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Classic Cheeseburger

Classic Cheeseburger


Everyone needs a good classic burger recipe. Mayo? Ketchup? Pickles? Tick, tick, tick.

  • Serves: 4 |
    4 servings
  • Difficulty:

  • Prep Time : 1:30 hours |
  • Cook Time : 10 mins
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150 ml water
⅘ C (100 ml) white wine vinegar
70 g brown sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
5 peppercorns
2 g mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
1 whole cucumber

Red Eye Mayo
1 egg
a pinch of coffee granules (any instant brand will do)
1 ½ tsp (7.5 ml) sherry vinegar
pinch of salt
½ tsp (2.5 ml) Sriracha sauce
1 C (250 ml) grapeseed oil

1 onion, finely chopped
olive oil
400 g fresh or canned tomatoes
20 g cider vinegar
10 g brown sugar
10 g Soy sauce
a pinch of ground cloves
½ tsp (2.5 ml) mustard powder
10 g miso paste

4 x 180 g free-range beef patty (preferably a mix of chuck, brisket and deboned short rib)

To serve
Emmental cheese
4 sesame seeded hamburger rolls
baby gem lettuce leaves
red onion, finely sliced


Make the pickles at least a day before you make the burgers. In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the water and then add the vinegar, brown sugar and salt. Add the remaining spices and allow to infuse while you prepare the cucumber. Slice the cucumber however you prefer your pickles, into rounds, into quarters or even finely sliced lengthways. Once the cucumber is prepped, place into a sterilised jar and pour over the warm pickle brine. Leave to pickle for 24 hours.

Red Eye Mayo

Bring a small saucepan of water to a rolling boil, add the two eggs and boil for four minutes (note: the recipe only calls for one egg, but add an extra one in incase it breaks). Have a small bowl of ice water ready to cool the eggs down once they are done cooking. When cool, crack one egg into a jug large enough to fit all the ingredients. Add the coffee, sherry vinegar, salt and Sriracha. Using a hand blender, blitz everything together once, then slowly begin to add the grapeseed oil a little bit at a time, blending in between each addition to emulsify. Carefully keep adding the oil until it’s finished and you’re left with a creamy mayonnaise. Check the flavour and seasoning, if it’s too thick thin it down with a little coffee. Pour into a bottle and set aside.



In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the chopped onions in a little bit of olive oil until soft. Add the tomatoes, cider vinegar, brown sugar, Soy sauce, cloves, mustard powder and miso paste and allow to cook for at least an hour (the longer you cook the tomatoes, the better flavour they’ll have), or until nicely reduced and has reached a spreadable consistency. Allow to cool, then place in a bottle. Set aside until needed.


Charcoal is the best way to cook these burgers, so get your braai nice and hot. Just before the patties go on, brush with a little oil and season well on both sides. Cook for three minutes on each side, top with a slice of cheese for the last minute of cooking. Leave to rest for four minutes before serving. While you wait, brush the sliced burger buns with melted butter and place them on the grills to lightly toast.

To serve

Assemble the burgers, place the lettuce (if using) on the bun and top with the patty then the mayo, ketchup and a few pickles and the red onion (if using). Have a few napkins on hand and enjoy.

Note: this recipe will make more mayo, ketchup and pickles than you will need for four portions. The sauces will keep in the fridge, in an airtight container for about 3 weeks. The pickles will keep either in the fridge or at room temperature, for as long as it takes you to eat them.