style)
  • 1 tot tomato sauce
  • 1 tot Dijon mustard
  • 1 gherkin (normal-sized, chopped)
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper

Method

  1. Prepare your sauce first: Add all the ingredients to a bowl and blend with your stick blender, or strong arm and whisk, until smooth. Alternatively add all of the ingredients to a food processor and process until smooth. And then your last resort will just be to chop everything really finely and mix together. Please note, this sauce is based on google searches of what goes into the sauce used by the Shake Shack burger restaurants in New York. It’s not their sauce or recipe, but it tries to be and I think it succeeds.
  2. Divide your mince into 8 heaps, do not handle the meat too much. Use your recently washed hands and lightly form the meat into a ball and remember to keep the edges of the meat edgy and loose.
  3. Place your cast iron grill pan directly onto the flames to get a nice hot surface. Pour a little bit of olive oil on the pan.
  4. Place your 8 balls of meat on the hot surface and bash them with some pressure with your metal spatula, just once, making sure they are nice and flat and the same all over. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Flip the patties over using your spatula to scrape it loose from the grill pan and season the other side with salt and pepper.
  6. Braai the other side for 3 or more minutes, place a slice of cheese on top of each patty in the last minute of the braai and take it off from the pan to prevent over cooking.
  7. Prepare your burgers by placing sauce at the bottom of the bun, then a cheese patty on top of the sauce, followed then by another cheese patty, and then more sauce if you want. Serve immediately

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