BRILLIANT BURGERS – Best Of Bloemfontein

Admit it! You’re still on holiday – well almost. The kids still are, and there’s not that much to do at work. Better still the festive rush has rushed by, and many feel this is the time of year they actually get to relax a bit. And now that the Christmas catering is over for another 12 months, now’s the time to catch your breath and actually smell the charcoal while you’re having that braai. And what better thing to braai, when you’re half on holiday, than an easy peasy burger!


Make a (burger) impression!

Jamie’s Cracking Burger


Photo via

  • 12 cream crackers
  • 8 sprigs of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 500 g quality minced beef
  • 2 heaped tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 large free-range egg
  • olive oil

Wrap the crackers in a tea towel, smash til fine, tip into a large bowl.

Add chopped parsley, mustard and minced beef.

Crack the egg into the bowl, add a good pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Mix well, and shape into patties.


Middle Eastern burger

  • 500g ground lamb
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 2 medium cloves garlic
  • salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 t sweet paprika
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • 1/2 t ground coriander
  • 1/4 t cayenne

Combine all ingredients and shape into patties. Serve with a cucumber & yogurt sauce.


Three burger patties that aren’t meat (in 60 seconds)


Every minute spent reading is another minute you could be enjoying a mouthful of delicious guilt and meat free goodness with these super speedy recipes:

  1. Portobello mushrooms are the steak of the vegetable world. Just fry ‘em up and top with corn, peas, garlic, and basil.
  2. Make a batch of falafels by blending together 1 tin chickpeas, 1 t chilli powder, 2 T flour, 1 t olive oil, a few leaves of basil 2 t basil. Scoop the mix out with your hands and separate into four or five equally sized balls. Flatten into patties and fry until both sides are crispy and golden brown.
  3. Mix 1 can of red kidney beans, 1/2 cup chopped onion, 1 minced clove of garlic, two cups diced spinach or kale together. Fry for about five minutes and transfer to food processor or blender and pulse while adding 3T teriyaki sauce, your choice of herbs and spices and 1 cup buckwheat or oatmeal. Press into golf ball size balls and then flatten into patties to fry, 2-3 minutes per side until browned and heated through.


The best burger flavour pairings


If you love burgers as much as we do, you could probably eat them every day of the week without getting bored, especially with all of these weird but wonderful burger topping pairings to experiment with…

A few almond flakes and apple slices are a great way to sweeten the deal no matter what meaty goodness you’re biting down on. Use melted chocolate and sage to whip up a burger so delectable you won’t even need desert. Get saucy with a dollop of Greek yogurt (it’s best with red meats) and a few slices of cucumber for added freshness. Load up on Beta Carotene and add some lemon and honey fried carrot slices to your burger. Take a tropical approach with fried banana and coconut shavings. Get adventurous with cinnamon and peanut butter which goes great with ostrich meat, or flaunt your fancy food style with a strawberry and brie on chicken creation! How daring are you willing to get in the kitchen?

Image courtesy of

Hey, hot stuff!


Here’s a fiery homemade jalapeño hot sauce recipe to set your soul alight. All you have to do is combine 1 t vegetable oil, 20 fresh sliced jalapeño peppers, 3 cloves minced garlic, and ½ cup minced onion and a pinch of salt. Sauté for 4 minutes and then add two cups of water and cook for 20 minutes while stirring.  Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature. Purée in food processor until smooth while adding 1 cup distilled white vinegar. Then Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator.


Sauce in seconds


Blue cheese mayo


Crumble 50g blue cheese in a bowl, then fold in 3 T mayonnaise.


Chipotle feta


Crumble 100g feta cheese in a bowl then mix in 2 T chipotle paste. Mash with a fork until well combined.


Tarragon special sauce


Combine 1/2 small bunch fresh tarragon, chopped, 1 T white wine vinegar, 1 small finely chopped shallot and 75g mayonnaise.




Combine 2 T Dijon mustard with 4 T crème fraiche. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Making Better Burgers

Thought burgers couldn’t get better? So did we, until we clocked these hot tips from The Burger Lab courtesy J. Kenji López-Alt


Grind Your Own Beef

Buying store-bought ground beef is a second best. You’re never quite sure when it was ground, what part of the cow it came from, or even how many different cows are in the package. Not to freshness issues, rough handling, and tight shrink-wrap packaging that can lead to leaden patties. Grind your own beef, and not only do you control everything from the meat blend, to the grind size, to the fat content, but even better, you get to tell people that you grind your own beef. Instant street cred.

Keep Everything Really Cold

Until your burgers are fully formed, heat is their mortal enemy. Warm fat is soft and pliable, and tends to stick to your hands and work surfaces. And if that fat’s on your hands, then it ain’t in the burger.

Season Liberally

This is what a well-seasoned patty looks like.


No matter how carefully you select your meat blend, without salt and pepper, your burgers will be dull. Freshly ground black pepper from whole peppercorns is a must.

Do Not Salt Beef until Patties Are Formed


An unsalted vs. salted patty

Salt starts affecting meat the moment it comes in contact with it. It dissolves muscle proteins, which subsequently cross-link and draw out moisture turning your burgers from moist and tender to sausage-like and springy and adversely affecting the exterior texture of your patties. The effect is dramatic. Need proof – see above.

The best time to season your burgers is within minutes of the time they gonna hit the grill or griddle.

Flip Your Burger as Often as You’d Like

An oft-flipped burger cooks more evenly. Flipping your burger repeatedly (as often as once every 15 seconds) encourages faster, more even internal cooking, shaving off as much as 1/3 of your grill time.

Don’t Futz With Your Meat

Working the meat unduly will cause proteins to cross-link with each other. Despite outward appearances, ground meat is not dead. From the moment you lay your hands on it, it is changing dynamically, reacting to every knead, every sprinkle of salt, and every change in temperature. Working the meat unduly will cause proteins to cross-link with each other like tiny strips of velcro, making your finished burgers denser and tighter with fewer nooks and crannies for cheese and sauce catching.

Be a purist

Adding ingredients like onions, herbs, eggs, breadcrumbs, anything to your ground meat not only forces you to over-handle the mix, but it instantly relegates your burgers into the “meatloaf sandwich” category. If you absolutely must add stuff to your burgers—and with a good, well-selected meat blend, there’s really no need to—mix it with the cubes of beef prior to grinding (but don’t add the salt yet!), so that it can be evenly distributed without the need to overwork the beef afterward.

Images courtesy burger lab


Shop at these Best of Bloem winners:

Best take-away burger – Steers

Best butcher – Farm Fellows

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About Best Of

Bloemfontein is limitless when it comes to possibilities. There’s something to do, eat, drink or buy every day of the week.

The Best of Bloemfontein Readers’ Choice Awards celebrates all this and more but, it also gives you the chance to tell us what and who’s the best of the best.

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