Every couple of months or so, I have some friends round to play board-games. There can be anything from 8 to 20 people, so I tend to do burgers and bangers on my pellet grill, as it is easy to do, and doesn’t need me hovering over it.
Up to recently, I have used Tesco’s Finest burgers, of various types – my favourite is the beef with caramelised onion. They always cook nicely – I can either do them over a high heat, for a conventional grilled burger, or sometimes I slow-cook them on low for up to a couple of hours, which makes them nice and smokey.
A couple of months back, I had a small number of friends around, so I tried them on my local butcher’s “Pork and Apple” burgers. These went down a storm, so i tried them again when I had a houseful.
The burgers taste nice, but I find they are a lot harder to handle than the Tescos burgers, and more likely to break apart, which the Tesco burgers never do. This is the case for both the butcher’s pork and beef burgers. This isn’t a problem when you are cooking just a few burgers, but when you are cooking 40, and moving them around the grill, so they cook evenly, it is a big consideration.
I’ve also tried burgers from another local butcher, and had the same problem. One of the issues is that “butcher’s burgers” seem to be thin and flat, whereas the Tesco burgers are smaller in diameter, but thicker, which means you can cook them longer, and they remain juicy.
I don’t know what the answer is. I am going to talk to my butcher, to see if they can make them up to my preference, but that means getting insanely organised – my final headcount is usually the day before the games session. I think the ultimate answer is for me to make my own – over-estimating the numbers, and freezing any excess for the next time. I have made my own burgers in the past, but not in these quantities – I would need to experiment to get consistent results.
So for our April session, I think it is going to be either Tescos or Cooperative burgers, until I can work out how to make the perfect burger.
As for the sausages – it is a no-brainer. My local butcher’s bangers are so much better!