[RECIPE] The Burger-for-a-pound Experiment


“Don’t go into a butcher’s asking for 150 grams of chuck steak to be minced.”

Is it just me that thinks it, or does getting a half-decent burger feel a bit pricey all of a sudden? Seems like you can’t find a burger for less than £6.50, let alone a cheeseburger or, god forbid, a bacon cheeseburger. I mean, for f sake, even BK’s Whopper is now nearly four quid, like, whoa.

Very mildly disgruntled, I got thinking one night and reckoned I could make a pretty frickin’ awesome burger for a pound. I set about trying to do it.

Food prices? Bring it.

Ingredients for a pound

Meat

Easy. Down to my local butcher for some prime chuck steak, double minced. Most ‘good’ burger joints swear by patties that are 170g, but I used 150g - to save a bit but retain a similar size.

Buns

Tougher. You get the best buns from independent bakers but are 40-50p each unless you get in bulk, way too pricey. I tested mass-market buns. Disappointment after disappointment; some were just too fluffy, some practically dissolved under any patty moisture.

Step up the Warburton’s bun; with the look of a McDonald’s hamburger bun and its hint of sweetness, great spongey consistency, and ability to handle the juicy impact of a patty. Winner. Not that McD’s have juice, but you get my point.

Warburton's buns

Cheese

BA has been on an ‘American (cheese) in London’ quest for AGES. Supermarket-bought brands don’t cut it. They don’t melt right and are too small. You can’t get American cheese, period. Tesco sell blocks of Kraft, but it’s the wrong type (the weird, anaemic “white” cheddar that doesn’t really melt).

Then Si found these:

Hochland cheese

They have the right thickness, actually taste of something, and melt to look JUST like nacho cheese. You can buy them from a random selection of Turkish supermarkets in London. We get ours from Akdeniz on Well Street in Hackney.

Bacon

Supermarket bought. Should have got it from the butcher. My bad. Smoked. Streaky. Grilled ‘til crisp. Bliss.

Lettuce/Onion

Standard: shredded and diced. Bought in my local market. No tomato you say? Don’t really like them in burgers that much, especially store bought ones, they ooze too much liquid. Personal choice, deal with it.

Pickles

Store bought. Personal faves.

Condiments

Classics. Heinz Ketchup /French’s Mustard.

  • Beef | 150g @ £5.65/Kg | 84p
  • Bun | 85p for 6 | 14p |
  • Cheese | £1.50 for 8 slices | 19p |
  • Bacon | £1.50 for 12 slices | 26p |
  • Onion | 12p | 3p |
  • Gherkin | 65p per jar | 2p |
  • Lettuce | 78p for 473g | 1p |
  • Sauces | £1 per 400g / £1.79 per 397g | 3p |

And the grand total is…

£1.52

And this is what I made:

The OnePounder

The OnePounder Split

No. I didn’t manage to make a burger for a pound. Gutted.

BUT, if you take away the bacon and the cheese, and make it a standard burger, it only comes to £1.07, which is pretty darn close. And, not to blow my own trumpet, it was pretty good as well.

Remember, you have to buy in quantity sometimes. Don’t be a dipshit and go into a butchers asking for 150 grams of chuck steak to be minced in an industrial butcher’s mincer. They will laugh at you.

When you can do this, it’s puts the price you pay out and about in perspective. Yeah, i didn’t use a hand-crafted sourdough bun, or aged cheddar. And i didn’t have to pay for premises rent or staff - but does that justify in excess of a fiver extra? Honestly, I’m not sure.

I’d be more than happy to cook this for anyone who wants it.

Requests through Twitter please.

It’ll cost you £6.50.

  • Rob.

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