What is the greatest thing since sliced bread? Getting that combination of delicious ingredients in between it perfected.
Despite no-one actually knowing why today is crowned with the legendary title, it’s International Burger Day.
— Lewis Shields (@lewisshields) May 28, 2015
While most of us don’t need an international day of celebration as an excuse to eat the beloved burger, there’s no doubt we’ll use it. Whether you enjoy succulent Wagyu beef, southern fried chicken, tender lamb or a spiced vegetable patty, there’s no shortage of variety on the burger bandwagon. If you’re only just jumping on board, then you should know there is no one secret recipe for success. Speaking to some of the best in the Wollongong business, there does appear to be one unifying element in the scientific method: quality ingredients.
“The simplest way to put it would be a lot of simple elements, done well, all put together. If you look at that as the overall picture and you’re making fresh patties every day out of beautiful, organic, chemical, hormone free beef that would be one step of making a great burger,” Bush’s Fresh Meats William “Big Willie” Wallace said.
“Also, it’s got to be excellently seasoned and have a beautiful, wholesome, real, not hollow bun. Just good quality bread, and the condiments of course! The condiments are exciting and a great, melted cheese. Each individual item, done well and put together.”
There’s no shortage of passion or ingredients in perfecting the art of burger making. In the end, however, you can’t create the Holy Grail without the essentials. Here’s the lowdown:
The perfect pair
The vegetable patty might just scrape a pass here but the experts say it’s all about achieving a winning meat and bun combination.
“It comes down to two things. The first one’s the bun. Good bread’s always important; you want that nice, soft, freshness. You don’t want it over-toasted or over-steamed,” Dagwood head chef Matt Manning said.
“The second element comes down to the patty. You definitely want a nice, fatty, meat patty and get those juices out. You don’t want to overcook it. For wagyu beef you want it medium-rare with that nice bit of pink in the centre. We also house bake the buttermilk rolls we use.”
2 Smoking Barrels head chef Gavin Tids is also fond of the duo. Although he has one special addition, “A good balance between meat and bread with a good combination of lots of sauces. We put three sauces on ours because it tastes good,” he said.
For the best buns in the business, some search far and wide (or a short commute daily to Sydney) to provide their customers the goods.
“There’s not just one thing but for us, we drive to Sydney for our rolls every day to get what we think are the best rolls you can get. So for us it’s the buns but then you go through to the patty and we feel like we only use the best meat. Then we do our own gherkins and we source our own cheese, so for us it’s every element of it,” His Boy Elroy Manager Ben Hudson said.
The pulled pork take over
While the meat and bun combination is still most common, the pulled pork roll is sneaking up there as a strong contender by slowly dominating the wider burger community.
The Heritage Kitchen’s pulled pork roll packs the most succulent punch. Slow cooked in a 300 kilogram Yoder Wichita BBQ smoker the tender meat melts in your mouth. Enclosed in a delicate brioche bun, filled with house made slaw, smokey BBQ sauce and a few dollops of miso ranch this one is sure to satisfy.
It’s such a simple concept but a fine balancing act of the tastiest ingredients. Listen below to what University of Wollongong students have to say on their favourite combinations: