Watch: How to make the perfect burger at home
With barbecue season nearly upon us we asked Manchester restaurant Grill on the Alley to show us how it's done
Anyone who's eaten out in Manchester lately can't fail to have noticed the city is in the midst of a gourmet burger boom.
From dirty food trailblazers like Almost Famous and Solita to newcomers like Filthy Cow and the soon-to-be-opened Burger and Lobster, diners are spoilt for choice when it comes to pimped-up patties.
But when it comes to making your own at home, the simpler the better - so with barbecue season finally upon us, we asked Grill on the Alley, whose classic Blackhouse burgers have been flying off the menu since it opened in 2006, to show us how it's done.
Craig Kirk, head chef at the Ridgefield restaurant, said: "Burgers have been a staple on our menu since we started.
"Over the last few years burgers have become really popular, with the likes of Byron and Almost Famous opening, but we've had a consistently great offer and they've always been really popular - long may that continue."
Using top quality beef mince is key, and Craig recommends asking your butcher for a single-muscle mince made from chuck steak - a shoulder cut.
"It's good for burgers because it gets a lot of exercise in an animal's life which makes for a more flavoursome meat, and using one cut means you get consistency," he said.
All it then needs is a little seasoning before being shaped into patties and cooked on the barbecue or griddle pan and served in a toasted brioche bun with your choice of toppings.
Paul Moran, group managing director of Living Ventures, which owns the restaurant, said: "We work very closely with our Manchester-based butcher to source and produce the best quality burgers, which have been a firm favourite since we opened back in 2006.
"Despite the current burger boom in Manchester, our burgers remain as popular as ever with our loyal customers who return to enjoy them time and time again."
Beef mince (200g/7oz per burger)
Toppings of your choice (Craig used grilled bacon, gouda cheese, sliced red onion, tomato, lollo bionda lettuce and Grill On The Alley's secret recipe burger sauce)
1. Season the mince with salt and pepper and mix thoroughly by hand
2. Shape into patties about an inch thick (You can do this by hand or buy a burger press for a few pounds from any good homeware shop)
3. Lightly oil the patties and cook on the barbecue or a scorchingly-hot griddle pan for four to five minutes, flipping once halfway through
4. Let the burgers rest for two to three minutes to let the meat relax and get the juices back in while you toast the brioche buns
5. Build the burger with your choice of toppings and enjoy
Solid, honest and simple proper food. Job done.
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