The Hugo Burger


I NAMED my signature burger after my furry son – Lord Hugo of Rozelle and Balmain – as it’s strong, mischievous and bold just like him.

I’m having a bit of a burger craze at the moment ever since I got back from the USA last year and have been mixing up burger options at home. After much thinking through ingredients I have come up with The Hugo – more of an American-inspired burger than the good old Aussie fish ‘n’ chip shop style.

The Hugo Burger is a grilled blue cheese-infused meat patty seasoned with a few seasonings and topped with tomato, lettuce leaves, pickles and caramelised onions on a toasted bun with a squirt of sriracha-blended mayo (or some good tomato relish).

One thing I have learnt is that you can’t muck around when preparing burgers – you have to use fresh ingredients – starting with the meat. I use minced sirloin (you need at least 10 to 15 per cent fat content). If you can’t get to a butcher to mince it for you or you can’t do it yourself then premium supermarket mince can do.

When making the burgers there are a few tips you have to keep in mind so that they come out juicy and tender:

  1. Don’t over knead the mince or your burger will be tough.
  2. Make sure the meat is cold and not warm and your hands are cold when you knead – you want the fat to stay in the burger and not get stuck on your hands.
  3. Make an oval-sized depression at the centre on the burger as this helps the burger to maintain its rounded shape as it expands when cooking.
  4. Sprinkle a pinch of salt evenly over each burger just before grilling. Only use salt before cooking as salt can affect the proteins in the meat causing the patty to break up and go ‘mushy’.
  5. Cook the burger straight after making (or from resting in the fridge) as it will hold together a lot better.

And now I present you with ingredients to make the Hugo Burger:

1 kg beef mince
1 small red onion, peeled and finely chopped
100g blue cheese, crumbled
100 grams of hot pancetta, chopped
1 teaspoon of dried tarragon
1 tablespoon of stuffing mix (Tandaco brand)
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt and black pepper

6 to 8 soft burger buns, split and toasted
A handful of rocket leaves
Sliced tomatoes and dill pickles (sliced lengthwise)
Caramelised onions (three large red or brown onions)

Sriracha mayonnaise or tomato relish (or even Turkish Ajvar spread).


Mix the mince with all the burger ingredients expect the crumbed cheese. Once mixed thoroughly (remember not to over knead or the burger will be tough), add the crumbed cheese and gently fold in and then divide into six or eight patties. Make a small oval depression on the top of each patty.

Crank up the grill and while this is warming  slice up some brown onions into rings and caramelise them using some butter and a little salt in a saucepan on the stove and then set aside. To make the sriracha mayo get some everyday quality mayonnaise and add sriracha sauce (I only use Huy Fong Sriracha), bit by bit to your taste. An alternative is some good tomato relish or quality ketchup

Grill your burgers to your liking. Make sure the grill is hot an you oil the grill. Place each burger on it – a high heat will ensure a good crust around the burger. Avoid flipping too often or pressing down on the burger as you want to keep all the flavour and juices inside. Flipping once is ideal – about four minutes ion each side is fine. I use a Weber kettle or Weber Q for my grilling and I tend to put the lid down for a few minutes to round the burger off after the first flip to ensure the blue cheese is melted inside. Like with all meat – allow the burgers to rest.

Once rested place the grilled burgers on the bottom burger bun and then top with tomato, rocket leaves and sliced dill pickles. Top with the caramelised onions and smear the top of the bun with the sriracha mayo or your favourite sauce.

Serve with a side of fries or coleslaw.


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