To celebrate the fifth Mr Hyde National Burger Day on 24 August, we gathered the five leaders of the new burger world together to create the perfect patty for humanity’s final moments
Look away now if you don’t want to know how you’re going to die. Because we’ve seen the future, and we’re about to show you, too. Friend, it’s going to be very, very messy.
At least, that’s if you’re anywhere near Yianni Papoutsis, the co-founder of MEATLiquor, Zan Kaufman, the creator of Bleecker, Tom Barton, who’s responsible for Honest Burgers, Carl Clarke, the man behind Chick’N’Sours; and Nick Caton, Dirty Burger’s big cheese, when the end of days for Planet Earth arrives. These guys, the grand architects of the country’s burger landscape, the five most important, respected and influential leaders of the modern patty renaissance, all answered ShortList’s call to leave their corners of London, sideline any political differences, and meet, peacefully, at our offices to address the one simple but important action on ShortList’s Great Historic Burger Summit agenda: create a burger formula befitting the final moments of human existence.
“There shall be no knives, no forks, no napkins,” Yianni decreed during a heated afternoon filled with cheese-based arguments, bacon disagreements, near fall-outs over onions, spats about sauces and threats to storm out. In fact, Yianni’s trifecta of stipulations for gross-out and feral eating came to be one of only a handful of things that our five gathered patty powerhouses unanimously agreed on. But, somehow, they did it. Through a lot of swearing, plenty of compromises and effective deal-making, our leaders created the beautiful monster we asked for.
“That’s it,” Tom said, as the final components of the Apocalypse Burger formula finally fell into place. “I see it! I’m naked, the meteor is bearing down on me, and that is the burger I’m clutching, its juices flowing down my grinning face.”
If you’re not comfortable with staring death in the face, that’s OK, we understand, but you might want to skip over the next page or two. But if you’re ready to see, in intense detail, what your final moments are going to look like, then carry on, and meet the burger that’ll take you by the hand and leap into the afterlife with you…
Secret special sauces
Tom: French’s mustard needs to show up.
Yianni: It’s one of those things that got nailed years ago, and there’s not much point going anywhere else. French’s and ketchup?
Tom: French’s definitely, but I wanna go better than ketchup for this. I find ketchup too sugary. You
do want that sour tomato taste, though.
Zan: Mustard, sure, but for me there needs to be something else. A Big Mac sauce?
Carl: Half Japanese kewpie mayo, half barbecue sauce made with French’s, and you’ve got the best Big Mac sauce ever.
Yianni: Or a secret special sauce – pickles, ketchup, French’s, mayo – from one of us. Sh*t, whose are we going for, though?
Zan: No no, this calls for a blend of all our secret special sauces. I like the idea of us all blending our own for the final burger ever.
Nick: A special master sauce for the ages.
Large Dill Pickle
Tom: A dill pickle, in some form, needs to be in the burger.
Yianni: Yeah, that crunch it gives is so important. It needs a flavour to it that isn’t just vinegar. Finding pickles is quite fun, though. You’ve got so many to try – Indian, Turkish, Polish, Japanese.
Carl: I found finding the perfect pickle to be a f*cking nightmare.
Tom: We make our own with fresh and dry dill, but with the end of the world looming we night need to go loot a Polish pickle shop for a good one.
Nick: It’s gotta be a nice big one, sliced into a decent length.
White potato bun
Yianni: A bun should in no way be posh. It should be a proper, no-nonsense bread roll. Definitely not brioche. As soon as a brioche bun gets saturated with meat juices, it will just disappear.
Tom: We found brioche too rich. Bread only needs to be the vehicle to get you through the burger.
Zan: Yeah, the burgers that are great, you don’t notice the bun until right after you’ve finished
it. You want to think, “Sh*t, that bun was great, but it never got in the way.”
Yianni: I’d probably put potato in it.
Nick: We’re a potato bun at Dirty Burger.
Carl: Same, we took a year to develop ours.
Yianni: So a white potato bun, butter-toasted?
Nick: And the top half steamed.
Sweet white onion
Nick: I’m a no onions guy. It takes away the flavour. It’s too powerful.
Zan: I think everyone likes onions, but a lot of people don’t think they like onions.
Yianni: We cut our white onions ahead of time then put them under iced water. It takes away the sharpness. Nick, you can just scrape yours off.
Two slices of melted American cheese
Zan: Cheese? American. It’s got to be.
Tom: American cheese is the best texture for a burger – it has a gummy richness – but it doesn’t pack enough flavour for me.
Zan: That’s the exact reason I love it. It’s a flavourless glue that supports the meat.
Nick: We use a fatty cheddar, but I personally like American cheese.
Yianni: It’s gotta be a melty slice of American.
Carl: I’m with Zan. It’s the texture. If I was going to die tomorrow, I would have a slice of American.
Tom: OK, I’ll submit. I do love it.
Zan: Let’s double it. And it has to be melted on the patty.
Single 180g native breed beef patty
Tom: We’ve gotta have well-aged beef. Age is very important.
Yianni: Yep, maybe 45-day dry-aged. You don’t want to go too over the top. I remember a 90-day dry-aged burger I had in the States – it was too overwhelming.
Zan: We live and die by our meat. It’s aged, loosely ground, loosely pattied, not cooked too much.
It’s gotta be a native breed, too.
Carl: Yeah, all that rare-breed stuff? It’s nonsense. The way the animal was treated and what they were fed makes all the difference.
Tom: We can all agree that it needs to be fatty and old. A single, loosely ground, loosely pattied, big 180g single patty made from 45-day dry-aged native-breed chuck and rib cap, with 25 per cent fat.
Nick: I’m cool with that.
Zan: Yeah. But I’m walking out of here if we’re not cooking it on a flat-top.
Carl: We have to address the ‘lettuce or no lettuce’ question.
Yianni: Carl, it’s the last day of the world. These are the final moments of life. F*ck lettuce. No lettuce.
Carl: I’d want bacon in my last burger. Trashy, Oscar Mayer bacon.
Nick: That meat we’ve got sounds so good, I don’t want to mix it with bacon sweetness.
Tom: It would be a better sign-off to keep it to beef. You wouldn’t add bacon to a patty of that quality.
Carl: Tomatoes? Oh no. No. Never.