It’s fair to say that I am a big fan of Hartenberg Wines (you can read about their Alchemy range here), so when I found out they were having a burger competition I jumped on it!

For the last few years I’ve been trying to find the ultimate burger, and despite many burgers coming incredibly close to ticking all the boxes, none have… except for one.

Ironically, this burger wasn’t from a restaurant, or even made with a solid burger patty. As with most things in life, you find great things often without looking for them, and secondly, you sometimes don’t know entirely what’s in it. Is that horse meat I taste? Interesting.

All you do know is:

  1. That it’s *&^% good, and,
  2. that you want more, now!

So I decided my burger should be in the spirit of all great street food. It needed to fulfill certain criteria:

  • There must be some crunch.
  • There should be a bitterness.
  • There should be a sweetness.
  • You should be able to taste the smokiness of the pan.
  • There must be some bite.
  • There must be some creaminess.
  • There must be some tang.
  • The meat should be tender, but still have texture.
  • The bun should be soft enough not to hinder eating, but strong enough to pack full of ingredients and not fall apart.
  • It should be cheap.
  • It should be addictively tasty, like herion, in food form, obviously.

Simple.

I started with the protein. Pork Eisbein worked well because it’s already smoked, and although it’s a pain in the ass to pull, it’s quite gelatinous, so it maintains a good mouthfeel and texture. Plus pulled pork has a ridiculous amount of surface area for spices.

Final sequence.

After cooking, and pulling, I put it in a pan with some reduced red wine vinegar, a splash of the Alchemy Merlot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc blend, some chili flakes, some sugar, and a sprinkle of smoked salt.

Tang – Check | Bite – Check | Sweetness – Check | Smokiness – Check | Texture – Check

Originally when planning this, I was going to make a Brioche bun, but I ain’t got no time for dat. Plus, have you ever seen street venders with brioche? I haven’t, and that was enough to sway me to the lazy side of buying a roll instead.

With some mustardy mayo on the bottom, I added some sliced radish.

Crunch – Check | Bitter – Check

Piling the pork on, with a little compression to get the most possible on the roll, with a handful of peppery wild rocket, and some creamy blue cheese.

Creaminess – Check | Peppery crunch – Check

We are now good to launch. Seeing as the bottle was already open, I poured a glass to go with it.

As the top bun was gently placed over the top, sesame seeds crumbling off between my fingers, I couldn’t help but feel like an ape from 2001:A Space Odyssey, touching the monolith…

My teeth went through the bun, creamy blue cheese, radish, and pork effortlessly. Stray rocket leaves falling like space debri, destined to forever orbit my plate. Houston we have lift off.