In South Africa we are celebrating Heritage Day and being proudly South African means you are going to braai on your Braai Day. This year we have decided to go for the option of burgers instead of going the traditional way of wors, lamb and steak.
I look everywhere for some inspirational recipes and found these wonderful recipes on a local braaier’s website, Jan Braai. Please go view his site Braai. com or visit his Facebook Page, for many adventurous braai’s.
Beef burger with bacon and a cheese sauce
For the cheese sauce:
2 tots butter
2 tots cake flour
2 cups milk (full cream, obviously)
1 tot Dijon mustard
at least 1 cup grated mature cheese (1 cup of grated cheese is
about 100 g, but err on the side of extravagance – I use a mixture of
Cheddar, Parmesan and whatever else happens to be in my fridge)
salt and black pepper to taste (not all cheese has the same salt content)
For the burgers:
1 kg good-quality beef mince
1 tot olive oil
salt and pepper (optional)
1 packet smoked streaky bacon (200–250 g)
6 hamburger rolls (sliced open and buttered on the insides)
lettuce leaves (washed and drained)
2 large tomatoes (sliced)
WHAT TO DO
Make the cheese sauce:
Melt the butter in a pot over medium heat and then add the flour. Stir until the flour is mixed smoothly with the butter, and then cook for 1 minute, stirring all the time.
Pour in the milk bit by bit while stirring vigorously to incorporate it completely and make a smooth sauce. A wooden spoon should work fine, but if you struggle, use a metal hand whisk. Never leave the sauce unattended; believe me, I speak from experience. If at any time you feel you’re losing control, decrease the amount of heat reaching the pot and first fully combine everything already in the pot before adding more milk.
As soon as all the milk has been incorporated, toss in the mustard and cheese. Stir well until the cheese has melted.
Take the pot off the heat and test for seasoning. Add salt and pepper if the sauce needs it. Some cheeses are very salty already and the sauce will only need a decent grinding of black pepper. Keep the sauce aside until the burgers are ready. Reheat and stir just before pouring it over the burgers – and don’t worry about that ‘skin’ forming on top of the sauce, for it stirs away. Alternatively, make the sauce while braaing the patties.
Make the burgers:
Divide the mince into 6 balls, then use your clean wet hands to shape them into patties. Always flatten them a little more than you think, because they will shrink and thicken in the middle during the braai. Brush them with olive oil on both sides.
Put the patties on an open grid and season the top with salt and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, then carefully (yet confidently) flip them over with a metal spatula. Season with salt and pepper, and cook for another 5 minutes on the other side – 10 minutes in total. To be clear, you only turn the patties once on the braai. Every time you turn them, there is a risk of breaking them. Don’t fiddle with the patties while they are on the braai, because it only makes you look like a beginner.
While you’re braaing the patties, also braai the bacon until crispy. You can do this in a pan, or you can lay the rashers out on the braai grid, and also only turn them once. Take care not to drop any bacon through the grid onto the coals.
Put the sliced rolls buttered side down on the grid, then toast until they are golden brown. Take them off the fire. Don’t burn the rolls; it happens easily.
To assemble the burgers: Put a piece of lettuce and 2 slices of tomato on the bottom half of the roll. The strips of crispy bacon go on next, then the braaied patty. Top it off with a generous helping of warm cheese sauce.
Bloody mary burger
WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)
1 tot olive oil
1 red onion (chopped)
1 red pepper (sliced or chopped)
1 tsp paprika
1 tin tomato cocktail juice (200 ml)
1?2 tot Worcestershire sauce
1?2 tot Tabasco sauce
1 lemon (juice)
salt and black pepper
1 kg beef mince
4 hamburger rolls butter
fresh lettuce leaves
4 celery sticks (for garnishing)
WHAT TO DO
Heat the oil in your fireproof pan and fry the onion and red pepper until soft. Add the paprika and fry for another minute.
Add the tomato cocktail juice, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce and juice of the lemon, and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
100% beef mince patties do not need any binding agents like egg or bread crumbs. You just need to braai them like a pro. Start by shaping the mince into 4 evenly sized patties with your hands. If you’re doing this ahead of time, put them on a flat even surface like a plate and keep in the fridge until you braai them. Get the thickness equal all round – we’re not making meatballs remember, and they should not look oval with a hump in the middle when you look at them from the side.
Braai the patties with care. The only way the patties will break apart is if you break them apart. This happens if they stick to the grid, sink into the grid or you turn them all the time – so don’t let any of these things happen. Put the patties down very gently on the grid and do not press on them. The patties are 100% steak so braai them exactly as you would a whole steak of the same size. Braai them on very high heat to seal them quickly before they have the chance to ‘sink’ into the grid. They should spend about 8 to 10 minutes in total over the coals. Once on each side during that time is enough, and twice on each side is the maximum. Don’t fiddle with the patties to check whether they are sticking. As the meat starts to cook it will release fat and juices and usually loosen itself from the grid.
During the final stages of the braai, toast the insides of the buttered rolls.
Assemble the burger, starting with the lettuce on the roll at the bottom followed by the patty. Divide the sauce among the 4 burgers. Add some extra freshly ground pepper and the top half of the roll. Garnish by skewering the burgers with a celery stick, which will not only look cool, but also hold it all together. Serve with additional Tabasco sauce.