Ember yard smoked burger with smoked spanish cheese

Ember yard smoked burger with smoked spanish cheese

Grill Smoke BBQ
Kris Kirkham

Since we do tapas at Salt Yard Group, I never thought we’d become known for our burgers. But times change, and now we’ve got two hits under our belt: the Opera Tavern’s Ibérico pork and foie gras burger, and this one from Ember Yard – which is not just any old burger, as you’ll see. We decided to cold-smoke the beef rump before grinding it with some lardo (pork back fat) and shaping it into burgers. Topped with the smoked Basque sheep’s cheese called Idiazabel, and served with lashings of alioli and chorizo ketchup, it’s been such a success that we daren’t take it off the menu.


Quantity Ingredient
cold-smoking device
some fine oak wood chips
400g good-quality minced beef, (ideally aged rump, freshly minced – ask your butcher nicely)
1 medium shallot, finely diced
1 1/2 tablespoons dried breadcrumbs
2 teaspoon full-cream milk
40g chunk of lardo or fatty pancetta, frozen
60g idiazabel, or other good smoked cheese, grated
4 small, soft burger buns
4 teaspoons see method for ingredients
or quality storebought alioli
4 small leaves butterhead or gem lettuce
4 teaspoons see method for ingredients
1/2 small red onion, very finely sliced into rings
4 pickled guindilla peppers or green chillies, to serve
sea salt
black pepper


  1. Set up the cold-smoking device in the barbecue with the wood chips and get it going.
  2. Spread out the mince on a small baking sheet. Place in the barbecue, close the lid and vent and cold-smoke for 1½ hours. Remove the smoked mince from the barbecue, cover and leave in the fridge to rest for at least 6 hours, or overnight.
  3. Light and set a barbecue for direct/indirect cooking.
  4. Transfer the smoked mince to a bowl and add the shallot, breadcrumbs, milk and plenty of seasoning. Grate the frozen lardo or pancetta directly into the mince, then mix everything together very well. Before shaping the burgers, I like to fry off a little bit of the mince mixture to check the seasoning. Taste and adjust as necessary, then divide the mince into quarters and use your hands to mould into four burgers.
  5. Place the burgers on the grill in the direct heat zone and cook for 2 minutes on each side to lightly char, then transfer to the indirect heat zone. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese on top of each burger, then close the lid and leave for 5 minutes until the cheese has melted and the burgers are cooked to medium (good mince can happily be left a little pink). To check if they’re done, press one with your finger – the meat should spring back into shape. Rest the burgers in a warm spot for a couple of minutes while you get everything else ready.
  6. Cut the burger buns and quickly grill the cut side to add a little char. Spoon some alioli on the base of each bun, followed by a lettuce leaf, a spoonful of the ketchup, then a burger, some red onion slices and the top of the bun. For a natty, restaurant-style presentation, spear a guindilla pepper or green chilli onto a skewer, then push the skewer right through the burger. A crowd-pleaser, if ever there was one!

Serve with

  • Beetroot with blood orange, almonds and chard; Ibérico presa with jamón butter
Ember Yard
Salt Yard
Opera Tavern
Soho restaurants
small plates
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