We don’t eat much beef but more than made up for it this past weekend. I was craving a burger which is a rare occurrence for me. And not just any burger, a double hamburger from a certain large multinational chain with a certain special sauce. The last time I had one of these burgers was well over a year ago. Since then, I’ve stopped eating factory-farmed meat, or as someone recently so eloquently put it “sweat shop meat”! For the past year, the majority of the meat I’ve consumed has been some combination of local, sustainably farmed, organic, hormone and antibiotic free, and, in the case of beef, grass-fed. I have, guiltily, made exceptions for bacon (after all, bacon is the gateway meat). Yet after one year plus of eating delicious, nutritionally superior meat I still crave that burger. What to do? Make your own with natural(er), healthy(er) and local(er) ingredients!
I can’t take credit for this recipe, as my significant other is the chief burger maker in our household. The sauce recipe is a work in progress, I would like to perfect the taste without using store-bought condiments as I generally don’t use pre-packaged salad dressing, etc. But until then, I’ll settle for this better version.
500 g local grass-fed lean ground beef
1/2 red onion, diced
bread crumbs (I still had some in my fridge from way back here – they keep forever!)
Fresh ground salt and pepper
1. Put the beef in a large bowl and let it get closer to room temp so your hands don’t freeze. Season with salt and pepper and mix in by hand. Add the egg and onion and continue mixing.
2. Add bread crumbs, starting with a quarter of a cup and adding more until the mixture becomes tacky and you can pick up large portions without it breaking apart. Separate into four portions (or more if you want smaller burgers). Make each portion into a ball, then flatten to a patty.
3. Pan fry patties on medium, covered, for about 10 minutes, turning once. Uncover and cook another 10 minutes on slightly higher heat, turning once. [Health Canada recommends cooking ground beef until an internal temperature of 160 F is reached.]
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tsp sweet pickle relish
2 tbsp French dressing
2 tbsp finely diced white onion
1 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
fresh ground salt, to taste
1. Combine ingredients in a small bowl and let sit in the fridge for at least an hour to blend flavours, stirring occasionally.
To assemble the burgers, lightly toast some Kaiser buns and top with burger patties, cheddar cheese, shredded lettuce and special sauce. Serve with a fresh salad of mixed lettuce and kale. These burgers are way better than the greasy burger joint ones and so much healthier!
Makes 4 large hamburgers.