Jamaican Pork Burgers

Again with the Caribbean theme! These spicy little beggers are fantastic with my mango salsa, or with a dollop of yoghurt, or maybe just some extra hot sauce, if you’re nuts.

It's fabulocious, mon! (Note: not fabulocious when raw) (Ignore the kebabs)

Ingredients

Serves four hungry people

  • 500g/1lb of pork mince
  • Zest and juice of a lime
  • 1tsp of fresh thyme and oregano, chopped finely
  • 1/2tsp ground allspice
  • 1tsp harissa paste. Harissa is a chilli paste, typically Moroccan. But hey, it really works.
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • One large red chilli, chopped finely
  • 1tsp crushed chilli flakes
  • 2tsp grated ginger root
  • 1tsp salt, and pepper to taste


Recipe

Ad with an 'action shot' of my Jamaican Pork Burgers.

Again pretty simple – combine the ingredients, and mix well. You may find that the lime juice makes the mixture a little wet – if so, add breadcrumbs. Divide the mixture into four, form a ball from each part, and compress the ball to give you a burger. These are four fairly hefty burgers, so you could potentially make five.

Spicy and fantastic with a cold beer (substitute Red Stripe, or other Caribbean beers!)

Spicy Beef Burgers

It’s recipe time. This one was really a spur of the moment thing: we had some minced beef; MattBurgers had already been done at MattFest, and I fancied something different. This is a slight twist on my Indian Turkey Burgers, removing a little of the rawness of the onion by pre-cooking a few of the ingredients. So, you’ll need:

Ingredients

  • One pack of minced beef (1lb/500g). As I’ve said before, don’t get stuff that’s too lean – you need the fat to keep the burgers juicy.
  • Half a yellow bell pepper, chopped quite small
  • Half a large red chilli, chopped very finely
  • Two cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Half a red onion, chopped quite small
  • 1tsp medium chilli powder, 1/2tsp ground cumin, 1tsp garam masala, 1tsp ground coriander
  • 1tsp each of nigella (black onion) seeds and black mustard seeds, ground
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Quite a list, as usual for my spiced stuff. You could substitute a few of the spices for a good curry powder (note: not chilli powder), but if you do it my way, you can control quantities to your liking.

Recipe

Fried onion, garlic, pepper and chilli
Begin by frying the onions, pepper, chilli and garlic on a medium heat until softened (about 3 minutes, stirring frequently). Add the ground nigella seeds and mustard seeds and cook for another couple of minutes.

When done, tip onto a plate, or such, and leave to cool almost completely (see above left). Once cool, the recipe is pretty simple! Combine the rest of the spices with the meat and the fried onions and pepper. If the mixture is too wet, add some breadcrumbs. You shouldn’t need an egg, as the oil used to fry the onions will moisten the mixture to begin with.


Mmm, spicy beef... ignore the sausages
Grill as usual (around 5 minutes per side) on the barbecue. Delicious!

Barbecue 11: The afternoon after

We hastened on with barbecue 11 on the Sunday after MattFest 2010, to use up a few of the spare ingredients we had. A simple affair (so much so that I forgot to take enough pictures, d’oh!), but a tasty one.

I'm really loving this thing.

Weather

Swelteringly hot, which is nice. We had the gazebo up to cool down underneath, and Gem’s mum and sister around to gobble up remaining food.

Food

On the menu this time was whatever was left! Two beef burgers, two lamb and mint burgers, and four cumberland sausages (time for a Top Matt Tip: don’t prick sausages on the barbecue. They lose all of their juices, and the fat makes the charcoal flare up). We also had some very tasty garlic tomatoes with the burgers – yum.

Cream. Cheese. Frosting. Need I say more?
Being as there was plenty of American-themed dessert going spare, there were even cupcakes! You don’t need to comment saying how jealous you are of these cupcakes. But you could if you want.

That’s it for eleven… simple stuff. Often, the best barbecues are the quickest!

Barbecue 10: MattFest!

It’s my 26th birthday! Or at least, it was on the 19th (just making sure you don’t forget for next year). Every year, around the time of my birthday, we hold a barbecue with a fancy dress theme – thus the birth of MattFest (home of MattBurgers). This year, the barbecue was on the 22nd, and the theme was America. As usual, people rose to the occasion…

Weather

It turns out (for once) that the 22nd was the hottest day of the year so far, so no rain!

Food

Given that Gem‘s mum bought me the grilling holy grail that is a Charcoal Chimney for my birthday, this was its first outing. We had veggies coming too, so had to resort to using a disposable barbecue for the veggie-only food (more on that shambles later).

Burgers, Chicken and Frankfurters!

The theme was American, so naturally there were MattBurgers! As a twist on the normal sausages, we also went with frankfurters (which barbecue quite well), along with some normal cumberland sausages, chicken with a dry peri-peri rub (confessions: 1. I didn’t make this, 2. It’s not really American. Sorry), and a few other beef/lamb burgers that people bought with them.

Matt's Barbecue Moral #4: Never, ever use disposable barbecues.

For the veggies, the food was handled by Chris. Quorn burgers, quorn sausages, corn on the cob and some quite tasty-looking cheese and leek potato sausages. I’ve got no beef with veggies (ho ho, see what I did there?) but the barbecue we used was, to be honest, dire. It lit easily and was ready to go quickly, but it lasted for no more than half an hour. For an all-evening thing, that’s crappy. It was so bad, in fact, that we lit our Chiminea and used that to cook the food from underneath. Which leads me nicely to a Matt’s Barbecue Moral: never use disposable barbecues. Trust me on this one – just get a cheap non-disposable one if you have to.


Anyway, enough of that. There was one other, special, burger, made by Gem and I:
Don't pretend you don't want a slice.
I know, it’s awesome. But since this is a barbecue blog, I’ll just say that it’s a madeira cake with cream cheese buttercream and coloured icing. Mmm.

The usual suspects went with the food – nachos, salsa, guacamole, and American things like Popcorn and jelly beans. We even had a special guest

MattFest 2010 was a very enjoyable night. Fuelled by beer and such, and of course food. Here’s to the next one.

Barbecue Nine: May 17

Well, we’re drifting closer towards a third of the way to our target of 30 barbecues this year. As I write this, it’s my birthday (hooray!) and I received (amongst many other things) a Weber barbecuing cookbook, and a charcoal chimney (more on that soon). This particular barbecue was a couple of days ago, and took the form of “whatever is left in the kitchen plus some salmon and steak” šŸ˜‰

Weather

Mmm, sun.

Glorious! Hot day, cooling down slightly, with lashings of sunshine.

Food

Fairly simple fare, with a few added extras. We’re trying to cut back on carbs, but you can’t have a burger without a bun, can you?

Anyway, we had a couple of lamb and mint burgers going spare, and a bit of left over chicken in the fridge. Couple those with some salmon steaks from the freezer, and a lil’ piece of steak, and now you’re talking. (Now I mention it, that sounds like a lot of meat. Oh well, we went for a long walk afterwards. And had salad with it. That balances out, right?)

Burgers, chicken, steak and salmon? Are you nuts?

I decided to experiment a little with the steak. The Argentinians (food geniuses that they are) came up with Chimichurri Sauce eons ago. It’s a sharp, slightly spicy parsley-based sauce which cuts through the richness of meat like rump steak, and through the oiliness of fish like salmon or mackerel. It needs to be prepared well in advance (about a day before), and left to mingle in the fridge. I served the meat with the sauce on top of it. Yum.

Barbecue 8: Hot Stuff, Coming Through…

After over a week’s hiatus (adverse weather and poorly dog – sorry), on May 9 we had our 8th barbecue. To be honest the weather’s been fairly rubbish for most of the weekend, so we didn’t expect to be able to get the Weber out at all. I did it for the love. The love of the grill. Only a couple of things cooked, but more than enough.

Cloudy, with a light chance of brrrr

Weather

See above – not promising! A few minutes after we finished we had to retire inside due to rain and cold (sorry @redhatman. But hey, the barbecuing itself was outside).


Food

Just a couple of things cooked this time. We’re on a sort-of-health-kick at the moment, and given the impending annual MattFest (big birthday barbecue on the 22nd, lots of food), we’re upping the salad and reducing the meat. Yeah, I know. Sorry.

Indian Turkey Burger, Sausage and salad. Oh baby.

But what we did have was rather nice. Some good pork and herb sausages (high meat content – yum) and some excessively awesome Indian Turkey Burgers, the highlight of the evening!

Anyway. As delicious as those were, I’m open to challenges from you.
Want me to try cooking something? Have an idea for a barbecue theme (we’re going Caribbean soon)? Let me know in the comments!

Indian Turkey Burgers

Mmm, turkey burgers. Mmm, uncooked.
I have to admit a couple of things. The naming of this recipe is a little tongue-in-cheek, as burgers aren’t in any way Indian. But they’re flavoured with a lot of my favourite Indian spices, and they taste glorious.
The other thing is that these burgers are inspired by a similar recipe for chicken burgers by Anjum Anand. I’ve adapted the recipe quite a bit, because it wasn’t quite right for me. But feel free to adjust quantities for yourselves.

Ingredients

  • 500g turkey mince. Much easier to come by than chicken mince, and it’s leaner. It also makes great burgers, with or without the other ingredients.
  • About half an inch of ginger root, grated. You could use powdered ginger if you don’t have the root stuff, but it’s not really the same. Don’t go using preserved ginger. That would just be wrong.
  • Two fat cloves of garlic, crushed
  • Half a red onion, chopped very finely
  • 1tsp salt, 1tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1tsp nigella (black onion) seeds, and 1tsp yellow mustard seeds, pounded in a pestle and mortar
  • 1tsp coriander powder
  • 1tsp medium or tandoori curry powder
  • 1tsp garam masala powder
  • One large red chilli, finely chopped
  • One medium egg and a piece of fairly stale bread, crumbed
  • A big handful of coriander (cilantro), roughly chopped

That’s a lot of ingredients! If you have them all to hand at home (as I did), the only annoying thing is getting everything in a bowl. Otherwise, if you have to miss something out, then I guess you could remove the coriander powder. I’ve not tried these burgers without egg/bread, but they might work.

Recipe

Now for the fun part. Mash the turkey mince up, so it doesn’t look mince-like (you know what I mean). Add the all of the ingredients, save the egg and bread. You may wish to add a little oil to stop the burgers sticking to the barbecue.

Finger lickin' good (oh no, wait, that's chicken).

You should have a fairly dry mixture. Try to shape it into burgers (you should get four big burgers out of the mix, or five average-sized ones). If it doesn’t seem to stick together, then the burgers will fall apart on the barbecue. In that case, add your egg. The egg acts as a binder, but can make the mixture too wet, so you need to balance that wetness with some breadcrumbs to absorb. I used soda bread because it crumbs well whether stale or not, but use whatever you have. The important thing is to not add it all at once – if you add too much bread, the mixture will become dry again. Once you’ve got a mix that seems wet enough to hold together, but not sloppy, you’re done.

If you want, add a little lime juice to the mix to balance the cumin in the garam masala. I tend to do this to the cooked burgers at the end. Shape into patties, and stick on the barbecue. They cook quicker than MattBurgers but I’d still say 4-5 minutes per side to be sure.

Really good on a burger bun with some fresh coriander on top, and perhaps a little mayonnaise or minted yoghurt. Enjoy.

Guest Post: JezBurgers!

It’s time for The Bearded Barbecuer’s first ever guest post (hopefully not the last), from my good chum Jez who runs a blog over at eRambler.co.uk. Go read! After reading this recipe, of course. Over to Jez!


Inspired by Matt’s MattBurgersā„¢ of a few days ago, I had a bash at creating my own version, with some tomato puree and celery leaves, and a pinch of cayenne to liven it up.

Mmm?
Burger Crumbs. Create your own Image.

By the way, Matt asked me to provide a photo for this post but, erm, we ate the burgers too quickly. But I have got a photo of the empty plate for you. Was it a good recipe? Draw your own conclusions… Note from Matt: fail! Imagine for yourselves!

Ingredients

  • 450g beef mince (yes, I mean 1lb)
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp celery leaves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • Plenty of freshly ground black pepper
  • Generous shake of cayenne pepper (or more or less, if you like)
  • Generous splash of Henderson’s Relish (or Worcester Sauce if you’re a namby-pamby southerner) (Note from Matt: He says this, but he lives near to Bath)

Recipe

Mix everything except the mince to a rough paste on a chopping board or in a bowl. Mix it all into the mince. Make into 4 generous burgers or 6-8 stingy burgers, and cook until done (hmm, I didn’t time them, but I grilled them on high until nicely browned on each side, turning once).

I preferred mine with some nice mature cheddar melted on top. You might say that the saltiness of the cheese worked well with the sweetness of the tomato puree. Or maybe I just like cheese.

So there you have it: JezBurgers. Try creating your own and naming them after yourself: eponymous food is fun!


So there you go! First guest post done. Like the burgers? Let us know in the comments. Got your own recipe you’d like to contribute? Let me know and I’ll put it up!

Barbecue the 5th: April 17

Our fifth barbecue was the first with our friends, James, Alison, Ad (pictured, looking suave), Jay and Ross. I’m sure you’re

Looking good, eh?
Ad, posing with the Weber (everyone wants to)

thinking “who cares? Move onto the food!”. Okay then.

Weather

Sunny. I’m almost getting bored of saying ‘sunny’. Soon it will be ‘thunderstorm’, I’m sure. Anyway, it was evening, and still quite warm.

Food

We had some of the usual standard fare… rather nice chilli sausages (see right) plus tasty MattBurgers. They always go down well, they’re really cheap to prepare, and they’re full of much better stuff than some burgers you can buy.

Chilli and Pork sausages
Chilli, and plain pork, sausages. Not made by me. Sorry.

On top of all of that, pork rib steaks (seasoned with rosemary, salt and pepper), garlic mushrooms on the barbecue (recipe soon…), and some really, really good sea bass. Done in the same way as the trout mentioned in Barbecues 1-4, it had a lovely, mild, trout-like flavour. Well recommended. (Sorry there are no pictures of that; I guess my mind was on something else).

Five down, 25 to go…

MattBurgersā„¢

Okay, so they’re not really trademarked. But they’re really good. If you like them too, please leave a comment!

Ingredients

As with all of my recipes, these quantities are rough, and feel free to add or remove ingredients – this isn’t rocket science!

Makes four large burgers

  • 500g standard beef mince. Don’t get value beef, but I’d argue you don’t need expensive lean mince either. The cheaper stuff (this costs about Ā£2) has a higher fat content, which makes the burger juicier.
  • Half a red onion, finely chopped. A white onion would be fine; it’s just an aesthetics thing.
  • 1/2tsp garlic, crushed
  • 1tsp salt, preferably rock salt
  • 1/2tsp black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2tsp cumin. I like cumin, but it is quite strong. Use less, or none, if you prefer.
  • A few pinches of herbs. Oregano and thyme (preferably fresh) go really well. Rosemary works too, especially with lamb.

Recipe

Combine all of the ingredients, using a food processor or a knife to chop the onion. My good friend Mark likes to grate the onion instead. This provides more moisture, which means you don’t need other binders in the mix.

With many burger recipes, it’s recommended that you add an egg to bind the mixture together (and some breadcrumbs, to counter the moisture induced by the egg). In this case, I found I didn’t need either, because of the fat in the meat. But that may be different for you.

MattBurgersā„¢
Patented MattBurgersā„¢ (not a patent), extra rare (i.e., uncooked). Delicious, but much better cooked (a picture will appear soon).

Once everything is combined into a little ball, get your hands dirty! Divide the mixture into four, shape each quarter into a ball, and then compress the ball on top and bottom to get a rough burger shape. If you’re feeling fancy you could use a Burger Press or food cutting-rings, but let’s face it, your mates won’t care.

For well-done burgers, these need about 4-5 minutes per side on the barbecue. 3-4 for medium. They’re also good grilled, should the weather turn on you.

Enjoy this recipe? Let me know in the comments!