Recipe: Make our ultimate smashed burgers, with rarebit cheese and bacon relish

Charlotte's ultimate smashed burger

Charlotte's ultCharlotte's ultimate smashed burgerimate smashed burger - Credit: Charlotte Smith-Jarvis

You cannot beat a big, fat, filthy burger. OK, so perhaps (definitely) we shouldn't be eating them every day, but if you're going to have a burger...HAVE one. Don't hold back. Make it with the best ingredients. Load it with insanely delicious toppings that'll make your mouth sing.

The best kind of patty should fit snugly in the hand, and be so flipping juicy you need kitchen towel at hand to mop up the mess afterwards. So, you know, don't wear your best outfit.

The following recipe is my husband's absolute favourite - in fact, I made it for Father's Day last weekend. It's a real beast, topped with a Welsh rarebit kind of cheese sauce concoction and homemade, spicy/sweet bacon relish. A pile of crispy fried onions is a must too.

I've made these as smashed patties, which differ slightly in method as you don't just leave your rounds of meat to cook as they are. You press down on each one with a fish slice, maximising the Maillard reaction, ensuring a gorgeous caramelised exterior. Make sure your beef is 20% fat, or they'll fall apart, and taste pretty dull. 

Our ultimate burger

(Serves 4)


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120g prime steak mince (ideally 20% fat) per person


For the bacon relish

100g smoked bacon or pancetta, finely chopped

1 large onion, finely chopped

50ml strong coffee

2tsps garlic powder

1/2tsp chilli flakes

2tbsps balsamic vinegar

1tbsp brown sugar

Pinch cinnamon

1tbsp soy sauce

15 twists of black pepper

Oil for frying

For the rarebit

1tbsp cornflour

1tsp English mustard

1tsp Worcestershire sauce

100ml beer (not lager)

150g mature Cheddar

Black pepper to taste

To serve

Crispy fried onions, ketchup, salad, burger buns


Make the bacon relish first. Pour a splash of oil in a small pan and add the onions and bacon. Cook over a medium heat until the onion is soft but not coloured. Add the remaining relish ingredients and cook until thick and sticky. Set aside to cool and keep in the fridge until you need it.

For the rarebit cheese, whisk the cornflour with the mustard and add to the beer. Whisk to remove any lumps. Pour the mix into a small pan with the rest of the ingredients and cook over a low heat, whisking all the time, until thick like double cream. You can use this as a sauce. Or, as I do, pour into a lined baking tray and allow to set in the fridge.

Bring the beef to room temperature (about 30 minutes before cooking). Season generously and break a little mix off, frying it to see if you've put in enough salt and pepper. Once you're happy, separate the mix into four burgers.

Heat a griddle pan and add the burgers. Push down on each one with a spatula, until it's about 1-1.5cm thick. You may need to cook in batches.

Once it's nicely caramelised on one side, turn over and cook the other. Around five minutes per side.

Top each one with some of the chilled cheese mix and pop in a bun with the relish and your other toppings. I like to put the burgers (before they go in a bun) with the cheese topping under the grill to bubble first.

Serve up with some corn on the cob, dirty beans (fry some bacon, a red pepper and an onion and add a tin of baked beans) and fries.