The secrets to Australia’s best burger

The guys at the Burger Adventure know their burgers. The four Melbourne-based friends and bloggers – who insist on remaining anonymous – eat a burger every week (usually Sunday) and report back in detail to a legion of fans. Now in its fourth year, the blog presents an annual “best of” list, a top ten to rival all top tens, crowning the best beef-and-bun combinations around.

This year, despite some stiff competition, the Adventurers anointed the eponymous Merrywell burger at Melbourne’s Crown Complex as the burger to beat for the second year running.

The towering, juicy two-hander is the creation of Ewart Wardhaugh, who previously flipped burgers in Las Vegas. It’s a heart-stopping combination of a soft bun, thick beef patty, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, tomato, special sauce and bacon.

The ever-anonymous G, D, and Z from Burger Adventure present the best burger award to thr Merrywell's chef Ewart Wardhaugh.

The ever-anonymous G, D, and Z from the Burger Adventure present the burger of the year award to the Merrywell’s Ewart Wardhaugh.

“2013 threw a world of terrific burgers at us,” said the boys. “None better than this beauty … The Merrywell burger has everything a burger should – truly outstanding.”

The good news? You can make it at home. The focus is on the freshest ingredients – so no dodgy chuck mince or spongy bun. But aside from that, it’s surprisingly simple.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to building the award-winning burger.

Step one: The right meat

Start with a mix of 350 grams premium Black Angus chuck rib meat, 150 grams Black Angus rump cap meat and 200 grams of beef fat cap. Your butcher can help.

Make sure the meat is totally chilled – you could even put it in the freezer for up to 30 minutes prior to grinding. This is because the grinding generates heat and the heat melts the fat, which will stop it distributing evenly through the patty.


Step two: The daily grind

Grind the three cuts of meat together on the same day you’re going to serve. As with everything in this burger, freshness is key!

Pass the meat through the grinder and form into 170 gram patties. Make sure you don’t overwork the meat as this will cause it to go mealy and tough.

Set patties in the refrigerator to rest for a few minutes.


Step three: Hot pan, plenty of salt

Season the patty with plenty of sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper and place it on a really hot grill or pan.

6-fryingStep four: Flip once, add the goods

When the patty starts to caramelise, flip it once and cook until it’s nice and pink, “medium rare” in steak language. Don’t overcook it! A well-done burger is not a Merrywell burger.

Heap a few spoons of caramalised onion, two crispy strips of streaky bacon and two slices of white cheddar cheese on top of the cooking patty.

10-cheeseStep five: Toast with the most

Take the bun, cut it three-quarters from the bottom (to give a more stable base) and brush with the clarified butter. Lightly toast on the hot grill or pan.


Step six: The rest is best

Take the patties off the grill and allow to sit on a wire rack for a few minutes. This allows the proteins in the meat to relax, meaning your burger will be more tender and less “drippy”.

11-restingStep seven: The assembly

Spread the bottom half of the bun generously with special sauce. The Merrywell wouldn’t give The New Daily the recipe, but we reckon whole egg mayonnaise spiked with Sriracha chilli sauce will do the trick, or find McDonald’s special sauce recipe here.

Top with 4-6 thinly sliced pickles, 2-3 freshly-cut slices of tomato, a drizzle of tomato sauce, a drizzle of American mustard and a small handful of  shredded iceberg lettuce.


Step eight: Final blast and serve

Take your rested patty from the rack and bring it back to the hot grill / pan to heat it up and cook it a little further. Add a dash of water to the pan and cover with a lid or cloche to “steam” the patty and totally melt the cheese.

Finish with the toasted bun top and place on the garnished bun bottom.

Serve (and eat) immediately.



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