Food & Drink

Man Food

[Image - Martin Poole]
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Assembling the ultimate burger requires the right tools, seasoning and plenty of heat according to hamburger chain Byron’s first cookbook.

What the upmarket burger chain’s founder Tom Byng and head chef Fred Smith don’t know about hamburgers isn’t worth knowing, and the pair are so successful at making ‘proper’ burgers that Byron now has restaurants across the UK and has just published its first cookbook.

Here Tom and Fred share their top tips for cooking the perfect hamburger on a BBQ:


Buy a BBQ with a lid. Charcoal is preferable to gas.
Get the temperature right: you want it hot but without flames. Slow-burning embers are best, and the BBQ is ready once the charcoal is white around the edges.
When you add the meat, the fat will drip down and can create flames, so be careful.


Ideally salt one side of the patty just before it goes on the grill and then season the other side while cooking.
Do not crowd the cooking space: you should only use about 50% of the grill surface, with enough room to turn the patties.
The patty should sizzle as soon as it touches the grill. If it doesn’t, leave the BBQ to heat up further.
A crowded BBQ will lose all its heat, leaving the meat to sweat, fail to brown properly and stick.
To toast the burger buns, place them, cut-side down, towards the edge of the BBQ, where it is cooler. Toast them lightly.
Turn the patty three times in total: about once every minute. As fat drips, it can create flames. If this does happen you should move the patty to a different part of the grill. When you start to see little drops of pink juice forming on the patty’s surface, cook for a further minute and serve for a pink and juicy hamburger.


After the final turn of the patty, lay the cheese on top. Close the BBQ lid to melt the cheese.


I like a “flipper”, as it will help if there is any sticking. Make sure to buy a flameproof one with a long handle. Some people like tongs. To own both is even better.
Don’t use a fork or anything sharp, as you will pierce the meat and lose the juices.
If your BBQ doesn’t have a lid, use a cloche (an upturned metal mixing bowl).

Read the full article including step-by-step recipes for the perfect burgers here.