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When deciding to research the origins and preparation methods of the hamburger because it has become such a popular menu item at Cattle Baron Table View Blouberg, especially with our ongoing Monday burger special; I never imagined that there was so much information. This information is readily available on the internet but I will herewith extract some of the more relevant facts and add some of my own.
The hamburger originated at the end of the 19th century maybe beginning of the 20th century, and many people lay claim to being the originators. Somewhere during the origination, steak tartare; which is raw minced steak with the addition of other ingredients is said to be part of process. The combination of bread and a minced beef patty seems to have been introduced due to practical reasons, as the bread provided a practical means of carrying the patty whilst consuming it. Much in the same way pizza crust provided a means to carry the toppings and become a major part of the final product.
There are many opinions as to how to prepare a hamburger including which type of meat produces the best patty. Whether the patty should be pressed beforehand and whether freezing a patty is good or bad. Toasting the bun and whether one should butter the bun is a point of contention. Then there are so many toppings available, one can virtually cater for any taste, including vegans and vegetarians by using veg based patties.
Some chefs create a ball and press the patty on the flat top when cooking, others press it beforehand and some believe in cutting and not pressing.
The addition of seasoning prior to, during or after cooking is discussed around BBQ or braai fires throughout the world. You can also cook the patties on open coals or rather choose a pan, skillet or flattop.
Adding toppings during or after the cooking process must be considered. A combination of the two is also an option, depending on the ingredients and cooking method. Does one cook the patty from ice cold or bring it to room temperature first, and do you use 80/20 or 90/10 mince. The type of grind used to mince the meat is also important as some prefer a finer grind and some prefer it course. Does this impact on the juiciness or only on the texture?
There are stories about horseman keeping meat under their saddles and landing up with a cooked minced patty seems a little far-fetched to me. Maybe a warm Prego steak I suspect.
Anyhow, I intend expanding on this article in the future and hope to separate truth from fiction and continue improving the best burger in town on a continuous basis.
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