Burgers and sandwiches

Burgers and sandwiches

By
Raph Rashid
Contains
14 recipes
Published by
Hardie Grant Books
ISBN
9781742707167
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

I used to be a bit scared of the multi-day music festival for two reasons. The first being that growing up listening to rap music meant that I was quite concerned with staying fresh. From T-shirts to sneakers, the idea of dirt and camping was a bit hard to deal with. But the kitchen is a humbling place – there’s no room for ego. I quickly got over it and got the job done. The second reason was that I was really worried I wouldn’t be able to eat well. To many, the food at a festival is secondary to the music, but I feel the balance is really starting to change and better food just enhances the whole festival experience.

When we first started doing a few festivals here and there, I usually just brought along some extra ingredients for staff meals. Nowadays, there are lots more great food stands as festival promoters are starting to understand the importance of having a good selection of food. I have always thought the best things to eat were burgers and sandwiches. No time for cutlery when you’re running to catch a band.

Here are some of my favourite burgers and sandwiches.

Burgers

Burgers really are one of those foods with different meanings for most people, which is why I don’t like media things like ‘Top 10 burgers’. Burgers are a comfort food and evoke a lot of memories for people. That’s why people get so passionate about having or not having their favourite burger rated in reviews.

Since I can remember, eating burgers has become its own event in my mind – the burger itself was rarely as memorable as the company I was with or the fun I was having at the time. When I was 11, my mum would take us to McDonald’s on a Friday night. When I was 15, I would walk and meet friends at the local fish and chip shop for a burger. When I was 20, I would have barbecue burgers for all my skate crew. I loved these times and the burger event has outdone the burger itself in many ways. Sure the Happy Meal is not the best around, but you can’t replace the fun my brothers and I had tearing around the indoor play centre, or the independence that I felt ordering with my friends at the local fish and chip shop, or the laughs I had with my crew at our barbecues.

It wasn’t until I started travelling through the States at age 25 that I discovered how awesome a burger could really be. I travelled all over the country, from the east to the west coast, eating all sorts of burgers. It didn’t matter whether I was in New York, LA, San Fran, Detroit or San Diego, great burgers always had two things in common – simplicity and attention to detail. Along the way I met some amazing, hardworking people running small diners whose commitment to the burger honestly inspired me.

Once I understood the fundamentals of what I believed made a great burger, I wanted to share it with others, which is why I started Beatbox Kitchen. Beatbox to me is way more than the burger; it’s about community and creating a space where fond memories and distinct neighbourhood moments can form.

My idea of a great burger is something that doesn’t take too long to prepare, is enjoyed with friends and oozes juice. Here are some of my ideas regarding burgers. Please see what works for you.

My perfect burger

I like to keep my patty in proportion to my bread. I hate a bad bread-to-beef ratio, which is why I work backwards from the bread.

Measure your bread roll then press out your patties to be at least 10–15 per cent bigger in circumference, as they will shrink.

Cuts like chuck and brisket with an 80/20 meat to fat ratio work well. Get your butcher to prepare the minced meat with this ratio.

Treat your patty with the same respect you would show a fine steak.

For me the beef needs to be the star; any other topping that is obstructing rather than enhancing the beef needs to go. This is what I build from. I want the cheese to be creamy and mellow, the lettuce to give a little snap and the tomato to refresh.

The onion just helps balance the beef and the mayo. Hot sauce and mustard are there to add some extra spice and sour. Careful though; it’s easy to go overboard.

Cooking a great patty

Heat a barbecue, chargrill pan or frying pan over a high heat.

Season the patty with salt and cook salt side down. Give it a little extra salt while it’s cooking. Flip when a crust has formed and when the sides have also cooked about halfway up, and then add cheese. I like to cook my burgers to medium–rare, which is around 2–3 minutes each side depending on the weight of the patty. Give your patty a minute to rest.

The mayo

The mayo can make or break a burger. I do like a tangy mayo with my burger, which I’ve included below. It’s a good base and if you like it a bit sweeter you can add some tomato sauce. Happy slathering!

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