Chefs' Recipes

Rockpool Bar & Grill's wagyu hamburger with bacon, Gruyère and Zuni pickle

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for wagyu hamburger with bacon, Gruyere and Zuni pickle by Rockpool Bar & Grill.

By Neil Perry
  • Serves 4
  • Print
Rockpool Bar & Grill: Wagyu hamburger with bacon, Gruyère and Zuni pickle
"Making one of the world's great burgers was my mission at Bar & Grill," says Perry. "Lofty statement, I know. But I think I might have pulled it off. When you partner great meat with other great ingredients, you're halfway to the best burger. Those other great ingredients I'm talking about are Judy Rodgers' pickles. I was inspired by her great burger at Zuni Café in San Francisco."


  • 800 gm coarsely minced wagyu beef chuck (see note)
  • 4 bacon rashers
  • 4 slices Gruyère
  • 4 brioche burger buns, halved and toasted
  • 4 baby cos lettuce leaves
  • 1 vine-ripened tomato, sliced
  • For drizzling: extra-virgin olive oil
Red onion pickle
  • 750 ml (3 cups) rice wine vinegar
  • 345 gm caster sugar
  • 4 cinnamon quills
  • 1 tbsp whole cloves
  • 2 dried long red chillies
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 Spanish onions, sliced into 3mm-thick rounds
Zucchini pickle
  • 4 zucchini, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 1 onion, quartered, thinly sliced lengthways
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 500 ml (2 cups) cider vinegar
  • 250 gm caster sugar
  • 1 tsp each brown mustard seeds, mustard powder and ground turmeric
Tomato and chilli relish
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, finely chopped
  • 60 ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 small knob ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 7 vine-ripened tomatoes, peeled, seeds removed, chopped
  • 110 gm (½ cup) caster sugar
  • 85 gm brown sugar
  • Juice of 1½ lemons
  • 4 birdseye chillies, finely chopped
  • ½ cinnamon quill
  • 1 clove


  • 1
    For red onion pickle, combine all of the ingredients, except for the onion, in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to infuse for 1 hour. Return to the stove and bring back to the boil. Transfer to a 2-litre sterilised jar and refrigerate until completely chilled. Meanwhile, blanch the onion (20 seconds). Remove the onion and refrigerate until chilled. When onion is chilled, repeat the whole process again. This process will ensure a crunchy pickle. Add the onion to the brine, seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate. Red onion pickle will keep unopened for 3 months. Makes about 500gm.
  • 2
    For zucchini pickle, place the zucchini and onion in a bowl, sprinkle with salt, cover with iced water and set aside for 1 hour. Combine the remaining ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, bring to the boil and cook for
    3 minutes, then cool. Transfer to a 2-litre sterilised jar and refrigerate until chilled. Drain the zucchini and onion and add to the brine. Seal the jar with the lid and refrigerate overnight. Zucchini pickle will keep unopened for
    3 months. Makes about 500gm.
  • 3
    For tomato and chilli relish, combine the onion, capsicum, olive oil, garlic, ginger and salt in a large saucepan over medium heat and cook until syrupy (15-20 minutes). Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a jam-like consistency (1½-2 hours). Remove from the heat and cool. Spoon into sterilised jars. Tomato and chilli relish will refrigerated for a week. Makes 600ml.
  • 4
    Knead the mince with your hands until it becomes sticky and the meat binds together. Form into 4 patties. Heat a barbecue or char-grill pan to high heat. Cook the patties, turning once, until medium-rare.
  • 5
    Meanwhile, heat the grill to hot and grill the bacon until crisp.
  • 6
    Top each patty with cheese, then the bacon, and cook on the barbecue until the cheese has softened.
  • 7
    Place each patty on a bun base, top with some relish and pickles and sandwich with the bun tops. Serve with the lettuce and tomato on the side, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned to taste.


Note Rockpool Bar & Grill uses wagyu from Blackmore Wagyu Beef. Rockpool Bar & Grill, by Neil Perry, will be published in October by Murdoch Books ($79.99, hbk). In this preview, recipes have been reproduced with minor GT style changes. This recipe is from the September 2011 issue of Australian Gourmet Traveller.

  • undefined: Neil Perry