Breaking Down The Aussie Burger: Recipe

The Aussie Burger, who would have thought it would cause such controversy. Last week, David Chang posted his “Burger Manifesto” online. In it he outlined what, in his mind, makes the perfect burger along with a variety of things that should never be in a burger. This article got a lot of attention in the Australian press and food media for one of Chang’s claims:

You know who fucks up burgers more than anyone else in the world? Australians. Australia has no idea what a burger is. They put a fried egg on their burger. They put canned beetroot on it, like a wedge of it. I am not joking you. This is how they eat their burger.

Chang’s perfect burger contains:

…bun, cheese, burger. Sometimes bacon. Ketchup on the side, so I can control it. Pickles—yes! Obviously. And the cheese thing has to be very clear: American cheese only.

We decided to look at Chang’s points one by one while breaking down the classic Aussie burger, in an attempt to develop the perfect Aussie burger recipe, fit to hold its head high in #burgergate. Is Chang right, or is he way off the mark? Let’s find out.

The Bun

We agree that a good quality bun is essential for a burger. No pita bread as Chang suggests is a given however we disagree with his claim that brioche shouldn’t be used. Brioche is fine, but it can’t be the overly sweet brioche that a lot of new burger joints are screwing up burgers with – if you’re going to do brioche you have to do it right, and this is rare. We prefer just a classic soft bun – one that compacts nicely when you hold it, isn’t super sweet and doesn’t fall apart.

Another very important factor is the bun to meat ratio – the bun should be there to hold the burger together, but you don’t want there to be too much bread. Note that the bread to meat ratio in the burger we photographed is misleading, the burger in the photo uses a very soft, airy bun which compacts really nicely to the right density and ratio when you wrap your hands around the burger. If you were using a bun that was already dense to begin with you’d want about half the amount of bread pictured.

Cheese

We’re siding with Chang on this one. We’d always been fond of cheddar in our burgers but ever since the first time we visited Rockwell & Sons and tried their “Double Patty Smash” which uses Kraft Singles, we were sold on the idea that this is the cheese that any self respecting burger should use. It melts onto the beef patty brilliantly, has a great texture and you’d be hard pressed to argue that it wasn’t made for burgers. Unsurprisingly, American Kraft Singles aren’t abundant in Australia but Original Kraft Singles do the trick in just the same way. Most Australians can remember going to school with a Kraft Singles cheese slice in their lunch-box, so we think that including it in our Aussie burger is wholly appropriate.

Beef

We agree with most of what Chang has to say here. Grass-fed beef is certainly not essential and wagyu patties are pointless as they are too fatty. As long as it’s good quality beef that’s been properly ground up with a not overly high fat content you’ve got what you need. As for well done patties – no. Chang is right when he says that medium rare is the way to go. The beef is the star of any good burger so don’t go screwing it up. Use good quality beef, season it with a little bit of salt and pepper you’re good to go.

Sauce

No need to get complicated here. Classic Heinz Tomato Ketchup is what you want – it was made for burgers, just don’t go over the top with the amount you put on there as you don’t want the ketchup flavour to overpower the other flavours of the burger.

Pickles

We really love pickles on our burgers but in an Aussie burger they have no place – the flavour just don’t work with the other flavours. A side of pickles is a different story and we have no issue with serving up our Aussie burger with a side of pickles.

Egg

We’re not sure how Chang can take issue with the fried egg in the Aussie burger. A gooey fried egg is a thing of beauty and is essential. An Aussie burger just wouldn’t be right without it.

Onion

Lightly sautéed, slightly caramelised slices of onion are delicious. Be it a sausage sizzle hot dog or a burger, they just work and are essential in elevating the Aussie burger to another level.

Beetroot

Chang is bang on with his criticism of beetroot in a burger. You don’t want the sweetness that beetroot provides in your burger and the texture doesn’t work either. Some might say that the beetroot is an essential element of any Aussie burger. We say it’s a free country and you’re wrong.

Lettuce

Chang is also right when it comes to lettuce in a burger. It adds nothing to the burger and serves no purpose whatsoever. The crunch isn’t needed and there’s no flavour coming from it – ditch it.

Tomato

We agree that you don’t really need tomato on a burger but screw it, we like it.

Avocado

We might be ditching the beetroot and lettuce but what we are including is avocado. “Smashed avo” is hugely popular in Australia, especially on breakfast menus but for some reason you don’t see it used in burgers here that often. Avocado is everywhere down under these days and personally we’ve been eating it on our burgers well before it became as ubiquitous as it is today. In 2015 putting avocado on your burger is at least as Australian as sticking beetroot on there. Do it.

Regardless of what you think about Chang’s claims or our Aussie burger, we can tell you that we wholeheartedly agree with the last point in his Burger Manifesto. We too, are the ultimate hypocrites when it comes to this sort of thing.

Do as I say, not as I do. When you catch me eating one of these kinds of burgers that I have spoken against, please know that I am the ultimate hypocrite and that I am probably enjoying the shit out of it. Hamburgers are pretty much all good.

What do you think of David Chang’s “Burger Manifesto”. Do you have an opinion on the “Aussie Burger”? Let us know in the comments section below.

david chang aussie burger recipe


Preparation Time: 10 minutes          /          Cooking Time: 13 minutes        /          Serves 1


Ingredients

  • 1 x 200g beef patty, lightly seasoned with salt & pepper
  • ½ tomato, sliced
  • ¼ brown onion, sliced into strips
  • 1 egg
  • ½ avocado, “smashed” with a fork
  • 2 slices Original Kraft Singles
  • 15g Heinz Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 soft bun

Method

  1. Heat a large frying pan with a little bit of butter.
  2. Cut the bun in half and place it on the hot frying pan, insides facing down. Leave until toasty (about 3 minutes) and remove from the frying pan.
  3. Place the beef patty onto the frying pan. Turn every 2 minutes.
  4. After 6 minutes, crack an egg open on the frying pan (away from the beef patty) and at the same time place 1 slice of cheese onto the top of the beef patty. Also start frying the onions at this point.
  5. After a further 2 minutes, remove the beef patty and onions from the frying pan and at the same time, flip the egg and place the remaining slice of cheese on top of the egg.
  6. After a further 2 minutes, remove the egg/cheese from the frying pan.
  7. Assemble the burger in the following order – beef patty, onions, tomato, avocado, egg, ketchup.

Notes

Smashing an avocado basically means using the fork to mush it up until it’s partially smooth but still chunky.

We used Angus beef for our beef patty, however you can use any meat that you want as long as it’s good quality and has a bit (but no lots) of fat.

 

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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