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Burger Economics

This comes from the deepest parts of my heart. This isn't a recipe, so much as a protest at the price and quality of burgers in the UK. A Shake Shack burger starts at £5.50, ($7.50 USD) and is just over three mouthfuls, with a decent taste. This is unacceptable. So I've set out to show the value and speed of cooking a better burger, at home. We'll take prices from Lidl, and see if our per-burger cost comes out significantly lower.

Ingredients (for four burgers)

Pork Mince 500g - £1.89 (beef mince 500g £1.49 / steak mince 500g £2.56)

Jar of Pickles - £0.69 (1 per burger, sliced lengthways)

American Cheese - £0.69

Jar of English Mustard - £0.35 (can be spicy, go for American mustard if you don't like it)

Tin of chopped Tomatoes - £0.29

2 Vine Tomatoes - £0.90, sliced

1 Red Onion - £0.20 (peeled and sliced)

4 Crusty Rolls - £0.60

Box of Mushrooms - £0.92 (use four, sliced)

Garlic Bulb - £0.20 (only use 4 cloves, peeled and minced)

Smoked Paprika - £0.49

Salt/Pepper (assuming this is in the cupboard)

1/2 Teaspoon Caster Sugar (also assuming this staple is in the cupboard)

Total £7.22 / £1.80 (rounded up) per burger. (With some ingredients to stock up the cupboard)


Put the mince in a bowl along with 2 teaspoons of paprika, a teaspoon of salt and a big hit of pepper. Mix together well. Form into three balls at 125 grams each. Press out into a patty just wider than the width of the bun. Leave to rest.

In a saucepan, pour in the tomatoes and add the garlic cloves. Turn to a medium heat and reduce by half until nice and thick. Add a half teaspoon of sugar, stir, then salt and pepper to taste.

Fry the patties in a nonstick frying pan. Three minutes each side on a medium-high heat. In the final minute, drape each with a slice of smoked American cheese. After the minute is up, remove from the pan and set aside to rest. Add the mushrooms and onions to the fat from the frying pan and fry them on a medium high eat until soft and slightly charred.

Cut the buns and toast each side. Smear lid with hot english mustard, bottom with a tablespoon of tomato sauce. Assemble as above.

This could be cheaper or more expensive but you'd have to try very hard to make them as expensive as going out. You could add lettuce for next to nothing and make a delicious salad the next day. Or add an egg for a natural, yolky sauce. Or, if you're feeling like royalty, add paprika, garlic powder and cayenne to some mayonnaise and put that on. You could add delicious baked goose fat fries for next to nothing and minimal effort.

Long story short, stay at home for your next burger outing. It's faster, cheaper and tastier to cook your own. I've learned my lesson. Next lesson I need to figure out is how to make a Shake Shack burger bun.


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