Heston Blumenthal Burger Recipe

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Last week I watched Heston Blumenthal’s TV show In Search of Perfection in eager anticipation, as I saw a review that he was on a mission to find and cook the perfect burger.

His journey for burger perfection first took him to the USA, to a small cafe that claims to be the birth place of the burger. Their burgers were simple meat patties served in a white toast sandwich, with runny cheese sauce. Strictly no ketchup allowed.

Blumenthal then went to New York to sample a McDonalds hamburger, which obviously disappointed. He also stopped in on an old friend who served Lady Burgers, or something similar, which were mini bite sized burgers neatly presented, albeit with a bit too much greenery falling out, and not an onion in site.

As we know, the core ingredient in a good burger is the meat. And this is where things started to get interesting for the Burgermeister. Firstly, the steak used is minced, wrapped, and stored for a month. Then when ready, the burgers are sliced directly, rather than moulded by hand.

The reason being that the line of the fibres and tissues in the meat is essential to the flavour and texture of the burger. Also, rather than using just one cut of meat, Blumenthal uses three different cuts, to provide the perfect flavour, texture and consistency for the burger.

Naturally binding burgers are essential to a good burger, remember the Burger mantra NEVER ADD EGG! For this, he used a combination of beef chuck, short-rib meat and minimum 30-day dry-aged beef brisket. Now, this really is going into new realms of burger-discover, as I always use minced meat as it comes from the butchers. I always use the best minced meat available, but have never minced it myself.

For the rest of the burger, Heston Blumenthal prefers a plain white bun with sesame seeds (the seeds are added using an egg wash). The buns are then covered in cheese slices (made with sodium citrate!) and put under a grill.

I am glad to say that this has been my preferred method for sometime now, as it ensures that the bun remains in tact throughout the whole burger eating experience.

His burger sauce obviously has the standard foundation of tomato sauce, mayonnaise and mustard, with the usual extras including onion (sliced thinly and the rings blanched for 20 seconds in boiling water), crisp lettuce and gherkins and other pickles.

The BBC Cooking web page has the full method for making the dough for the buns, the burgers, the cheese slices, the tomato concentrate for the sauce plus a description on how to construct the burger the Blumenthal way.

Take a look, try it out and enjoy. Burger perfection is finally here. We bow to Heston Blumenthal, and thank him for dedicating his time and efforts to improving the knowledge and furthering our cause, of making the perfect burger!

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19 Responses to Heston Blumenthal Burger Recipe

  1. James says:

    The recipe was only on the BBC site for the week following the broadcast- its gone now.I’d be interested in seeing the cheese slice part of it…

  2. Jon says:

    I’ll see what I can dig out on the cheese slices for you.

  3. chris says:

    try this bbc page for the full recipe, including the cheese clices, http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/database/hamburger_87366.shtml

  4. Anonymous says:

    are you still alive after storing your mince meat for a month?not sure thats in the process

  5. Jon says:

    Remember that quality meat is often hung to mature for a month – it is not fresh off the cow. See here: WellHungandTender.co.uk

  6. Anonymous says:

    Actually, it's 30-days aged beef which is left minced for a night. Not sure if even a quality meat would survive _minced_ 30 days — so obvious mistake of the author of this blog. ;)

  7. Jon says:

    Certainly did not mean that the meat should be minced 30 days before cooking. "Minimum 30-day dry-aged beef brisket"

  8. jonc-b says:

    On his tv show he stated that he used 2 parts of chuck to one part of each of the other meats, however in his book his recipes is 2 parts rib-which is correct?

  9. Burgermeister says:

    Maybe both are correct, maybe his preference changed between the book and the documentary (or vice versa) I have only seen the television version.

  10. ann channack says:

    I too was fascinated by Heston making cheese slices, I cant actually remember how he made them

  11. ann channack says:

    can someone give me the recipe for Hestons cheese slices plz

  12. Burgermeister says:

    Well done Richtea, incase that archive page is not always available, this is the recipe from the BBC site. It has the recipe for the bread too, but you can look that up yourself.

    In this recipe, Heston uses grams for both solid and liquid measurements for pinpoint accuracy. To weigh liquids, any suitable container can be placed on digital scales and the scales reset to zero.

    Ingredients

    For the egg wash
    50g/1¾oz whole free-range eggs
    20g/¾oz free-range egg yolks
    dash water
    pinch salt
    sesame seeds, as needed

    For the burgers
    625g/1lb 6oz beef chuck
    25g/1oz salt
    1.2kg/2lb 10¼oz short-rib meat, minimum 30-day dry-aged
    625g/1lb 6¼oz beef brisket

    For the cheese slices
    750ml/1 pint 7fl oz Manzanilla sherry
    9 garlic cloves
    8 black peppercorns
    6 sprigs fresh thyme
    16g/½oz sodium citrate (available from chemists)
    850g/1lb 14oz Comté cheese
    For the tomato concentrate
    3kg/6lb 9¾oz tomatoes, very ripe
    salt, as needed

    For the finished burgers
    250g/8¾oz butter
    8 sliced buns
    16 cheese slices
    grapeseed oil, as needed
    8 hamburger patties
    table salt, as needed
    tomato concentrate, as needed
    mustard, as needed
    mayonnaise, as needed
    pickles, as needed
    3 of the reserved tomatoes, each cut into 8 slices
    ½ onion, sliced thinly and the rings blanched for 20 seconds in boiling water
    1 head crisp lettuce, such as iceberg

    MAKING THE BURGERS
    1. Cut the chuck into 3 x 3cm/1 x 1in cubes and toss with the salt in a bowl. Cover with cling film and store in the fridge for six hours. The salt will penetrate the meat during this time and begin to draw out some of the moisture.
    2. In the meantime, cut the short-rib and brisket meat into 3 x 3cm/1 x 1in cubes and combine the two.
    3. Using a meat grinder with a 3mm plate, grind the short-rib and brisket twice. Refrigerate this meat until very cold.
    4. Combine the cold ground meat with the cold diced chuck and mix well.
    5. Before you begin the final grinding, place two layers of cling film across a chopping board or baking sheet and position under the mouth of the grinder.
    6. Using a coarser, 8mm plate, pass the meat mixture through the grinder. This will retain some larger pieces of the chuck.
    7. As the meat comes out of the grinder, have a second person use their hands to lay out the strands of meat on the cling film. Try to keep the grain of the individual strands running lengthwise in the same direction without getting tangled together. To do this, start laying the meat down at the edge of the sheet furthest from the grinder and work across to the closest edge.
    8. Wrap the meat up tightly in the clingfilm, twisting the ends in opposite directions to form a log shape. Prick a few holes in it with a pin to release any air pockets trapped inside, then continue to twist the ends to tighten until the log is about 12cm/5in in diameter.
    9. Wrap the log in another layer of cling film to keep it from coming apart, and refrigerate until needed.
    10. When the meat has chilled thoroughly, place the still-wrapped log on a cutting board and use a very sharp knife to cut slices about 150g/5¼oz in weight. (The cling film helps to keep the meat from falling apart.) Place the finished patties on a baking sheet and refrigerate for later. If you have more patties than you need, they can be individually wrapped at this point and frozen until needed.
    11. To finish the patties, take each one between the palms of your hands and gently press into a burger shape the same diameter as the bun and 2cm/¾in thick. Take care to keep the grain of the meat running in the same direction.
    12. Cover the burgers with cling film and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.

    MAKING THE CHEESE SLICES
    1. Combine the sherry, garlic, peppercorns and thyme in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
    2. Remove from heat and allow the ingredients to infuse for ten minutes.
    3. Strain the infused sherry, then allow it to cool.
    4. Pour 500ml/18fl oz of the cooled and infused sherry into a pan and whisk in the sodium citrate.
    5. Shred the cheese and add to the liquid in small amounts, whisking each addition until it melts and you have a very smooth, fondue-like texture.
    6. Pour the liquid cheese on to a large sheet of baking parchment and quickly use a spatula to spread it into a layer about 3mm/1/8in thick. Cool completely.
    7. Using a circular cutter or a knife, cut pieces about 10cm/4in in diameter and refrigerate until needed.

    MAKING THE TOMATO CONCENTRATE
    1. Cut the tomatoes in half and scoop the pulp and seeds into a bowl. Avoid damaging the central veins, so that the sliced tomatoes retain their form. Reserve some of the tomato halves for garnish.
    2. Press the pulp through a very coarse sieve to remove any seeds and large pieces of flesh and core.
    3. Pour the liquid into a pan and reduce at a simmer until the liquid takes on a thick, ketchup-like consistency. Stir often as the concentrate thickens, and lower the heat to avoid burning it.
    4. Season with a little salt. The taste will be very intense, but when spread on the buns, it will really enhance the meaty flavours of the burger.

    Throw it all in a bun, or follow the more detailed assembly instructions.

  13. Futura says:

    Hey I just noticed that in the program Heston says the meat proportions are 50% chuck, 25% rib and 25% brisket, however the recipe says 25% chuck, 50% rib and 25% brisket… Who’s right then?

  14. Burgermeister says:

    I would suggest that Heston is right and I got it muddled!

  15. freeracinggames says:

    Watch out what you wish for, you might get it.

  16. Burgermeister says:

    I only wish for burgers and beer.

  17. Thomas Jørgensen says:

    Right, I have now tried to make these, and will share my thougts. I hope they can prove usefull to other homecookers:

    The cheese: It was impossible to get sodium citrate, but then, it’s just a salt, so gave it a pinch of sodium chloride instead. In short: the alternative is, to buy good cheese and use a slice of it. That’s what I will do next time. The sherry infusion and fondue-making was ok fun, but the end result was wet, runny and grainy. I suppose it is done for improved meltability, but in my opinion it’s not worth the trouble.

    The tomato sauce: The ripest tomatoes I could get did not go through a sieve, so I got the peel and stalk off and blended the lot, then strained the seeds and thicker stuff away. The end result was really good, but next time I would try and see, if I can get a bottled plain tomatosauce without salt and boil it down. I think it will be riper tomatoes than I can get, a lot easier and probably cheaper too.

    The buns: These are great. They hold well together, are not too tall or too chewy. The dough was VERY liquid, so scooped it into the foil rings rather than trying to handle them by hand. I will recommend to grease the foil rings so the dough can rise better. Baking time was shorter and temperature needed to be lower; about 10 minutes and 200 Centigrate would be right in my oven.

    The beef: short-rib that has dry-aged for 30 days does not exist. You will have to order it from a good slaugther a bit over a month in advance, then he can make it for you! Instead, I used more chuck, and it worked out well. I thought the patties would be very loose, but they hold together just fine. Not a big hazzle to align the strains of meat as they come out of the grinder, but it’s nice to be two for this part.

    The assembly: If you use enough cheese, it’s not totally necessary to put butter on the buns. Romaine salad is a very good alternative to lettuce. The really nice thing is, that the burger doesn’t get ridiculously tall, and even with fork and knife, the layers stay well together. A good Ale is a terrific companion for the last voyage.

  18. Burgermeister says:

    Thanks for sharing that Thomas, excellent review and feed back. I am suddenly very hungry!

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