The verdict: Australia’s top 10 burgers
One person’s pickle is another’s beetroot, especially when it comes to burgers. While we were digesting the American burger revolution Down Under, New York chef David Chang accused our nation of f***king up burgers by putting beetroot on them.Yes David, we love beetroot on our burgers, but we love pickles too.
Spawned from our rapacious appetite for global trends, the millennial chef gave us the US-style burger with sweet bun and plastic cheese. But, not every burger lover has a sweet tooth. Lately, the classic Aussie – beef, tomato, beetroot, cheese, bacon and fried egg on a savoury bun – re-emerged as a local hero.
The ongoing burger delirium has star chefs Neil Perry, Luke Mangan and Shannon Bennett going head-to-head for the burger king crown.The craze has also given rise to larger-than-your-head abominations created for Instagram fame, rather than eating enjoyment.
A real burger has nothing to do with the bun. It must have a patty of minced meat or it’s technically a sandwich. We’re talking real-deal beef burgers.So here, in order, are our top 10.
1. Mary’s burger with trashcan bacon: Let’s be honest, there is BM (before Mary’s) and AM (after Mary’s). This Newtown dive bar proved that you’ll put up with any amount of unapologetic attitude for a cracking burger.The Mary’s burger relies on a soft, slightly sweet bun, beef (pasture-fed chuck, brisket, rump), lettuce, tomato, onion, American cheese, and Mary’s secret sauce.Add smoked bacon for a truly rockin’ experience. Mary’s, Sydney, getfat.com.au
2. Huxtaburger: If Mary’s led Sydney’s revolution, it’s fair to say Huxtaburger led Melbourne’s. Huxtaburger walks the line of American and Aussie burger in style with a soft bun and Wagyu patties. The Huxtaburger comes with beef patty, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, tomato sauce and pickles – just add bacon for a banging bun. Huxtaburger, Melbourne, huxtaburger.com.au
3. Ben’s Classic: No alterations for you! Ben’s could soon become the Soup Nazi (for all you Seinfeld fans) of Brisbane’s burger scene. Don’t let the no alterations policy get you down. This Aussie version of an American burger slam-dunks a sweet, soft bun with juicy beef patty, American cheese, pickles, lettuce, tomato, onion, mustard and mayo. Ben’s Burgers, Brisbane, bensburgers.com.au
4. The Chur Beast: Across the ditch, the word chur is a tick of approval, and these tasty burgers have ours. A briochesoft, slightly crusty bun wraps two grilled beef patties, each draped in melted cheese, double bacon, tomato jam, barbecue sauce and mustard mayo, yet they’re just small enough to get your mouth around. Chur, bro. Chur Burger, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, churburger.com.au
5. Betty’s classic with pickles and bacon: Little-known Queensland burger joint Betty’s has lifted the bar on the burger scene.The Betty’s classic is a euphoric experience. A glistening, soft bun oozes cheese melted over an Angus patty. Lettuce, tomato, onion and special sauce join the party to deliver a diner-style meal. Betty’s Burgers, Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne, bettysburgers.com.au
6. Double Patty Smash: If you want the proper American, full frontal, food coma-inducing ride, head to Rockwell And Sons for this flavour bomb of a burger that will have you loosening your belt.Two balls of minced brisket and chuck beef are smashed on the hotplate. Caramelised on the outside, pink in the middle, it’s joined by cheese and special sauce on a seeded bun. Rockwell And Sons, Melbourne, rockwellandsons.com.au
7. The Aussie: Our celebrity chefs might be going toe-to-toe, but Neil Perry takes the crown. With the mantra, “fast food, slow food values”, this is all about the beef. Patties are made from 36-month, 100 per cent grass-fed, Cape Grim beef. Other components simply play a supporting role. Order the Aussie – that
beef patty with beetroot, cheese, onion, pick les, tomato, lettuce and secret sauce. Burger Project, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, burgerproject.com
8. Royale: The Royale at NordBurger is like doing a deal with the devil – divine at the time but you may regret the huge undertaking later. Some of South Australia’s best chefs proclaim there is only one burger in the state. Once you squeeze the double patty, double cheese, caramelised onions, pickles, mustard, and Nord sauce on a seeded bun into your mouth, you’ll understand why. NordBurger, Adelaide, nordburger.com
9. Andrew’s beef burger with the lot Matt Preston reckons these are some of the best in Australia and it’s hard to disagree. Here, most burgers are proudly and unapologetically savoury. Wrap your laughing gear around an Andrew’s burger with the lot – beef, lettuce, onions, egg, bacon, tomato, double cheese and tomato sauce – amen. Andrew’s Hamburgers, Melbourne, andrewshamburgers.com
10. Paul’s special with bacon and egg: Call it a nostalgic tip of the hat to the tuckshops of yesteryear, but 60 years of burger flipping shows at Paul’s Famous Hamburgers. This place reminds us how good Aussies make burgers.All menu options start with a seeded bun, lettuce, tomato, onions and tomato sauce. Paul’s Famous Hamburgers, Sylvania, Sydney, paulsfamoushamburgers.com.au Other standout burgers were just nudged from this list. For the top 20, see delicious.com.au.