Food & Culture

Anatomy of a dish: Aussie burger

David Chang might hate it, but we do things a little differently Down Under.

An Aussie burger (Photo: Alicia Taylor)
"You know who fuck up burgers more than anyone else in the world? Australians." David Chang didn't mince his words when he ranted against the great Australian burger in his magazine, Lucky Peach, in 2009. He mostly took exception to the addition of a fried egg and a circle of tinned beetroot: controversial components, maybe, but ones close to our hearts.
The sensation of wandering up from the beach, sun-kissed and salty, ordering from the kiosk, and having beetroot juice run down both arms is as familiar as the buzz of flies or the crash of waves on the shoreline. Here's to a burger with the lot.

1. The bun

White, soft and squishy, and maybe slightly crusty, is the classic bun choice. Invariably it'll become stained with bright beetroot juice. To take the burger up a notch, you could use a brioche bun instead, shown here.

2. Meat patty

It's simple: minced beef, possibly cut through with diced onion, bound with an egg. Well-done is the word, even if it's a little dry, that's where the sauce, beetroot and the pineapple come into play.

3. Cheese

It's got to be a pre-cut slice of cheddar melted over the patty while it's still on the grill.

4. Sauce

Barbecue or tomato – the great Australian debate. Barbecue is sweeter and often the go-to here, but tomato sauce is an equally acceptable option.

5. The extras

For a burger to have "the lot" it has to have beetroot, egg, pineapple and bacon. The egg should be fried and runny and the beetroot and pineapple come straight from the tin. Iceberg lettuce, tomato, red onion might be involved, but aren't strictly necessary.

Where to find one

Two of our favourite classic Aussie burgers are from Andrew's Hamburgers in Melbourne and Paul's Famous Hamburgers in Sydney.