We recently spoke with Christian Stevenson aka DJ BBQ about his mouthwatering The Burger Book, which features some of the tastiest, not to mention most inventive recipes for you to throw on the grill.
And while we very much advocate you buying your own copy to check out the full array of killer DJ BBQ recipes, which includes anything from your classic cheeseburger to a whole Sunday roast served in burger bun and yorkshire pudding, he’s kindly let us share a few of the choicest methods on the menu so you can create your own DJ BBQ Burger, Buffalo Cauliflower Burger and first up a gravy-soaked delight.
MOMMA’S GRAVY BOAT BURGER
OUTDOORS Half & half technique, with frying pan or plancha; or direct on the grill.
INDOORS Oven, plus saucepan and griddle or frying pan on the hob (stovetop). You’ll also need a roasting tin (pan).
When my momma first served this tasty southern dish, I couldn’t believe it. Pulling a burger out of a big ol’ vat of gravy! Moist, savoury, super-juicy and dripping with tasty gravy… why isn’t this a normal thing for every family in America? This should be celebrated worldwide.
Momma would serve it on a bed of mash and smother the whole lot with more gravy. My version is more like an open-faced burger sandwich. Let’s rock! I wanna rock! I wanna grab my favourite tongs and dip them into that retro 1975 gravy bowl and pull out that delicious gravy-soaked burger right now!
(A quicker gravy would involve gravy granules and that’s cool – we’ve all done it – but this one will taste a lot better!)
50g (1¾oz) butter
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
2 carrots, chopped
1 whole garlic bulb, halved
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 bacon rashers (slices), chopped
500ml (17fl oz/generous 2 cups) beef stock
1–3 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour (depending on how thick ya like your gravy)
8 large potatoes, peeled and quartered
200ml (7fl oz/generous ¾ cup) milk
200g (7oz) butter
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp salt
1kg (2lb 4oz) beef mince (ground beef)
5 burger buns
Sea salt and black pepper
Get your outdoor grill rocking or preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Gravy time! Throw the butter, veg and bacon into a roasting tin and cook in the oven or over direct heat on the grill for 25–30 minutes, until it’s all nice and golden.
When the veg is ready, place the roasting tin on a medium heat – either on the hob or the grill, and whisk in the flour until it soaks up the lovely fat, then add in the beef stock and let it come up to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until you have one hell of a beefy-looking gravy.
Meanwhile, get a large saucepan of water boiling – either on the hob or over the direct heat. Carefully lower in your spuds and cook for 12–18 minutes, until tender. Drain all the excess water, then add the milk, butter, pepper and salt. Mash the potatoes until creamy and awesomey (new word alert). Then cover and set aside.
When the gravy is ready, strain through a sieve into a large bowl (with a lid to keep it all nice and hot), discarding all the veg. Keep it warm somewhere, while you get those burgers rocking.
If you’re cooking indoors, get your griddle pan nice and hot on the hob. Outdoors, you can cook direct on the grill or set your plancha or frying pan over the direct heat.
Break the mince into 10 balls and flatten into patties. Season with salt and pepper and grill the burgers for about 5–10 minutes, flipping occasionally to create a lovely crust. Place the burgers on paper towels to drain off the excess fat, then put them in the gravy bowl and cover.
Set that dining table up with the burger/gravy bowl as the centrepiece, surrounded by a vat of creamy mash and plate of buns. You’ll probably want to have some lovely veg sides to go along with your epic meal – I like corn and green beans, but this is your feast and I am here to help you with the main event.
Serving time! Open up the burger buns and slam down some mash onto each bun. Use your tongs to pull out two beef patties and place them on the bed of mash. Grab a ladle and cover your mountain of awesomeness with that delicious gravy.
Man, this is reminding me of my childhood. I want this dish now… why does my mom gotta live so far away?! In the immortal words of Ozzy Osbourne, ‘Momma, I’m coming home for your gravy boat burger and mash open-faced sandwich.’
DJ BBQ BURGER
MAKES 4 BURGERS
OUTDOORS Half & half technique, with frying pa
INDOORS Oven, plus frying pan and griddle pan on the hob (stovetop). You’ll also need a cloche or large metal bowl to use as a lid.
This is the most DJ BBQy burger that DJ BBQ has ever cooked on a BBQ. Although, actually BBQ is the food and not the grill, but people still call the grill the BBQ – just a heads up people. If you are looking to make the perfect burger, then look no further. This, my friends, is it!
It’s a blend of different cuts of beef, so if you can’t source them from a butcher just go for a decent fatty beef mince (ground beef) – minimum 20% fat! Oh boy oh boy oh boy… I’m so excited for your mouth. Uh huh! Cos it’s gonna be munching on this perfect thang! This is the best-tasting beef burger ever conceived, created, invented and feasted upon. Good luck, captain!
800g (1lb 12oz) beef mince (ground beef). Ask your butcher to prepare the following mix of cuts (preferably 21–28-day dry-aged beef). You can do it yourself if you prefer – follow the weights and/or percentages below and simply put it all through a coarse grain mincer (meat grinder)
240g (8½oz) chuck (30%)
160g (5½oz) short rib (20%)
120g (4¼oz) brisket (15%)
120g (4¼oz) flank (15%)
160g (5½oz) suet or bone marrow (20%)
Sea salt and black pepper
AIOLI (OPTIONAL, YOU CAN ALSO USE MAYONNAISE)
1 whole garlic bulb
75ml (2½fl oz/scant 1⁄3 cup) olive oil
Squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
Knob of butter
2 red onions, thinly sliced
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
4 tbsp American yellow mustard
4 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
8 dry-cured streaky bacon rashers (slices)
4 demi-brioche seeded burger buns
4 lettuce leaves
1 beef tomato, sliced
First off, let’s get the garlic for the aioli roasted.
Get a load of coals rocking on your grill or preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F/gas mark 4). Loosely wrap the garlic bulb in foil and chuck it in the oven or nestle it in the coals. Leave it there for an hour. Remove and let it cool.
When it has cooled, peel four of the cloves – or you can just squeeze the oozy garlic into a bowl. Smash the garlic until super smooth. Add the rest of the aioli ingredients, and blend together well until smooth and gooey. Season with salt and stir in the lemon juice. There’s your condiment – aioli.
It’s enough for this recipe – but you might as well use up all your oozy cloves and make loads cos it’s phenomenal on everything apart from breakfast cereal. Although
I’ve never tried that, so maybe it’s great!
Now, let’s get the onions going. Place a small frying pan over indirect heat on the grill, or on a low to medium heat on the hob. Pour in the olive oil, then chuck in the knob of butter. When the butter has melted, add in the sliced onions and brown sugar. Slow-cook and stir until soft and golden – it should take around 20 minutes.
Once golden, stir in the Worcestershire sauce, then keep this on a super-low heat until you are ready to serve.
Divide the beef mince into four meaty balls and flatten them into patties a little bit larger than the buns, as you will get shrinkage as the fats render. Season with salt and pepper.
Have your American yellow mustard ready in a bowl with a basting brush. This is an awesome hack for making killer burgers – loads of top chefs use this mustard-basting technique. Get your grill nice and hot, or set your griddle pan over a high heat on the hob, then slap your patties on.
If you’re cooking outdoors, the meat might stick to the grill – don’t worry, the grill will release the meat when it’s ready. You want to sear the bottom of the patties and get a nice crust (around 1–2 minutes), then flip them over and brush on some of the mustard.
When the other side has developed a crust (after another 1–2 minutes), flip the burger again and brush on more mustard. Now it’s all about cooking that sweet, sharp, tangy goodness into the meat until it’s where you want it. Give the burger a couple of flips until the mustard is pretty much cooked into the patty.
When they’re almost cooked – after about 8 minutes – add the cheese slices on top of each burger and cover with a cloche or big old metal bowl to speed up the melt on the cheese (it’ll take max 30 seconds). Use a temperature probe to make sure the burgers are perfectly cooked – check the internal meat temperatures on page 16 – then remove and keep warm.
Slam your bacon onto the grill or griddle until crispy. Remove onto paper towels to drain. Now toast your buns and lay them out for the build.
Spread the bottom bun with the aioli, then add the lettuce and cheesy burger. Top with the bacon, tomato, sautéed onions, and finally the lid. You’ll probably need a car jack to open up your jaw for this one – I should call it the lockjaw burger! Enjoy. You deserve it, as it was a ball-ache to make.
DJ BBQ’S BUFFALO CAULIFLOWER BURGER
MAKES 2 BURGERS
OUTDOORS Not recommended.
INDOORS Saucepan on the hob (stovetop), plus deep-fat fryer or deep saucepan.
Cauliflower is so hot right now… and even hotter when you cover it in DJ BBQ Hot Sauce (page 162). I love buffalo wings and I love cauliflower, so it makes sense to put ’em together into one veggie recipe. And the results are as magical as Harry Potter!
By the way, my friend, Tim, ripped the last page of the last Potter book and ate it in front of me so I couldn’t finish it. It was a first edition as well. Dick!
Vegetable oil, for deep-fat frying (at least 2 litres/3½ pints)
100g (3½oz) butter
150ml (5fl oz/2⁄3 cup) water
1 small cauliflower, cut into
150ml (5fl oz/2⁄3 cup) DJ BBQ Hot Sauce (see below)
200g (7oz/12⁄3 cups) self-raising (self-rising) flour
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp paprika
1 tbsp fine sea salt
150ml (5fl oz/2⁄3 cup) mayonnaise
50ml (1¾fl oz/scant ¼ cup) full-fat (whole) milk
50ml (1¾fl oz/scant ¼ cup) cider vinegar
25g (¾oz) blue cheese, crumbled
2 large soft buns
Put the butter and water into a medium saucepan over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Add the cauliflower and simmer the steaks, turning every now and then, until the water has evaporated and the cauliflower is almost cooked through. Season with salt and leave to drain onto a paper towel.
Add the DJ BBQ Hot Sauce to the remaining butter in the pan and whisk together until smooth – this is your buffalo sauce.
Mix the flour, cumin, paprika and the 1 tablespoon of salt in a large bowl. In another large bowl, whisk the mayo, milk and cider vinegar until smooth.
Place half the mayo mix into another bowl for the blue cheese dressing. Add in the blue cheese and whisk until smooth, then set aside.
Pour the oil into a large saucepan (or you can use a deep-fat fryer), set it over a high heat and get that oil hot. Once the temperature reaches 180°C (350°F), you are good to fry.
Dip each cauliflower steak into the mayo mix (the one without the cheese), then dip into the flour mix, making sure they are fully covered. When the oil is hot, carefully drop the steaks into the oil and cook for 2–3 minutes until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel.
Layer up your buns with the cauliflower steak, then lettuce, buffalo sauce, and then add some blue cheese dressing to bring even more awesomeness – this will appease both your veggie friends and your meat-eating brethren!
DJ BBQ’S HOT SAUCE OF RADNESS
OUTDOORS Half & half technique, with a frying pan.
INDOORS Frying pan on the hob (stovetop).
6 tbsp Mix of Rad (see below)
4 tbsp cola
2 tbsp apple juice
2 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp chilli powder
MIX OF RAD
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 heaped tbsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp coarse ground black pepper
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp onion granules
1 tbsp garlic granules
½ tsp mustard powder
½ tsp chilli powder
½ tsp chilli flakes (crushed chili pepper)
First, make the Mix of Rad spice mix by throwing all the ingredients in a bowl and stirring until thoroughly combined.
(Keep what you don’t use in this recipe for any other meat you need to throw on your grill.)
Place all the ingredients for the hot sauce in a cast-iron frying pan, stir everything together and set over a medium heat (either on the grill or on the hob). Let it bubble away until thick and hot.
At this point, you can add 100g (3½oz) butter to the pan to turn this into a buffalo sauce.
All recipes extracted from The Burger Book by DJ BBQ (Quadrille, £12.99) Photography © David Loftus
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