Summer has well and truly arrived and with that comes the smell of barbeques and the heady scent of frying burgers. There is something about cooking outdoors that seems to warrant the inclusion of the humble burger, but with the recent horse-meat scandal, people are wary of buying ready-made burgers, and possibly for good reason.
However, there is nothing better than a homemade burger, and they are so easy to make, you simply whizz all the ingredients in a blender and there is your burger.
The great thing about burgers is that you can add different ingredients such as spices, herbs, toppings and even condiments, to create your very own bespoke burger. So once you have mastered the basic recipe, you can really go to town using different meats, even fish such as tuna and salmon.
We’ve stuck to beef for this article and hand-picked recipes that come from the UK’s most celebrated chefs. See which one is going to be your favourite for the weekend:
JAMIE OLIVER’S CRACKING BURGERS
For the burgers – 12 Jacob’s cream crackers (smashed until fine), 8 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley (chopped), 500 g quality minced beef, 1 large free-range egg (beaten), sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, olive oil
To dress – 1 cos or round lettuce, 3 tomatoes, 1 red onion, 3-4 gherkins, 6 good-quality or fresh burger buns
Mix all the burger ingredients in a large bowl, divide up into 6 round patties about 2” thick then place in the fridge to firm up. Drizzle with oil then place on the barbeque for 3 – 4 minutes, depending how well you like them cooked. Place them in the buns with lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions and gherkins.
JAMES MARTIN STILTON BURGERS
For the burgers – 450g (1lb) lean mince beef, 1 small red onion, very finely chopped, 2tbsp sun-dried tomato paste, 6tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1 large garlic clove, crushed, 100g (4oz) Stilton cheese, cut into chunks
To dress – 4 thick slices country bread, toasted, 1 small red onion, sliced, 4tbsp tomato relish
Combine the burger ingredients, except the cheese, and season. Mould into four balls, flatten and shape into burgers. Chill until you’re ready to eat. Cook on the barbecue (or fry) for 10 mins, turning once. Then flip them over and top each with cheese. Cook for 5 mins more until the cheese begins to melt. Serve on bread with the red onion and tomato relish.
HAIRY BIKERS MEDITERRANEAN BURGERS
For the burgers – 1 small courgette (grated) , 1 medium onion (grated), 400g lean beef steak mince, 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed, 1 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp dried basil, 1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste or tomato purée, 1 tsp sunﬂower oil
To dress – 4 ciabatta rolls, 100g reduced-fat (light) mozzarella, well drained and cut into 4 slices, 2 large ripe vine tomatoes, sliced fresh basil leaves, balsamic vinegar, for drizzling, ﬁne sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
Combine all the burger ingredients in a bowl until well mixed, then divide the mince mixture into 4 evenly sized balls and ﬂatten each into a patty shape about 2cm thick. Place the burgers on the barbeque and cook gently for about 10 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through, turning them halfway through the cooking time.
When the burgers are cooked, dress them by placing them in the ciabatta rolls which have been cut in half horizontally and grilled, cut side up on the barbeque until lightly toasted. Top each burger with a slice of mozzarella and place back on the barbeque for another minute until the mozzarella has melted. Add some tomatoes and basil leaves on the bottom half of each roll with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and some black pepper, add the sizzling hot burger, top with the remaining bread and serve right away.
JOHN TORODE’S AUSSIE BURGER
For the burgers – 1½kg minced beef , not lean, 2 red onions , finely chopped, 5 garlic cloves , crushed, large handful of parsley , chopped, 75ml tomato ketchup, 50ml oyster sauce, 2 egg yolks
To dress – 6 smoked back bacon rashers, 6 slices fresh pineapple, 6 slices good melting cheese , such as cheddar, 6 burger baps , split in half, 2 tbsp mayonnaise, 12 slices pickled beetroot, 2 large tomatoes , sliced, 1 Cos lettuce , separated into leaves
To make the burgers, mix together all the burger ingredients and knead well so everything is thoroughly mixed. Divide the burger mix into 6 then shape into burgers and place them in the fridge so that they firm up. After at least an hour, place them on a hot barbeque for a few minutes, then turn them over and repeat until cooked. While you are cooking the burgers, pop the bacon and the pineapple on the barbeque to cook as well. To dress the burgers, put the bacon on the burger and then add the cheese and put back on the barbecue to melt. Spread the mayo on the baps and top with the burgers, then add the pineapple, beetroot, tomato and lettuce, finish with the tops.