Make the most of the barbecue weather with Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger recipe, as seen on his BBQ on Waitrose TV.
Barbecue season is nearly over. So lets make the most of the remaining weeks of good weather by trying out some of the late-arrival Heston Waitrose BBQ recipes. In this case we’re trying Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger recipe.
Here’s Heston showing you how it’s done:
They might have waited until summer was two-thirds over but Waitrose have delivered a staggering twelve new Heston Blumenthal barbecue recipes.
Sadly there’s a catch: each and every one of these Waitrose Heston BBQ recipes is a shill for his pricey line of Blumenthal-branded products. In the case of Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger recipe it’s the wallet-busting Heston from Waitrose Ultimate Beefburgers. Just £5.49 for two!
This frankly outrageous price does get you two burgers made to Heston’s very exacting In Search of Perfection recipe specifications though – three flavoursome cuts of meat, precisely salted and ground in alignment to provide the best possible mouthfeel.
We’re a bit sceptical about them though, so we’ll be hand-making some comparison burgers using a bit of salt and £2-worth of cheapo mince from Morrisons.
Special Equipment: A barbecue (optional)
Special Ingredients: Heston from Waitrose Ultimate Beefburgers, Marmite, Yeast, French’s Mustard
Time: 3 hours the night before plus at least 1 hour on the day
This is a pretty simple recipe; apart from the elaborate Welsh rarebit-themed cheese slice. Here’s how we tackled each component:
Heston from Waitrose Ultimate Beef Burgers
The key ingredient in this recipe. The Heston from Waitrose Ultimate burgers come individually sealed in plastic, the exposed surface allowing you to see their fine marbling of fat and aligned strands of mince.
Reasons behind this are discussed at length in Heston’s In Search of Perfection Cheeseburger recipe: aligning all the strands of beef the same way means that when the burger is cut, laid on its side, cooked and slid into a burger all those strands will now face upwards. This means they’ll pull away from each other easily with each bite, giving the burger better texture.
Being individually sealed means these burgers would also be ideal for the affluent sous-vide enthusiast, who could cook them to rare then finish them off in the deep fryer to create the perfect outer crust. Over to you, Andy!
Heston’s Waitrose Ultimate Burger recipe cheese slices need to be grated, mixed, melted, set and cut into portions before you can even think about going near the barbecue. This is a job best done the night before.
In the Waitrose TV demo you can see Heston’s cheese is coarsely grated, but we figured finely grated would melt faster and give a smoother result. Add in the rarebit-flavourings (the inclusion of dried yeast feels particularly weird) then leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours.
To make the actual cheese slice heat 125ml of beer in a pan (We used some random bottle from the cupboard rather than the Prince Chuck’s gourmet brand). Then add the cheese a handful at a time. Stir until melted and smooth. We hoped this might be like Heston’s Cheese Fondue recipe, where the combination of cornflour and continued whisking can give you this spectacularly elastic, stretchy cheese. It is very tiring work.
Once fully combined and smooth the cheese needs to be poured into a tray lined with baking paper. Our cheese wasn’t quite melty or liquid enough to settle perfectly flat. So even after smoothing it out with spatula we had the rippled surface you can see in the picture.
After setting overnight in the fridge we topped it with another sheet of baking paper and cut it into squares using scissors. Having paper on both sides of the slice makes them much much easier to handle. -I’ll be honest, we used a second layer of paper because we hoped the underside of each slice would be uniformly smooth, and I could trick you all into thinking I’m better at making cheese slices than I really am.
Another element that’s best to prepare the night before. Simply combine half-fat mayonnaise with about half as much ketchup and a teaspoon of French’s mustard. Then mix.
The results are as surprising as they are delicious: this is almost identical to McDonald’s secret recipe Big Mac sauce -but of noticeably higher quality.
Burger onions are best briefly blanched in boiling water to bring down their raw bite.
For simplicity’s sake we just poured kettle water into a bowl containing the sliced onions. Then drained them when we stumbled across them while cleaning up.
Rolls, Lettuce, Pickle and Tomato
The final four elements of Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger simply need slicing just before you’re ready to barbecue. Easy for us: our rolls were already sliced and we left out the tomato – we think the watery texture of tomato can spoil the texture of a good burger.
Here’s all our components ready for deployment.
This is the simplest part of the recipe. Be sure to flip the burgers every 15 to 20 seconds to ensure even cooking. Although we like to give them 60 seconds on each side first to create a good initial sear. Red meat benefits from being cooked in the hottest part of your barbecue to create more Maillard flavours from the charring.
The cheese slice only takes about a minute to melt on, but if you’re doing this on the barbecue try to time it so the underside of your burger doesn’t overcook. We should point out that the cheese slice will only melt properly if your barbecue has a closable lid. While the burgers rest you can get on with the next couple of jobs.
We toasted our buns on the grill indoors as you have more control (and we were already cooking in the dark). If doing this step on the barbecue keep a close eye on them, they’ll burn easily. Spraying or brushing the buns with oil will make them crisp up fantastically. Don’t let the pickles fall through the grill!
Now just take all your ingredients to a safe place and start assembling.
Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger recipe gives you some seriously formidable, strongly-flavoured, delicious burgers. Unfortunately Heston’s cheese slice was even more formidable and strongly flavoured.
The result was that the special-recipe burger sauce and three cuts of beef were almost undetectable as the cheese overpowered all the other flavours. The onion slices were undetectable and the pickles were no more than a texture.
Using cornflour also gives the slices a slightly grainy texture. Far from the silky-smooth Kraft slices we grew up with. Worse, all our exhausting whisking didn’t get us anywhere close to the stretchy elastic of the fondue!
This was a huge shame, since in every other respect Heston’s Ultimate Cheeseburger recipe is exceptional. Our homemade burgers didn’t have nearly as much texture or flavour. The Heston from Waitrose Ultimate burgers are undoubtedly overpriced. But, firm, plump and seriously beefy, the quality really is in a different league.
If there’s a complaint about this recipe (apart from the brutally overpowering cheese) it’s to do with the texture of the Heston from Waitrose Ultimate beefburgers. The heavy and early salting of the meat is designed to bond the proteins of the burger together. This bonding stops all those strands of perfectly aligned mince from falling away from each other. But it also gives the burger a slightly sausage-like texture.
On the plus side, Heston’s cheese slice recipe makes a fantastic Welsh Rarebit:
And for dessert? We made Heston’s barbecued Pineapple and Ice Cream Sundae recipe, which was even more spectacular than the burgers.
This is an excellent burger recipe, especially the sauce. You’re creating a kind of gourmet Big Mac. And if you can stretch to them the Waitrose burgers are well worth trying.
In future we’d:
- Replace the cheese slices with regular cheese. We like a hit of Stilton or the creaminess of Mozzarella or Brie.
- To save on the cost of the phenomenally expensive Waitrose burgers we’d swap texture for flavour and make our own mince if time allowed. But do buy them if your budget allows.
Does this sound like your favourite burger recipe, and do you think the cheese slices would overpower the flavour of the meat? What makes a good burger for you? Please tell us in the comments section.