The humble hamburger has come a long way since its early days. With much speculation about where and when it was exactly invented (there are reports of an early invention using sausage meat in Germany, 1758, while others believe it wasn't until 1900 that American Louis Lassen invented it), the burger has found appeal worldwide. And because of its popularity, the classic has been adapted many-a-time, with variations ranging from double bun to no bun and everything in between. But when it comes to building your own burger, these tips will help make it a success…
Start with your protein
Whether it's a beef, lamb, vegie or tofu patty you're choosing to have as the main star of your burger, opt for quality. Adding herbs and spices to meats and vegie patties, or cooking your tofu a certain way (tempered tofu tastes sensational!), can really make a huge difference to the overall burger.
Suggested proteins: chicken, beef, lamb, tofu, mixed vegie patty, turkey, pulled/shredded pork, lentil patty, haloumi, quinoa & veg, portobello mushroom patty, fish patty…
Work with textures
When you're adding extras, think first about the texture of your patty. If you're working with a lentil of vegie patty (softer in texture), choose a crisp lettuce such as iceberg. It's a great idea to contrast textures as much as you can. Extras such as beetroot, pineapple, bacon & pickles are all delicious, but too many together can be messy & confusing in taste. Stick to a few and balance out your flavours – always keep in mind which sauce you're planning on using (see below).
Fresh onions taste great with lamb burgers, whereas caramelised onions work like a dream on a blue cheese burger. Cheese should never overpower the flavour of your patty, but instead, compliment it. Tip: use thin slices of cheese – you can always add another.
Suggested lettuce: iceberg, butterhead, green leaf, red leaf, oak leaf, romaine…
Suggested extras: coleslaw, avocado, pineapple, bacon, cheese, tomatoes, beetroot, mushrooms, fresh onions, pickles, caramelised onion, grilled tomato, char-grilled capsicum, pickled cucumbers…
Although sauce is mostly a personal preference (think of those who smother their steaks in tomato sauce – Why!?), there are some combos that work like a gem. For a more classic style of burger, including lamb or beef, try tomato chutney, yellow mustard, chilli sauce or tomato.
Chicken burgers taste amazing with mayo-based sauces, including aioli, chipotle mayo, ranch dressing, garlic mayo and remoulade.
If you're planning to go all-out, other sauce options include Thai sweet chilli sauce, hot chilli chutney, basil pesto, teriyaki sauce, sriracha and fruity chutney.
For some great burger recipes, make sure you check out our collection of best-ever burgers.