Posted: 28 Jul 2014

How to make Neil Perry’s
famous wagyu burger

Neil Perry, RockpoolTucking into Neil Perry’s wagyu burger at the Rockpool Bar & Grill bar with a cold beer and a side of onion rings is one of Melbourne’s best value food experiences.

Rockpool’s David Blackmore Wagyu fillet can set you back $110 in the main restaurant on the Yarra River at Crown, but canny diners plonk themselves at the adjoining bar and enjoy a David Blackmore wagyu burger with bacon, Gruyere cheese and pickle for $24.

Now Perry is taking his famed burger national with a chain of casual burger joints, starting with a 100-seat venue in Sydney’s World Square this October. Melbourne will be next off the rank in 2015, with plans to expand “Burger Project” overseas.

If you want to give Perry’s burger recipe a crack at home, check out the recipe is at the bottom of the page, after Perry’s top five tips for building a perfect burger…

1. It’s all in the beef

The beef must be fresh ground. At Burger Project, we are going to use a high quality 36-month grass-fed chuck steak that will be ground on site.

2. Seasoning

We season the patty and season when cooking. It’s essential.

3. Top buns

The bun needs to be a perfect vehicle for all the flavours of the burger without being overpowering in flavour or texture. We use soft brioche buns, which are halved and toasted.

4. Onion love

It’s essential to soak white onions in water to remove the harshness…this is a must.

5. Get saucy

The sauce should be tomato based. It’s never mayo on a real burger.

Neil Perry’s wagyu burger

Serves 4

800g coarsely minced wagyu beef chuck
4 bacon rashers
4 slices Gruyère cheese
4 brioche burger buns, halved and toasted
4 baby cos lettuce leaves
1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling

Knead the mince with your hands until it becomes sticky and the meat binds together. Form into 4 patties. Heat a barbecue or chargrill pan to high heat. Cook the patties, turning once, until medium-rare.
Meanwhile, heat the grill to hot and grill the bacon until crisp.
Top each patty with cheese, then the bacon, and cook on the barbecue until the cheese has softened.
Place each patty on a bun base, top with some relish and pickles (see recipes below) and sandwich with the bun tops. Serve with the lettuce and tomato on the side, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned to taste.

Tomato and chilli relish

1 onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 small knob ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp sea salt
7 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
½ cup caster sugar
85g brown sugar
Juice of 1½ lemons
4 birdseye chillies, finely chopped
½ cinnamon quill
1 clove
Combine the onion, capsicum, olive oil, garlic, ginger and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until syrupy (15-20 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a jam-like consistency (1½-2 hours). Remove from the heat and cool. Spoon into sterilised jars. Tomato and chilli relish will refrigerated for a week. Makes 600ml.

Red onion pickle

3 cups rice wine vinegar
345g caster sugar
4 cinnamon quills
1 tbs whole cloves
2 dried long red chillies
2 fresh bay leaves
1 tbs black peppercorns
2 star anise
3 Spanish onions, sliced into 3mm-thick rounds
Combine all of the ingredients, except for the onion, in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 1 hour. Return to the stove and bring back to the boil. Transfer to a 2-litre sterilised jar and refrigerate until completely chilled. Meanwhile, blanch the onion (20 seconds). Remove the onion and refrigerate until chilled. When onion is chilled, repeat the whole process again. This process will ensure a crunchy pickle. Add the onion to the brine, seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate. Red onion pickle will keep unopened for 3 months. Makes about 500g.

Zucchini pickle

4 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
1 onion, quartered, thinly sliced lengthways
1 tbs sea salt
2 cups cider vinegar
250g caster sugar
1 tsp each of brown mustard seeds, mustard powder and ground turmeric
Place the zucchini and onion in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, cover with iced water and set aside for 1 hour. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for 3 minutes, then cool. Transfer to a 2-litre sterilised jar and refrigerate until chilled. Drain the zucchini and onion and add to the brine. Seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate overnight. Zucchini pickle will keep unopened for 3 months. Makes about 500g.

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