I have been lusting after a BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger for months now. For so long I have lusted over the joy of a juicy patty of meat, smothered with melted cheese, topped with salty crisp bacon, tangy BBQ sauce, and housed in a delicious soft bun. But after eating various burgers my craving just wasn’t satisfied. Yes, I could have just visited Burger B in Hongdae, but I’m a very lazy girl, and feel Hongdae is just too far to go for food. I live in HBC (Haebangchon) which is actually better known to residents as Ham Burger Central. Our street is actually littered with places selling burgers. There is Burgermine of course, all you can eat burgers but no matter how many I ate, I wasn’t quite satisfied. Phillies, which I will say do a great burger and almost hit the spot but not quite. The restaurant that changes it’s name one a month, currently named Bombs Burger, Indigo and Hungry Dog, but none of these restaurants meet my meat needs. I moved on to Jacoby’s. Jacoby’s has become a phenomenon in the last year after it was shown on a Korean drama, most nights of the week there is an endless queue of Koreans desperate to eat there. But I have never rated it, they are so over-hyped for a mediocre burger. I’ll take the one at Phillies any day of the week. So I did the only thing a fat lazy girl could do and decided to make my own. I came, I saw, and I conquered. They were exquisite and I couldn’t be happier. I scarfed down two in a matter of minutes. Every need was met and I am now sated for the time being.
The first thing that needed to be made were the buns. If I had been to Costco I would have just bought some, but we hadn’t, and you can’t get decent sized buns anywhere else. So I had no choice to make my own. I tried to cheat and found a no rise recipe, and, despite being delicious with melted butter, they were more like scones. My lovely fiancé Niall managed to find this recipe online at allrecipes.com and made these buns. They came out perfectly, which just goes to show you don’t have to be a great cook to make good bread. In fact I think it helps if you are not as you are more scrupulous when it comes to following the recipe!
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon white sugar
5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 (.25 ounce) envelope active dry yeast
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon water
1/2 teaspoons salt
Sesame seeds for decoration
- Combine the milk, 1 cup of water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil then remove from the heat and let stand until lukewarm. If the mixture is too hot, it will kill the yeast.
- In a large bowl, stir together the flour and yeast. Pour in wet ingredients and stir until the dough starts to pull together. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook to mix for about 8 minutes. If not, knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 12 portions They should be a little larger than a golf ball. Make tight balls out of the dough by pulling the dough tightly around and pinching it at the bottom. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. After the rolls sit for a minute and relax, flatten each ball with the palm of your hand until it is 3 to 4 inches wide. You may want to oil your hand first. Set rolls aside until they double in size, about 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Mix together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of water in a cup or small bowl. Brush onto the tops of the rolls and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Position 2 oven racks so they are not too close to the top or bottom of the oven.
- Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove the rolls from the oven and return them to different shelves so each one spends a little time on the top. Continue to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until nicely browned on the top and bottom.
My next job was to make the burgers. I popped over to my local butcher, and chose the cheapest wedge of beef he had and had him grind it up for me. It had a great ratio of fat to meat so was perfect. I like to to add breadcrumbs to my mixture too, probably because my mum does so that’s the way I have always done it.
600g of ground beef
1/2 an onion
1 1/2 slices of bread
2 cloves of garlic
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1/2 a teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of mixed herbs (parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, whatever you have…)
1 egg yolk
Finely chop the onion and garlic and fry off in a little oil for a few minutes just to cook out the raw taste from the onions, then set aside and leave to cool. Meanwhile make the bread into bread crumbs. Put the ground beef in a bowl then add the breadcrumbs. Add the salt, pepper, and mixed herbs. When the onions have cooled add to the bowl and mix everything together thoroughly. Add the egg yolk and mix again, then form into patties. Wrap the patties in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour. If you are not using them all straight away, they will keep in the fridge for a couple of days, or you can put them in the freezer. Fry them in a pan, pop them under the grill or dust down your barbecue. Cook them to your liking with is medium – well for me.
Lastly I had to make the Chips, you can’t have a burger without chips. It would be sacrilege. I have been making Heston Blumenthal’s famed triple cooked chips for the past 2 weeks now. Yes they are somewhat time consuming, but they are well worth the extra effort. If you are spending a lazy Sunday on the sofa watching back to back episodes of Project Runway like I am then, it’s a good way to use your time. I followed Heston’s directions to the latter except I used soy bean oil as its very cheap here, and I just used the biggest potatoes I could find. They turned out well even if they weren’t exactly the kind we get back home.
1kg of potatoes peeled and cut into chips
Oil for frying
- Put the cut chips into a bowl under running water for 5 minutes to wash the starch off.
- Place 2 litres of cold tap water in a large saucepan and add the potatoes. Place the pan over a medium heat and simmer until the chips are almost falling apart (approximately 20–30 minutes, depending on the potato).
- Carefully remove the cooked chips and place them on a cooling rack to dry out. Then place the rack in the freezer for at least 1 hour to remove more moisture.
- Heat a deep-fat fryer or a deep pan no more than half filled with oil (to a depth of around 10cm) to 130ºC. Fry the chips in small batches until a light crust forms (approximately 5 minutes), remove from the oil and drain on kitchen paper.
- Put the potatoes on a cooling rack and place in the freezer for at least 1 hour. (At this stage, if you don’t want to cook and serve immediately, the chips can be kept in the fridge for 3 days.)
- Heat the oil in the deep-fat fryer or deep pan to 180ºC and fry the chips until golden (approximately 7 minutes). Drain and sprinkle with salt.
Once your burgers, buns, and chips are all raring to go, it’s all just a matter of time and assembling from there. Nice crispy bacon, I get mine from Costco, the hickory smoked one, it’s just perfect for a burger. The buns, to toast or not to toast? Personally I like a nice toasted bun. Then add the cheese, to melt or not to melt? I like it melted. Then the salad, for me just lettuce and onion, no tomatoes in my burger thank you very much. Then the condiments, I personally like mayo and a nice tangy barbecue sauce. When everything is ready, serve and say mmmm. Best burger in HBC, fact!