If you’ve ever wondered why your McDonald’s burger doesn’t look like ‘the one in the picture’, here is your comprehensive answer. Much like models and celebrities are tweaked, styled and photoshopped for their magazine spreads, the humble Macca’s burger gets primped, poked and styled to perfection with the help of food stylists, good lighting, clever tricks and airbrushing. Quite a fascinating look behind the scenes really.
However, if you really want your burger to taste as good as it looks—make it yourself!
Neil Perry’s Perfect Burger
- 1kg freshly ground chuck steak
- ½ – ¾ tsp sea salt
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted
- Tomato sauce, barbecue sauce or mustard (any combination you like)
- 4 slices gruyere
- 4 rashers good-quality smoked bacon (I like the Schulz brand)
- Lettuce and tomato slices
- Sliced pickled cucumber
- Freshly ground pepper
Place the meat in a bowl and sprinkle with salt. Mix gently, then divide into 4. Move each portion from hand to hand for 2 minutes to make a firm but not overworked patty, then shape into a ball. Gently flatten to form 2cm-thick patties. (If you’re making the patties the day before, cover and store in the refrigerator, but take them out of the fridge well before cooking so they are close to room temperature when you cook them. This will ensure even cooking and help the patties retain the heat from the barbecue or pan.)
Heat a barbecue or a frying pan to very hot. Brush extra virgin olive oil over the patties and cook for 6 minutes, then turn and cook for 6 minutes (for medium rare) or until done to your liking. Set the patties aside to rest for 5 minutes. If you want a plain burger, just place a patty on a bun, add sauce and serve.
For a more elaborate burger, place a slice of cheese on each patty to soften as it rests, and cook the bacon on the barbecue. Toast the buns on both sides.
Place the bun bottoms on 4 plates. On each bun, place lettuce, a patty with cheese, bacon, sauce, tomato and, if you wish, pickled cucumber. Add a grind of fresh pepper. Top each with a bun lid and serve with hot chips.