Did you know there was a World Burger Day? Who’s surprised, really. There’s a day for everything now. In fact, according to the interwebs, there are a few days dedicated to the humble burger (seems excessive, no?). May 28 is Hamburger Day, August 26 is Burger Day, September 15 is Double Cheeseburger Day, September 18 is Cheeseburger Day (just in case the single patty felt left out) and the entirety of May is Burger Month, apparently.
Do we need that many events to celebrate the burger? No. But is it a fun excuse to destroy a burger anyway? Absolutely.
With that in mind, we figured we’d offer some tips on how to nail the classic dish at home.
If anyone could start a burger-centric cult, it would be Chef Chris Kronner of KronnerBurger. His obsession is our reward, and he has poured years of experimentation and professional experience into A Burger to Believe In — a veritable opus of burger-focused recipes and tips.
Burger enthusiasts should definitely scoop up the book, but Chef Kronner was generous enough to hop on the phone and share some very tasty tips on how to make better burgers at home:
- Grind your own beef: For the best burger possible, upgrade your meat, and avoid pre-ground, pre-packaged stuff.“With most industrial-made ground beef, they add water to prevent weight reduction through moisture loss,” Kronner explained. This means you’re paying for water, not meat.You can grind your own — if you don’t have a grinder, Kronner’s book has a recipe for a hand-cut patty, but it must be cooked in a pan — or you can ask a butcher to grind it for you. Ask for “a meat with 20 to 30 per cent fat, such as fatty chuck”, but you can also use aged rib eye, rib meat, brisket or sirloin steak. “Ask them to leave the fat cap on”, and to grind it with a medium-sized grinder plate (sometimes referred to as a 3/16ths plate).
- Use more salt: “We season pretty heavily, and we only season the exterior of the patty with salt.” Use more than you think you’ll need; a scant teaspoon per patty is what you need to form a glorious salty crust.
- Steam your buns: Kronner paints his buns with whole butter, and toasts them either on a griddle or in a hot pan. “The residual moisture will steam the buns.”If you’re working with less than fresh bread, add a splash of water to the pan or griddle, cover the buns with a cloche, and let the steam soften and revitalise them for a texture that’s close to fresh-baked.
- Don’t sleep on cheese mayo: The Kronnenburger is all about optimising each aspect of the burger — from buns to pickles — but my favourite detail has to be the white cheddar cheese mayo (which you can learn to make here).If you don’t have time to — or simply don’t want to — make your own mayonnaise, you can emulsify cheese into store-bought mayo with a food processor. “Store-bought mayo is shelf-stable enough that you can add cheese without breaking it.”
Employ these tips, and you might be able to start your own burger cult. Just make sure to hang a pic of Kronner in your compound; it’s important to give credit where it’s due.
This article has been updated since its original publication.