Alongside the lowly hot dog, the hamburger might be the quintessential BBQ go-to for serving the masses. Throw as many as will fit over a medium grill, flip after 5 minutes, slap on a piece of cheese, stuff in a bun and serve; pretty simple, right? Yes, and no. Even when entertaining many people, quality needn’t suffer.
The Meat: Starting last year we made a burger of the week. Some were amazing: the Bacon Swiss Burger and the Cheddar Jalapeno both come to mind. But nothing meets our Sirloin Burger. Made with the trim from our sirloin steaks and seasoned by my Uncle Mike, these have never missed their mark.
Toppings: Bacon is the obvious one here, which I love hidden under melting cheese. I prefer caramelized onions to raw on my burger, I’ll usually put either balsamic or red win vinegar in the pan as I cook them down. Sauteed mushrooms are also divine, especially if used along side a cheese like brie or Gruyere. The acidity is transcendent. You can never go wrong with pickles. Ever. In terms of tomatoes, if you have a local field tomato go for it, but any out of season green house tomatoes don’t add much. As for lettuce; all sexy pictures of burgers have a strikingly colourful leaf of green lettuce. Get that away from my burger. Used shaved head lettuce or skip it all together. Arugula is also a great option for some greenery. Chicken burgers can be paired with something more flavourful, I love roasting red peppers as i grill, they’re really amazing.
Condiments: Try seasoning a mayo, it’s a great way to add flavour to a burger. A chipotle mayo on a beef burger or a pesto mayo on a chicken burger can really elevate your dish. Our grainy mustards from Sarafino are another great addition. their Peppercorn Mustard and Apple Mustard are sublime. For relish, I would suggest you try out the Millionaires Relish from the Pickle Guys.
The Cheese: Skip the Kraft Singles, Susan. Up your cheese game with an Applewood Smoked Cheddar, a Gruyere, some creamy brie and get creative. Almost as important as the meat itself. I have three favourites. The hamburger buns from Ace are killer if you are looking for something crunchier. We bring in buns from Fred’s Bread on the weekends that are lovely, sprinkled with sesame seeds and herbs. But the best in my opinion is the Dempster’s Gold Bun. Like a brioche, soft and eggy, perfect for soaking up those tasty burger juices.