hudsons heroes

wagyu beef burgers, oz style

So I guess it’s about time that I came clean. You see, gentle readers over the last year or so, I’ve been becoming more and more enamoured with one of my suppliers. And I know it sounds incredibly cliché in an Alice from the Brady Brunch kind of way, but I have to admit it to myself and share my shame. Yes, I have a crush on my butcher.

It’s been building for quite a while now. Well, ever since they opened Hudsons Meats in Surry Hills last year really, but I’ve found myself looking increasingly forward to the meat procurement part of my weekly food shop. Every time I went in, I came out with some top quality produce and usually having learned a thing or two about meat. You can see the attraction? Right?.

To be honest, I don’t mind which of the three butchers serves me: Colin, Ardie or the young gun Phill. I’m just happy to be there, looking at the produce and getting excited about whatever I happen to be planning to cook.

One of the things that really got my attention in the early days was when I rocked in one afternoon in search of some dry aged rib eye to barbeque that evening. As luck would have it Hudsons do their own dry aging but unfortunately they were only 5 weeks in to the 6 week process so they weren’t going to be able to sell me any on the day. The discipline and care really shone through and I made a mental note to come back for the rib eye and settled for some sirloin for that night instead.

Nothing is too much problem for the Husons boys. They didn’t even baulk when the Irishman called to see if they could bone out some oxtail so he could make an authentic ragu a la Heston Blumenthal. One of my workmates was in there recently and asked whether they stocked pomegranate molasses. And while they didn’t at the time, the boys did happen to have an opened bottle out the back which they gave to my mate because they could get more in so easily. Talk about customer service.

On the weekend I was in there in search of some minced wagyu to make some seriously delux burgers that I had seen in Tuesday’s Good Living. After a bit of a chat about the end use, Ardie recommended we go with tri tip as it was a cheaper cut that would work well in the burgers. I’d been tossing up whether to follow the recipe and add breadcrumbs and egg to bind so I posed the question. ‘Absolutely not’ was the response. Followed with the advice to sweat some onion allow it to cool. Then stir through the beef and season well and give it a good knead to get the salt working on the proteins to help it bind.

I’m pretty confident in saying that you’d be hard pressed to find a burger better than these. And while they won’t be getting any heart foundation ticks, ever, to quote Jules from Pulp Fiction and seconded by my favourite Irishman: ‘They sure are a tasty burger.’ The richness and moistness from all that fat makes for one luscious, juicy, flavoursome burger taking the fast food staple to a whole new level….all good things.

wagyu beef burgers oz style
serves 3

Inspired by Jane & Jeremy Strode’s wagyu burgers from last Tuesday’s Good Living section of the Sydney Morning Herald.

By all means play around with the fillings. But remember that if you’re making an Australian burger, the beetroot is a definite must have as it lends a lovely earthy subtle sweetness that also matches well with the horseradish. Even if you’re not normally a fan of tinned beetroot on your burger I urge you to trust me and give it a go.

The horseradish cream gives a potent kick which contrasts beautifully with the rich beef but next time I’m thinking of having a go with some homemade tomato sauce (that’s ketchup folks) something along the lines of the tinned tomato, tomato paste & red wine vinegar base from my recent chorizo and bean creation (sauce part only).

2T olive oil
1 large brown onion, finely chopped
500g wagyu beef or other marbled beef, minced or ground
1 large beetroot
2 medium roma tomatoes
1 head cos lettuce, leaves washed
2-3T fresh horseradish, finely grated
200g creme fraiche or sour cream
3 pannini or your choice of bread roll

Preheat oven to 200C. Scrub beets and trim tops. Wrap in foil and bake until beet is soft approx 1hr. Heat oil in a medium saucepan and add onion. Cover and cook over a medium low heat until onion has softened but not browned approx 15mins. Allow to cool completely then combine with the beef.

Season very generously and then work or knead the mixture for a few minutes to free up the protein and help with binding. Form into 3 patties and place on a clean plate. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30mins or until needed.

Preheat BBQ hotplate and cook burgers to your liking over a medium low heat, turning every few minutes to develop a lovely crunchy crust. Because you’re using freshly ground meat I’d be happy with rarer than normal although you do want the fat to be melting and juicy.

Combine crème fraiche and horseradish to your taste. Halve your bread and if you’re worrying about the burger being too thick to bight through, scoop out some of the bread and discard or save for another use. Lightly toast the inside of each roll on the BBQ or under a grill.

To serve, spread crème fraiche on both insides of each bun. Place a layer of lettuce over the base and then top with sliced tomato. Season tomato with salt and pepper then top with the beef and a slice of beetroot. Squash on the lid and enjoy with plenty of serviettes for hand wiping.

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