They’re big, juicy and filled with flavours that leave mouths watering and eyes popping. And after five years, the burger trend is still making noise across Australia, increasing in popularity every day.
The burgeoning burger trend has outlasted majority of food trends that have swept across kitchens and menus. But as the love for burgers lingers around, so does our obsession for new tastes, flavours and social media.
With customers always wanting bigger, better and tastier, chefs are continuing to push the boundaries to deliver the next picture-perfect burger. Ensuring the burger is ready for its glamour shot at all times is just as important as cooking the patty correctly and having a generous amount of sauce.
As of last month, the #burger tag on Instagram had been shared 13.5 million times. Within the tag, there are millions of pictures taken of burgers dripping in new sauces and generously bulging at the seams with out-there ingredients.
So, as more customers continue to share pictures of their over-crowded burgers on social media, does this prove it is the end of the plain, simple burger? Is it time to move past the perfect burger that doesn’t need to be cut in half to consume?
While Australians continue to opt for oozing burgers that don’t even fit in two hands, burger experts insist there is always a place on the menu for a traditional offering. Royal Stacks executive chef, Terri Tep told Goodman Fielder Food Service the need and desire for simplicity is making its way back to menus.
“The trend has been stripped way back to really simple, basic food and we are very fortunate to have burgers be one of those foods that is ever so popular,” she said. Down N’ Out creative director, Ben Kagan echoed her comments, explaining customers are now beginning to opt for flavour over filling.
“We like experimenting and doing things that are interesting,” he said. “But people are now going away from the large, over-the-top burgers and going more towards interesting flavours and different combinations”.
When it comes to creating the perfect burger that is jam-packed with flavour but still simple, Terri and Ben agree it’s all reliant on the patty and bun. “For the best burger, the meat for the patty has to be right, it has to be juicy, it’s got to be fresh and 100 percent Australian beef,” Terri explained.
Ben agreed, stating: “A really good beef patty and a really good bun – they’re the two most important things. We use wagyu patties because the fat content is a lot richer, meaning it has a bit more flavour.”
When it comes to perfecting the patty during the cooking process, fellow burger expert Bobby Flay told Mental Floss chefs need to make an indentation at the centre of each patty before it hits the stove. “This does two things. One, it prevents flying saucer-shaped burgers – the ones all puffed up and bulging in the centre.
“As the meat cooks and expands, the depression magically disappears, leaving you with beautifully shaped and cooked burgers. Two, it prevents the burger patty from shrinking [and not fitting on the bun],” he continued to explain.
But when it comes to finding the right buns, texture and freshness wins. “In regards to the bun, it needs to be fresh, that is really important. We prefer milk buns as opposed to brioche, which was big a couple of years ago,” he explained while adding they made the switch due to the brioche being sweet and buttery, which “takes away from the rest of the burger.”
Terri went on to add: “Having the right textured bread, alongside the freshest and best ingredients will provide you with an overall perfect burger.” Along with the perfect patty and bun, supplying the right sauce has also been pushed to the top of the list when it comes to forming the perfect burger.
“Special burger sauce is hot right now,” Terri said. “More people are starting to use it or they have their own take on special burger sauces on the menu. With a mayonnaise base, it has ingredients such as tomato sauce, mustard, gherkins and a few spices like cayenne pepper and paprika. It’s that real sort of classic sauce,” she added.
While the market begins to head towards simplicity, burger experts insist there is still a need to produce over-the-top, gigantic burgers. “There is always such thing as too much but just like with any food, burgers are really personalised to your liking,” Terri explained.
“Some people love small, simple burgers and other people like the over the top burgers,” she continued. “These people like to customise their burgers to their liking, whether it is adding extra patties, fried chicken, mac and cheese croquettes.”
Ben added that his team have used the opportunity to experiment with ingredients that are usually forbidden in a dish like burgers. “We have done over 100 specials, with some really unusual ones,” he said, adding: “We have crumbed chicken in bacon before… we have also done Cheezels, fried bacon and mac and cheese patties.”
Whether it is simple or over-the-top, Australia’s love for burgers is still thriving. A report conducted by IbisWorld detailed how the burger market grew its yearly revenue to $4.2 billion in March 2016, with it expected to reach to $7.6 billion by the end of 2019. The report believes the growth within the industry was further boosted by the partnership with delivery services such as Uber Eats and Deliveroo.