Australia is my kind of place – full of outdoorsy, beach loving, healthy people. My trip included amazing food, even more amazing people, and all the cliches – kangaroos, koalo bears, boomerangs, and beaches. Burgers and meat pie seemed like the perfect tribute to Australia. Spoiler alert – I served this to my friends for the 4th of July, but only after considering whether Australia was a US ally. Thankfully, we’ll all good friends so here’s my tribute to the 4th and Australia day.
My first visit to Australia was New Year’s 2006 – while in transit to Hong Kong for my last semester of business school. No, I’m not sure how Australia was “on the way” either, but it was absolutely worth the detour. Australia is friendly, warm, food loving, and full of boys with adorable accents. Who could ask for more?
Why Aussie burgers, veggie burgers, and meat pie
The Aussies are a meat loving bunch. You might say this selection of dishes isn’t the most traditional meal, but I couldn’t import kangaroo and I needed to feed a large group of people. I’ve made the burgers a few times now and every time someone says, “Wow, I’ve never tasted a burger like this.” The veggie burgers are excellent for freezing and having on hand for later. And meat pie, well, who on earth (other than vegetarians) doesn’t love meat pie?
An Austin Aussie burger, pineapple cole slaw, veggie burger and meat pie experience
Some of this story is going to have to wait for the book. There’s only so much a girl can put out into the web without a book advance. It’s a great story about the divergence of fantasy and reality, truth, responsibility, and self respect. The fourth was a super fun day with my friends hanging out at my condo’s pool. The Danish Swede just landed from Sweden so it was a really exciting time. I was a bit overwhelmed by how much cooking I took on, but it was a perfect day!
Kitchen gear – burgers, pineapple cole slaw, and meat pie
You can cook burgers by time, but it doesn’t hurt to try a meat thermometer. I love the Cuisinart grilling set. Simple is best when it comes to pie plates. If you’re lacking on an outdoor grill, this indoor one will do an amazing job! Also, the recipe calls for store-bought pesto, but I definitely think you should grind up your own. It’s so easy!
How to cook burgers
Burgers are a bit tricky. You don’t want them to moo at your guests, but cook them too long and they will taste like a brick and no amount of fried egg will help that. Here’s a guide for whichever method you choose.
Full Australian menu
Inspirational recipe and resources
Tweaks and cautionary tales – Aussie Burger
- Don’t skip the fried egg. I had some guests that didn’t want runny eggs, but the burger just wasn’t the same. At a minimum, fry it fully, rather than leaving it over easy.
- Pickled beets sound pretty yuck if you ask me, but they are part of what adds a unique flavor. Keep them.
- The original recipe calls for tomatoes, but I don’t think they are needed.
- I added arugula – in part because I had some handy from the portobello burgers, but also because this one needed some greenery.
How to make Aussie burgers healthier
Don’t. Just make the veggie burgers above. I did replace the mayo with greek yogurt (as I always do). No one will know the difference.
Nitty-Gritty – Aussie burger
- Learning Curve: low
- Pre-work: none
- Vegetarian: nope, although it might be interesting to try this approach with the veggie burger above
- Healthy: nope
- Freezes well: no
- ¼ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup greek yogurt
- 1 teaspoon Asian chile paste (sambal oelek)
- 1¼ pounds ground beef chuck (or buffalo)
- 4 ciabatta rolls
- 4 fresh pineapple rings
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, divided
- 4 large eggs
- ½ cup drained sliced pickled beets
- 1 cup arugula
- Combine ketchup, mayonnaise, and chile paste.
- Mix beef with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper, then form into 4 (4¼-inch-diameter) patties.
- Lightly toast rolls on grill.
- Pat pineapple dry and brush with ½ tablespoon oil.
- Oil grill rack, then grill pineapple and burgers, covered only if using a gas grill, turning once, until pineapple is tender and caramelized and burgers are medium-rare, about 4 minutes total. Do not push down on meat while cooking. Cook a bit longer if you are cooking on the stove top.
- Heat remaining ½ tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot, then fry eggs.
- Spread chile mayonnaise on rolls, then assemble burgers with pineapple, beets, eggs, and arugula.