Perfect Beef Burger


Photo: Young and Foodish

I caught the end of a programme with Yanni Papoutsis, the original burger chef of MEATWagon/Easy/Liquor/Market fame demo-ing how to make the perfect burger a while ago on TV – can’t remember which channel or programme. But anyway, when cycling through Norfolk this summer with no equipment other than a mini-Opinel knife, a plastic plate, and a disposable barbecue, I remembered the astonishing simplicity of his method, tried it out, and have been a convert since. In a Chinese-whispers sort of way, I’ve told a few others, who have also found the method successful, have used it again at home myself, and think it’s worth recording.

I assume at some point there will be a Meat Liquor book, at which point, refer to that.

When I have the chance, I go to a butcher and ask them to mince the chuck steak for me. It’s not expensive and the meat is extra juicy when freshly minced.

Makes 4 Burgers


450 grams chuck steak mince (or beef mince around 15-20% fat)

1 slice of cheese per burger

salt and pepper

some pickled Jalapeno slices (optional)

4 burger buns (ideally semi-brioche, or soft white rolls), cut in half

How to make:

Divide meat into 4, and gently shape into thin burger shapes (like a McDonalds-ish size). Do not overwork the meat or it will become tough. Place onto a hot griddle or frying pan for 2 ½ minutes, season with salt and pepper then gently turn burger over.

Place generous slice of cheese slice on cooked side of burger facing up, and then rest bun halves around side of pan at an angle so not fully laying on hot surface, and cover pan with a lid of some kind (could be one from a larger pan). The steam under the lid warms and softens the bun wonderfully, and helps the cheese melt. Cook for 2 minutes, until the cheese is melted.

Top with Jalepenos, and place burger in the bun.

Eaten with:

Chips and ketchup. A stiff drink, e.g. Negroni, Martini, or strong beer.

Once I also cooked some sliced onion in the griddle pan with the burgers until a bit charred, and then seasoned them with sumac and lemon juice, and put them in the burger, which was tasty.


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