Burgers are as Filipino as pan de sal. Amazing, considering that it was only introduced to us commercially in the 80's. Kids born in the 90's are now used to eating burgers as a matter of right. We probably consume more burgers as we do sinangag. Just stroll down the mall and you'll find at least 3 major burger jaunts occupying about 35% of mall space. And that is on the first floor alone! We have I suppose the most burger brands-- foreign and local--in Southeast Asia. Jollibee, McDonald's, Burger King, Carl's Jr., Wendy's, Brothers, Burger Machine, Franks and Burgers, Angel's and a multitude of buy 1 take 1 stalls in every street corner.
What I wonder about is that I seldom see burgers served in birthday parties done at homes. We always have spaghetti, cake etc but i have never attended a party that served homemade burgers....despite the availability of ready-to-cook burger patties in the market. There's CDO burger patties, Holiday and many others that Buy 1 Take 1 vendors use. Is it because we find burgers ordinary enough? Then why do we keep the burger companies rake in so much from us?
Burger assembly is easy (and fun!) and you can experiment on the garnish, say by putting ethnic flavors in it like curry paste, wasabi, pechay, arugula or even humus. You may find pattie-making a bit difficult or intimidating so I'll share with you how I make mine.
Burger Patties 101
First, try to keep your patties simple in flavor. Remember, you are making patties, not meatballs. Whatever flavor you might want to add to make it your own, do so in the garnish later. The hardest part of pattiemaking is molding it. I'll show you an easy way.
500g ground beef with fat
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp pepper
1 onion, fginely chopped
1 cup fresh bread crumbs (grated slices of bread)
Mix all ingredients together but don't overdo so the meat will stay tender.
Transfer to a parchment paper on a work surface. make sure that you put the mixture on just one side, leaving the other half of the paper clear for folding.
Fold over the parchment paper to cover the mixture.
Roll out with a pin or long bottle to flatten the mixture, making about 1/2 inch thick. Try to get an 8cm X 16cm with straight edges. It's ok if you dont get straight edges for some rustic and home feel. Just make sure you leave about 1/2 inch of paper on each end. The paper will keep the patties from sticking together and the extra 1/2inch of paper will make it easier for you to separate them.
Chill for about 10 minutes to make the patties firm and easier to cut.
Unfold the paper and, using a long knife or pizza slicer, cut horizontally through the middle, then, vertically to make squares of 4in X 4in.
Then cut the squares with paper underneath ann stack 'em up. Wrap in plastic bag and freeze. Or you can use 'em right away!
Nevermind if they're not round. Round patties tend to deform easily. Another tip is that don't use oil in grilling the patties if you are using a non-stick pan. For sticky pans, just brush it with a little oil.
I hope that in your next party, you'll serve "the lowly" burger. And invite me!!!