'Dirty’ burgers are all the rage and Rose Prince takes them up a notch with a full-flavour mix of duck, venison and boar in home-made buns
What is a ‘dirty burger’ anyway?
The ‘dirty burger’ moniker simply reflects the trend for adding a lot of fat to the meat mix. Most of it renders away during cooking and the texture of the burger is beautifully tender, with the fullest flavour imaginable. This will be even more greatly enhanced by mixing the meats — duck and venison, for example, or add wild boar if available. If using pheasant meat, increase the fat ratio.
There is plenty to do here and some may draw the line at making their own burger buns. Yet I like to make a game burger — and the bun — in an oval shape. It is fun to do and friends will declare you a genius. (Find our venison burger recipe here.)
The dough for the buns is very rich and must be properly expanded, or proved, both before and after shaping.
Dirty burgers made with game
BUNS Makes 12
- 250ml milk
- 675g strong white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 115g butter, in 1cm dice
- 7g fast-action yeast
- 175ml lukewarm water
- 2 eggs, beaten
- To glaze: 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp water and a pinch of salt; black or white sesame seeds
- Warm the milk to hand-hot. Put the flour, salt, butter and yeast in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment and mix on a low setting. Pour in the milk, water and eggs, then keep mixing until you have a smooth dough. It should take about five minutes.
- Cover the bowl with cling film. It can be left attached to the mixer. Allow it to prove for one-and-a-half hours, until the dough has risen to double the size. Remove the cling film and mix again to knock the air out of the dough.
- Remove the dough from the bowl. Place on a floured worktop and cut it into 10 pieces the same size (about 100g each). Roll each one into a ball, then shape into an oval. Place on a baking sheet lined with baking paper, well apart, then leave to rise again until very airy and puffed.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the buns gently with the glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds, then use a sharp knife to cut a small slit on the surface. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and crisp. Cool on a rack. Any surplus buns will freeze well.
Dirty burgers (makes six)
- 900g lean game meat (any cut of venison, wild boar or duck is ideal)
- 300g beef back fat
- 2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp black pepper
- EXTRAS: Tomato ketchup, American sweet mustard, large slices of pickle, lettuce, mayonnaise, optional gravy – a ready-made brand, such as Salsus, from fineandwild.com
- Side DISH: Red Slaw – A combination of thinly sliced red cabbage, radish and red apple, dressed with olive oil and sherry vinegar, plus a little red chilli and salt
- Put all the meat and fat through a mincer, or ask a butcher to do this. Add salt and pepper and shape into six oval patties weighing 200g each. Flatten them to a thickness of 1.5cm.
- To cook, heat a ridged grill pan to medium high and cook the burgers for two minutes each side. Turn and cook for about another two minutes each side, turning when you see red droplets on the surface of the patties, indicating they are medium rare. A lot of fat will render, hence the need for a ridged grill pan. Allow them to rest.
- Toast the inside of a cut bun on the grill (before cooking the burgers) and add a teaspoon each of the ketchup and mustard to the lower half. Place the burger on top, then some pickle slices, then the lettuce and a teaspoon of mayonnaise. Cover with the other half and serve. A truly ‘dirty’ burger can be dipped in the hot gravy.