Glorious Beef Burger – The Way of the Wagyu

Let’s face facts, many of the burgers one encounters in the big, bad world, are pretty bloody awful. Most of you see the sun come out, rush to the convenience store and buy a box of frozen patties (Who is Pattie and what did she do to deserve this treatment?). Then it’s home to the garden, to wipe the cobwebs off the barbecue. Then you take the wire brush to the grill. Next you fire it up and burn off last season’s leftovers. You throw the frozen patties on the grill along with some jumbo sausages, ribs, bacon, cofti, chicken wings and pork chops. You take pictures of the whole lot burning on the too-hot grill and share it to your social media. You swill a few cans of beer, over-eat, get the “meat sweats” and retire to snore through the worst excesses of your piggery. But….., there is a better way. Better for you and better for small producers creating great product sold through independent butchers who know their trade. The way forward is the Way of the Wagyu.

If you want a really great outcome when grilling, start with great ingredients. For me, it is very hard to beat great beef, sourced from a great butcher who break their own carcasses and grind their own mince. When you add Irish Wagyu beef into that mix, you end up with a truly delightful experience. I like to make my own burgers. Here’s what I did for these truly epic burgers.

I put it to you that pretty well everything in the above photo is optional and subject to preference. Everything except the Wagyu beef mince, the smoked sea salt crystals and the black pepper. However, follow my lead and you will not regret it.

Ingredients

  • 1 kilo of Wagyu beef mince
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of smoked sea salt crystals
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground black pepper
  • Mature cheddar cheese
  • Mustard (In Ireland, the Birds and the Teas brand is delightful)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mayonaise
  • Large mild onion sliced thin and broken into ‘hoops’
  • Lettuce of your choice
  • Tomato sliced thinly

Throw the mince into a bowl and mix in the salt and pepper by hand. If you use a mixer, you will bash the meat and break down the fibres ahead of the cooking. Don’t do it.

The Wagyu has a very high fat content. This is a good thing.

I like to use crystal salt for these burgers as they give a little burst of smoky saltiness when eating. Delicious.

Give it a good mix without being too rough with it.

The next step is entirely up to you. Burger sizing. If you are a committed ‘meat sweats’ person, make the burgers very big. If you are a normal person, like me, make six patties out of the kilo of mince. That is plenty big enough.

I made six. Only four fitted on the plate.

Fire up the grill and get it nice and hot. Grill the burgers to your preferred degree of ‘doneness’. don’t be an ass and overcook them. You are using great ingredients that deserve the right amount of cooking, no more.

When they are nearly done, sit the mature cheddar on top of the meat. Grill the buns to toast them.

Delicious looking meat, just ahead of the cheese being added.

Construct your burger. I like to build as follows:  Base of bun, add tomato sauce, sit the pattie on, add the mustard, add the onions, tomato and lettuce, rub the top bun with the mayo and sit on top.

It was difficult to not eat it at this stage.

Serve this delightful burger with a good robust red wine. Anybody who eats it will be convinced of the approach. You will be a leader. You can make pronouncements about “The Way of the Wagyu”. You will be a grilling god. The alternative is to drive to the convenience store….

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Latest comments
  • Thanks for some burger sanity!
    Have been watching too many food in general and recently burger videos – adding all sorts of liquids, heavy mixing so that the salt emulsifies the beef – a video that added wagyu fat to lean mince – NO – just seasoned beef, as you rightly show us.
    I’m actually expecting to receive a hexagonal burger press tomorrow – I can’t even claim that I was intoxicated to make such a silly impulse buy!
    Will make a trip to a butchers that I know sell wagyu – maybe not mince – but whatever they have will be yummy.
    BTW a different bun for a burger that works for me is a hot cross bun – the sweetness works for my palate – this Easter I tried a chilli hot cross bun with a chilli burger – too much chilli, but my goodness it was satisfying!

  • Thanks for the recipe Conor. Your burgers look scrumptious. Many people, including myself, are not lucky enough to have a wonderful butcher. The quality of the mince obviously is paramount. Online I’ve seen Wagyu beef from £10/kg for mince from warrendale-wagyu.co.uk to £100/kg for steaks from Tom Hixson. Mince can mean anything from the prime product you used to unfit for human consumption. For online sourcing, the pragmatic solution is to discuss by ‘phone and ultimately trust the reputation of the producer. Price, too, ought roughly to correlate with quality. Can you give a price guide for the mince you used?

  • How many minutes a side do you grill them for?

    PS: Hope the lockdown is treating you well, that is, if you are in a lockdown 🙂

  • Speaking as one from a country where the barbie is never allowed to develop cobwebs, I do approve of your process. The Husband feels that using frozen patties is anathema, and you’d never in a million years fling all those meats on at once… unless, perhaps, you were a Pom. As a veteran of year round barbecue, may I offer some alternatives for you to consider? Smoked paprika in the beef seasoning, Swiss cheese (Emmenthal for preference), butter-sautéed mushrooms, and aioli with just a dash of tamarind paste, dressed with rocket. I’m not a huge fan of tomato on a burger and find raw onion obnoxious, although fabulous in the cooked state. And a sourdough bun to give your teeth something to do – most burger buns turn to paste as soon as the meat juice hits them and are useless after that (especially if there’s tomato in there too). The Husband also wishes you to try Wag-Snags (Wagyu sausages to you) with cracked black pepper, anointed with an incendiary mixture of steak sauce and sriracha…. I’m staying out of this one.

  • That’s beautiful mince — not too fine a grind. If I could get such amazing beef, I’d be tempted to eat my burger naked (no condiments, just seasoned burger and a nice, sturdy bun. I would be wearing clothes. And probably a bib.).

    And there are no frozen patties in our house. My friend Pattie is a wonderful and talented person and I wouldn’t want her to be cold. Even when we get a takeaway burger, the vast majority of the time it’s from places that don’t use frozen beef. Admittedly, every once in a while there’s the odd craving for one of the fast food giants’ products. (She blushes and leaves the room…)

  • Fabulous! Really appetizing photos. I mean, I want to eat the photos!!!

  • Looks good. I just ordered some ground waygu online!

  • Isn’t it great all of us are different ! Am hugely envious you can get such beautiful wagyu mince. How I would love to have that plate with the four patties ! Have loved such since early childhood. Love the use of onions, would add the salad on the side and probably sauté a pile of mushrooms to go on tup. Eat 40% of my diet as carbs but have not used a burger bun in some three decades or more – discard it as unnecessary if served . . . nor mayo unless home made for a few dishes . . . and tomato sauce but rarely . . . Oh, well, once I do get to Ireland perhaps you’ll point out the error of my wats . . . 🙂 ! best . . .

  • Like you I prefer my hamburgers homemade. I’ve been using Irish beef short ribs (Wagyu not required as they are fatty enough) and grind them myself. I like your toppings on the burgers. Looks like you made the same ‘mistake’ that I have often made, which is to start with raw burgers that are about the size of the bun. They will shrink during cooking, so you have to start with larger burgers if you want them to be the size of the bun.

  • Bloody good looking burger my friend. I would get behind that 👊

      • It’s pretty average but we’re getting there. They’re (the powers that be) going to open it up a little next month – 1 diner per 4m sq. Plus they’ll need to sign a register. I hope you’re doing ok 👊

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