Ok, so the purists will say this isn't EXACTLY what an Aussie burger is but it's my version of what I perceive an Aussie burger to be. Juicy beef, a crispy bun, beetroot relish, garlic mayonnaise and a fresh apple/fennel slaw. This unorthodox burger doesn't have cheese and I've already been questioned on that but trust me it works just fine without cheese!
Burgers - Why I Can't Get Enough Of Them
It's pretty simple really - a piece of meat inside 2 slices of bread! I know, that sounds like a sandwich but a burger is something WAY better than a sandwich. Grilled (usually for us) meat, crispy lettuce or slaw, a sauce (or two) and (usually) cheese. This, a side of fries, a glass of wine and the fact it's quick to cook. You simply can't beat it.
Oh, bonus points as you don't need cutlery and it can be eaten on the couch!!
What Makes An Aussie 'style' Burger
For me being Scottish, growing up in Ireland, doing 5 years in NYC and now 4+ (so far) in Australia when I think of an Aussie Burger my mind jumps straight to beetroot. So for my play on the Aussie burger, I have made a beetroot relish instead of the typical pickled or canned beetroot you would see in the burger.
The 'original' burger contains a serious mouthful of toppings from bacon, lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, fried egg, grilled pineapple (I know - and you thought it was only crazy on pizzas!) and beetroot. I reckon half of that would end up on your lap if I was to try to fit my mouth around it!
My version of the famed burger keeps it neat, tidy and simple. Spicy beetroot relish, garlic mayonnaise, good quality beef - grilled to perfection, a toasted bun and wanting to keep it fresh and full of flavour I went with an apple & fennel slaw. Living in QLD it's warm all year round (although they seem to find 13c cold here) so when I'm grilling some burgers I like to add some element of freshness to it.
This is what makes this burger an Aussie Burger!! I had never had beet on a burger until I lived in NYC. I went to brunch in this restaurant in the West Village and ordered the burger and that slice of beetroot in the burger just took it to a whole new level! I've been wanting to replicate it for a while now but didn't wanna ruin that experience. So here is my version! The beetroot relish is incredibly simple to make. Literally just chuck all the ingredients into a large saucepan and let it simmer away for 20 or so minutes!
Peel and grate the beetroot (wear gloves - you have been warned), slice the onions finely and then just get a saucepan. Weigh/measure out the balsamic, sugar, salt, water and (optional) spices. It's really that simple. Whilst that's doing it's thing you can get the rest of the ingredients ready.
There are tons of beetroot relishes you can pick up in the local store if you are in a hurry. Just sub in one but truthfully aside from the mess of grating the beets it's pretty darn simple!
Making The Burger Patties
A lot of people get too technical, buy too many fancy tools or don't pay any attention at all to this. I'm in the middle. I don't have anything fancy but I pay attention to what I'm doing - well, my wife would say differently!!
The shaping of the patty will make the difference between just eating a load of bread or having a harmonious bite every time! My tips are to find something circular - say a plastic lid or a ring mould. Make sure it's larger than your bun as the meat will shrink when cooking.
I work with about 150g sized patties but anywhere from 130-160g will work too. Shape the burger into a smooth ball and then press it into the mould to form the shape. Remove from the mould and press gently down on it again to make it just a smidge bigger. I know, I know it seems weird but it works!
All you need is oil and salt and a hot pan or BBQ grill and that's it. Don't press down on the burger when cooking as this will squeeze all the juice and flavour out of it.
Now, this is where it MIGHT get complicated...... One of my favourite burgers is a smash burger. To make this you roll the burger into a ball and using a hot cast iron pan or BBQ plate you smash the burger down as hard as you can until it's flattened. But didn't you just say not to press down on it?? Yes, I did. That's why when making this style of burger you need a higher fat: meat ratio than normal. Using wagyu mince is great but if you can't get any then you want at least 25% fat in the meat in order to keep it moist.
My first introduction to Molly Dooker wines was living on the UES of Manhattan. There was a bottle shop right by the subway near my house that I used to frequent. The packaging was what first caught my eye and upon reading the story behind it and the Dooker shake I had to try a bottle. The Two Left Feet was the first one I had and very quickly I went back for The Boxer & Blue Eyed Boy.
For those of you who don't know, Mollydooker means left-handed in Aussie slang. This is fitting as both Sarah & Sparky (owners) are lefthanded. Their tale of success, hard times, friendship and success once again is an EPIC read. So, I won't destroy it by re-writing it but I would thoroughly recommend clicking HERE.
When you see comments from esteemed wine connoisseurs like Robert Parker like "‘The greatest red wine values in existence… Run, don’t walk and secure as much as you can of these wines!’". What's more back in 2006 rating their wines 'best value red wine in the world' AND 'second-best value wine in the world'. You know these guys are doing something right!
Their commitment to quality is second to none and many vintages have passed where some wines weren't bottled at all as they weren't 100% sold on the quality. These days you can find them in the stunning winery at 23 Coppermine Road, McLaren Vale.
Oh and don't forget the MOLLYDOOKER SHAKE!!
MollyDooker 'Two Left Feet' Wine
Right, onto the most important part of your burger dinner and that's the wine! This recipe (if I do say so myself) is paired to perfection with the MollyDooker 'Two Left Feet' Shiraz, Merlot, Cabernet blend.
Described as this is "how you dance" after a few glasses of MollyDooker wine. Although, in my case no wine necessary for that!! It's not a light sipping wine for the faint-hearted. It's a wine that requires a good decant (or dooker shake) and/or time in a bottle. I gave mine a dooker shake, poured a glass and popped it in the decanter for an hour before dinner. Boy, was I rewarded.
The shake is all about shaking up the nitrogen which is used to minimise sulphites and protect the wine. It also helps in aerating your wine but given it's a 2019 drop with 15.5% alc I like to let it breathe as much as possible. To shake the wine you need to pour a drop of wine out (into your glass of course) and then (after putting the lid back on) give it a good shake. Turn that bad boy upside down and go to town! There is a great video on it HERE.
Now, back to the wine. Yes, it's big, yes it's full but boy is it good!! It's got bold flavours of vanilla, plum, some smokiness and dark fruits too. The tannins are ever-present but not overpowering and the finish has great length and simply put a solid amount of moreish. For a wine at $30, I can 100% see why it's rated so highly amongst the wine community. Shake and drink now or be rewarded in the future if you have the ability to contain yourself 😉
FAQ's & Tips
Approx 7-10 days in the fridge so either enjoy these burgers again or use it on sandwiches, nourishing bowls or on a cheese platter
A squeeze of lemon. If you are making this in advance for a party then squeeze a little lemon over the slaw and toss to combine - it'll keep everything fresher for longer
100%. Resting all meat and fish is essential. The resting of the meat/fish allows all the juices to be redistrubuted leaving you with a juicer burger and less mess everywhere too
Many independent wine shops throughout Australia & America stock them but the best way to do it is through their CLUB - some epic deals and perks to be had!
Alternative Burger Recipes
I have a whole heap of them on my site and there that section is only going to grow so get on it now, bookmark it and enjoy!
Happy Cooking & Happy Eating Friends!!
- 600 g beef mince *see tips*
- garlic mayo
- 4 brioche buns
- 1/2 bulb fennel & fronds
- 1 green apple
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 500 g beetroots approx 4 beets
- 1 small red onion
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/4 cup balsamic
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 anise optional
- 1/2 tsp chilli flakes optional
- Chef Knives
- Chopping board
- mixing bowl
- large saucepan
- wooden spoon
- BBQ or grill pan
- circular shape ring to shape the burger
- Peel & grate beets and slice the onion thinly
- Place all ingredients into a large saucepan, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer
- Cook for approx. 20 minutes until reduced and syrupy
- Allow to cool and store in the fridge
- Divide the mix into 4 x 150g balls and roll until smooth(ish)
- Using a round shape *see tips* larger than the size of your burger buns press the beef mince into it to form the shape of the burger patty
- Season and drizzle with oil
- Cook on the BBQ @ 200c for 2-3 minutes per side for a nice medium burger
- Allow to rest for 2 minutes before serving
- Slice the apple & fennel thinly and toss with a handful of the fennel fronds and a squeeze of lemon *see tips*
- Toast the burger buns (optional), and place a tbsp of mayo/aioli on the base of the bun
- Add a handful of slaw to the base, top with your rested burger patty and a generous spoon of beet relish
- Grab a glass of Mollydooker ‘two left feet’ in one hand and your epic burger in the other
- when cooking burgers I like to use higher meat:fat ratio to make them extra juicy
- use a ring mould or lid from a plastic container when shaping the burger – make the patty 1-2cm larger than the bun as it will shrink slightly when cooking
- instead of using a mould, you can create a ‘smashburger’, this is where you place the ball of meat directly onto a griddle and use a heavyweight to smash it down. Use a ratio of 70:30 (meat:fat) as when smashing it you will dry it out
- adding the lemon juice to the fennel/apple slaw will keep it looking fresher for longer