We’re finally at that stage in the year when you can eat pretty much anything and use the excuse of ‘hey, it’s Christmas’.
As we know, Christmas officially begins whenever the first festive sandwiches hit supermarket shelves, but there’s another special which will take precedence for now: the not-so-humble Christmas burger.
The definition is a relatively loose one: a Christmas burger needs a top and bottom bun of some variety, plus at least one festive ingredient, but beyond that it’s pretty much a free-for-all.
We’ve had a look around for some of the best – and best-looking – Christmas burgers available in the UK this year. Let us know if there are any we’ve missed.
7Bone Burger – Son of a Nutcracker
One of the fiercest Christmas burger debates surrounds whether you go for chicken or turkey as the main meat (or neither…more on that later). 7Bone, with locations in the home counties and on the south coast, has opted for the former. But to dwell on that would do them a disservice. There’s also melted brie, a sausage patty, cranberry mayosauce, crispy onions and xxxmas gravy. Oh, and did we mention the chicken’s topped with stuffing before being deep fried? Oh, and did we also mention the whole thing is topped with a pig in a blanket?
Various locations – from £11.25
All Star Lanes – The Christmas Dinner Burger
You can’t accuse All Star Lanes of skimping on ingredients for their effort. If you head along this Christmas you’ll be treated to a turkey, cranberry and chestnut patty, duck fat roasted potato salad, a sausage and apricot stuffing fritter, smoked Applewood cheese and treacle cured bacon. Basically an entire dinner between two buns, served with Tater Tots. And you can work it off with a spot of bowling afterwards, if you can still move.
London & Manchester – from £24 with a starter or dessert
Asado – Christmas Special
Bristol’s Asado does burgers the proper way: limited menu, nothing excessively fancy, but willing to pull out all the stops for their specials. This Christmas they’ve introduced their first Christmas burger, which, like many others on this list, contains two patties. For them it’s one pork stuffing and one buttermilk fried turkey. You’ve also got all the other festive accoutrements, making for a burger that it might be physically impossible to eat with your hands without dribbling cranberry sauce down yourself, i.e. the best kind.
Bristol - £11
Blues Kitchen – The Turducken
This year’s festive special from the London bar/restaurant is a take on the classic three bird roast. That’s a TURkey patty, shredded confit DUCK and crispy buttermilk chiCKEN. Yeah, there’s two CKs in there but no one knows whose C and whose K gets used in the Turducken. They’ve even paid lip service to Brussels sprouts in their Christmas slaw, which is fine I guess, plus cranberry aioli and Swiss cheese.
London - £14
Byron – The Fromagemas
Christmas isn’t just about turkey, it’s also about more cheese than it’s healthy to eat in one sitting. This is presumably the thinking that went into Byron’s Fromagemas burger, a 6oz hamburger with Barber’s cheddar (good), Barber’s Red Leicester (still good), Byron cheese (probably about the right amount of cheese now), crispy Grana Padano (ok, bit much but it’s Christmas), red onion (some respite, thank god), smoked tomato ketchup (better), Grana Padano aioli (how is there more cheese?) and a jug of Byron cheese sauce (guess this is how I die).
Various locations – £16.95 with a drink and side
Cane and Grain – Get Stuffed
One of three Christmas specials at this Manchester joint, the Get Stuffed burger adds a new ingredient into the mix: cranberry and rum sauce. It’s drizzled over a turkey burger with pigs in blankets, jack cheese, and sage and onion stuffing (hence the name). There’s also a vegetarian Christmas burger, the Bauble and Squeak, and a souped-up bacon cheeseburger called The Grinch.
Manchester - £15 with fries and a drink
Chick ‘n’ Sours – Mr Wang’s Famous Christmas Fry
Christmas isn’t just about turkey, sometimes it’s about cramming all your other ingredients together into one deliciously hideous bastard sandwich. That’s what Chick ‘n’ Sours have done with their Christmas burger, which combines fried chicken thigh, kewpie mayo, a ham and cheese fritter, pineapple kimchi and Wang’s sauce. We’re not saying it’s literally impossible to eat in one go, but you might need to detach your jaw like a snake.
London - £14
Cut + Grind – Christmas Beast
The sort of burger that leaves you a dribbling mess at the side of the sofa to the point where someone else has to act as your proxy during the family game of Monopoly, Cut + Grind’s Christmas special is frankly obscene. If it was possible to get high on meat, this would probably do the trick. Ground turkey breast with sage cinnamon and clove, roast potato, carrot and Brussels sprout rosti, pork stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayo, and braised red cabbage, with a side of turkey gravy. There’s no elegant way to eat this.
London - £13
Dirty Bones – Holiday Burger
Whether it’s turkey or something else, your Christmas dinner tends to involve a meat you don’t eat all year round. For Dirty Bones, that meat is venison – specifically a venison and pork patty with hazelnut-brown butter mayo, smoked bacon, caramelised shallots and red cabbage marmalade, all served on a seeded brioche. Go on, then.
London & Oxford - £10.50
GBK – O Christmas Three
GBK have embraced the Christmas spirit and given you a choice of three patties with your Christmas burger – none of them turkey. You can go for the usual chicken or beef, or the more festive venison, topped with a hash brown, smoked Applewood cheese, cabbage and bacon, and tarragon mayo, all served with a side of the cryptic ‘Christmas gravy’. Oh, and it’s topped with a devil on horseback, because pigs in blankets are just passé.
Various locations - £11.95
Hawksmoor – Christmas Burger
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Hawksmoor Christmas burger is the Home Alone and ‘Fairytale of New York’ of burgers – a Christmas staple for years. It’s a two-patty job, one buttermilk-fried turkey and one pork sausage, with crispy bacon, sprout tops, spiced cranberry ketchup and a slice of Ogleshield cheese crammed in there for good measure. You’ve had plenty of time to try this one – why haven’t you already?
London and Manchester - £13
Honest Burger – Christmas
Another mainstay of the festive season, Honest do away with the turkey and stick a bunch of Christmas classics on top of one of their top notch beef burgers. Smoked bacon, deep-fried camembert, cranberry sauce and rocket all complement the patty perfectly. Yeah, we said deep-fried camembert. Looks like a hash brown, feels like a hash brown, but when you bite in… nope, just cheese. Excellent.
London/Cambridge/Reading - £12.95 with chips
Kua Aina – Lava Grilled Christmas Burger
It’s beef, it’s sage and onion stuffing, it’s sausage, it’s cranberry sauce, it’s camembert, it’s a pig in a blanket, it’s… not very Hawaiian, but we’re not complaining about its inclusion on Kua Aina’s ‘Christmas Luau’ menu. It’s part of a three-course set menu, which obviously includes the option of more pigs in blankets – because one’s never enough, is it?
London - £19.95 as part of three-course set menu
Lucky Chip – The Rudolph Burger
Lucky Chip rotate their menu fairly frequently, so you just knew they’d be doing something special for Christmas. They’ve actually got three festive burgers, the others being the beef patty with stuffing ‘Humbug’, and the fairly self-explanatory ‘Turkey Surprise’, but we’re focusing on this one because it’s a little different. Venison, Applewood smoked bacon, stilton, blueberry and blackberry gin jam, aioli and rocket.
London – £10.50
MEATliquor – The Burgducken
This is a big one: MEATliquor have collaborated with chef Tom Kerridge for what might be the most ridiculous burger we’ve ever seen. It’s turkey, duck, chicken, pigeon and pheasant, minced with pork belly and deep fried in panko breadcrumbs before being crowbarred into a bun alongside brandy and cranberry mayo, Brussels sprout slaw, XXXmas pudding ketchup, with the whole thing being topped with a pig in a blanket. This feels like the sort of burger you absolutely need to eat exactly once.
London - £12.50
Red’s True BBQ – Monte Christmas Burger
The guys behind that doughnut burger you’ve always been afraid to try were obviously going to do something outrageous for Christmas. It’s half Monte Cristo sandwich, half Christmas dinner, all delicious. A Turkey patty topped with ham & sliced smoked turkey breast, peppered bacon, Monterey Jack cheese, cranberry and Dirty sauce. All squeezed between a vanilla custard-soaked, fried brioche bun.
Various locations - £11.95 with sweet potato fries
Solita – Xmas Burger
You’ve probably asked for a burger with everything on it before. This somehow has more than that. A brioche bun filled until bursting with port and cranberry sauce, deep fried sprouts, home smoked turkey breast, roast gammon, turkey gravy, a candied pig in a blanket, a 7oz steak patty, aged cheddar and – wait for it – a homemade festive bake pasty. They also claim to have an ‘equally ridiculous’ vegetarian option, but we’re struggling to conceive of anything that could meet that description.
Manchester & Preston - £16.90
(Main image: Honest Burgers)