Wednesday, July 28, 2004

The Megaburger!

The dream was simple: to build a burger of epic proportions, inspired by the monster 6-pound burger offered by Denny's Beer Barrel Pub in the US. The dream presented a few questions:

Could we build it?
Could we then eat it?
Would this be the biggest burger seen in this wide brown land of ours?

The idea sounds sounds simple enough in and of itself: simply make a big meat patty, throw it between two skabs of bread and bingo. But again we had to answer a few quesions. How big should it be? How should it be cooked? How do we get a bread roll big enough? What toppings should it have?

Iron Chef Billy took charge at this point and decided on two burgers made from a combined total of 4.5kgs (10lbs) of mince, two home-made bread rolls, and use Denny's list of toppings.

The patties were to be baked in a similar fashion to meatloaf. Cooking of the pizza-looking patties began at around 10am and went quicker than Billy had expected, but there was nothing wrong with getting a little ahead of schedule.

At around 12:15 a few of us crowded around and began preparing the toppings - 4 tomatos, 4 onions, a complete head of lettuce, and 20 cheese slices!

The burgers rapidly took shape, and what imposing shapes they were, standing 15cm (6") tall, and I'd say a little over 30cm (12") across!

Once topped off with skewers to hold them together and garnished with gherkins, we had a quick official photo session, before carving them up!

With 8 hungry people queued up for the feast, we got a quarter of a burger each. Quarter of a burger doesn't sound like a very filling meal, until you realise that equates to around 1.2kgs (2.6lbs) each! The challenge was then obvious: who could polish off their burger portion?

This is probably the only time in my life I've eaten a hamburger with a knife and fork, but it was virtually impossible without the use of utensils! I adopted the "slow and steady" approach, carving small pieces off the side, but it was looking pretty grim - I was not even at the midway point when I could feel the first signs of being full.

However, I discovered I still had a bit more in me, so I kept at it, and much to my surprise I managed to keep fitting in piece after piece without feeling any more full! I finished off the meat patty first - like any good burger the top was sliding off, so the patty got more attention then the rest. I then figured I'd have a few more mouthfulls of the bun before calling it a day, but much to my surprise I made it all the way!

Of the original contenders, I was the only one able to polish off my burger allotment! I was, however, upstaged by Alonso, who stepped up to the table after finishing his lunch to take over where Ian left off - Ian, having also had lunch before the burger, had only had a few mouthfulls of his quarter. Alonso made short work of this, before moving on to other people's leftovers! What a champion! :)

The final sentiments were that the recipe was right on the money, but the quantities were a little too large for the number of people. There was much groaning and sweating done by most of the participants after the eating was done. Houmam looked a little worse for wear for the rest of the afternoon, but I felt pretty good considering what I'd just done! I really don't want to think of how bad it was for me, but it's a one-off thing so why not! :P

If you're thinking of doing this yourself I'd first say that preparing or eating a burger of this magnitude is not for the faint-hearted! Each quarter of the burger had as much meat as 4 quarter pounders, and the equivalent of half a loaf of bread! I would be amazed if someone could finish even half of one of these things without needing medical attention!

So if you're still thinking of attempting one, here's the full list of ingredients:

  • 4 Tomatos
  • 3.5 Onions
  • 1 Whole Lettuce
  • Butter
  • 4.586 Kg Mince
  • 4 Eggs
  • 20 slices of Cheese
  • 2 Kg Bread Mix
  • 1.2 Kg Water (for bread)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • 1 bottle MasterFoods Hamburger Spice
  • 250g breadcrumbs
  • ~200g American Mustard
  • ~250g Heinz Tomato Ketchup
  • ~200g Praise Mayonaise
  • 500g Gherkins

And the bottom line? For only $50 you two of these puppies can be yours! :D