Many pubs now offer the classic combo, but if a cheap meal’s all you’re after you’ll be hard pressed to beat Wetherspoon’s £4 ‘beer and a burger’ deal.
It is exactly what it says on the tin, nothing more and nothing less: a pint of unremarkable beer, a burger like many others and some chips to bulk it out. Sometimes this is exactly what you need when you want something quick, filling, and most importantly, cooked by someone else… But does it really need to be that basic?
Damian Jeffries and Edward Stanford-Clark challenged themselves to raise the bar without changing the price, and this was the result…
Ed’s version –
I was determined to make the classiest burger I could with the £4 available, and marinating the meat in red wine seemed like an obvious place to start. I decided to spruce up the onions a little by caramelising them in balsamic vinegar, and to replace the traditional soft bun with a homemade ciabatta roll – mostly to cut costs, but also on the basis that foreign names always make food sound better!
My full ingredients list:
150g Sainsburys basics minced beef – 47p
180ml mini bottle of house Shiraz – £1.69
75g Wright’s Ciabatta bread mix – 11p
½ an onion – 7p
½ a tomato – 6p (Sainsburys basics, 79p/450g)
250g Sainsburys basics potatoes – 10p
1 bottle of Budweiser – 64p (from a multipack, 30 for £19)
Approx 1tbsp olive oil – approx. 8p
1tsp caster sugar – 1p
– Total: £3.33 –
Firstly, make the ciabatta using 75g flour, 52.5 ml warm water (that's 3tbsp, 2 tsp and 1/2 a tsp if you can be bothered!) and 2.5ml (1/2 tsp) olive oil. Leave to prove and bake as directed.
Peel, halve and slice the spuds into slices approximately the thickness of a £1 coin. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain, place on a baking tray, drizzle with oil and grill under a high heat for about 5 minutes until golden. Turn and repeat on the other side.
Slice the onions and fry over a medium heat until soft. Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar, stir and lower the heat to gentle. Leave these to caramelise and soften until the rest is ready, stirring occasionally.
To make the burger, slice the mince finely across its ‘grain,’ place in a bowl and cover with wine. You’ll probably only need about half the bottle; you’ll have to figure out something to do with the rest!
After a few minutes drain the wine out, and use your hands to squeeze out any excess liquid while forming a patty shape. Fry for around 4 minutes a side, turning once.
Finally, assemble it all, crack open a beer and you’re all set!
Love it? Hate it? Improved it? Let us know in the comments! Be sure to check out www.whatsburnin.com or follow WhatsBurnin on facebook for more cool ideas…
The Jeffries Academy Version
Well there is no denying that Ed's recipe has tickled my palate and will be difficult to beat, I shall not be giving up without a fight. My recipe should cost no more than £3.00, however if you are a vegetarian you're in luck as by removing the burger all together, you find yourself with a much cheaper option – a cheese sandwich and chips. Feel free to add a tasty piece of boiled-to-death broccoli to garnish!
Now, although I normally like my beef still mooing, making burgers is a slightly different affair! I also find that Wetherspoon’s portions are too small and I need at least two burgers be satisfied! The burger will therefore be a no-nonsense, manhood-compensating half pounder.
I started by making my way to the butchers to find some mince. It's not the cheapest but it is very good. You should use mince which is at least 20-30% fat so as to make sure that the burger does not dry out and maintains its shape. I then added about a 6th of a finely diced red onion, half a chopped garlic clove, 1tsp of ketchup, an egg yolk to bind, some grated Cheddar and ½ tsp soy sauce (salt dries out the burger). Mix with your hands then mould into a burger and leave in fridge for about an hour to settle, before frying on either side for about 3-4 minutes , making sure it is thoroughly cooked through. Whilst doing this, fry some bacon and place a slice of cheese on the burger until melted.
Very simple to do. I peel and cut a large potato into chip shapes then sautée/shallow-fry in several lugs of sunflower oil for around 8 minutes until brown. Then remove and dry on kitchen paper to remove excess oil.
I did indeed make my own roll from scratch and it was delicious, but after exhausting my forearms kneading the dough all afternoon, I have concluded that you should just buy the wretched thing. Making your own bread can be rewarding, but it is a laborious process indeed and you run the risk of making unleavened bread, which although biblically significant, is not what you want for a burger.
Serve up roll, burger and chips, add some salt and your sauce of choice! Simples!
½ pound (220g) Beef – £1.32 from Sidwell St. Butchers
1 Slice Bacon – 25p
half a handful of grated Cheddar plus a top slice – 15p (Morrisons do good cheese offers at the moment)
1/6 finely diced onion – several pence
½ finely diced garlic clove – don't be silly!
½ tsp Soy Sauce
1 tsp Ketchup
1 Large Potato – 10-15p
Bread Roll – if you're feeling brave!
100g strong white flour – 7p
½ tsp dried yeast
¼ mug warm milk
Beer – Choose what you will from a traditional real ale to a wife-beating Stella.
Budweiser – 83p (based on a 12 pack for £10)