MeatLiquor is super fashionable at the moment. With the burger boom that has taken London by storm in the last year, it seems like everyone is laying claim to the ‘best’ burger experience. MeatLiquor is certainly a fierce competitor, as they serve up authentic, sloppy, artery-clogging goodness. Their Dead Hippie burger was unbelievably juicy, topped with authentic American cheese, a signature sauce and served with a lot of kitchen roll.
Luckily, the no reservations policy wasn’t quite as gruelling as at Bubbledogs. The first time around, me and my friend went mid-afternoon and cruised straight in, and although the second time the wait was entering the dangerous territory of being over an hour, we were supplied with deep fried pickles and onion rings in the queue! It was this generosity and baiting that encouraged us to hold on, and it is certainly worth the wait. Dark, dingey and verging on try-hard hipster, I couldn’t really find fault in MeatLiquor, except that, maybe, it would have been nice to see my food a little more clearly. Snapping photos of our burgers and sides provided the most illuminating glances at the wonderfully greasy feast we were about to indulge in.
If you’re going to MeatLiquor, let’s not pretend you’re on a diet, so get that out of your head before you recreate this delicious wonder at home. The trick to their moist, tender and messy burger patties seems to be that they have a much higher fat percentage than you would get in supermarket mince meat (and definitely no horse, I hope). So, being fortunate enough to live on the same road as a Ginger Pig butcher, I went there, demanded chuck steak with at least 30% fat and had it ground for me. Getting your meat minced for you by a butcher not only ensures you know exactly what you’re getting, but you are getting far higher quality cuts. By all means, make these burgers with regular mince if you’re on a budget, but if you can bear it, the quality of the meat makes all the difference.
Due to the top-secret, access-denied information released about the sourcing of the restaurant’s ingredients, I’ve done my fair share of leg work and investigation to figure out the delicious secrets. I also ate a LOT there, so I’m probably going to follow this up with a part two at some stage.
My main Meat-Mission was deducing what made up their signature Dead Hippie sauce. The name gives little away, so I tried to be savvy about it. After being given minimal information by my waitress, that it was a “sort of mustard mayonnaise”, I did some outside research. I searched the web : nothing. I telephoned and pretended I had allergies and must have an ingredients list : nothing. And so it was that I had to use my taste bud prowess and figure it out for myself. I’m not saying what I created is an exact replica of what they serve – I wouldn’t dare. But, I will say that whatever I made was a pretty tasty hippie sauce.
For those of you who haven’t been (and don’t let that be for much longer) a Dead Hippie burger is one of their original creations. It’s made up of two patties, cheese, diced white onion, lettuce, pickles and dead hippie sauce. You can have it for yourself here.
A couple of notes :
- If you are an American reading this, then hello you lucky sod, you won’t have these issues – no need to keep reading.
- If, unfortunately, you are a Brit, here’s the low down. Kraft American cheese slices are impossible to find. Anywhere. We have our own processed cheese, dairylea and other such crap, but somehow they have the real thing in MeatLiquor. So, I experimented. I used Red Leicester as it had a similar colour, and then I bought Tesco own brand processed cheese slices. The Red Leicester didn’t look as appetizing once it was melted – so I went with the processed stuff. Feel free to use Montery Jack or cheddar too, at this point, it’s whatever floats your boat.
- MeatLiquor bakes their own sourdough buns in house, but I don’t have those skillz. So I went for jumbo white rolls. Deal with it.
So, on this evening’s menu :
Dead Hippie Burger with Onion Rings
2 white onions
3 cups/500ml of lager (free choice here – I used Budvar)
1 tbsp malt vinegar
1 cup self-raising flour
1 tsp cayenne pepper
Salt & pepper
Peel and thickly slice the onions horizontally.
Without separating the onions into rings, put them in a bowl and pour 2 cups of beer in too.
Add the malt vinegar, and salt and pepper to the bowl. You want to leave the onions to soak from anywhere between 30 minutes and two hours to soften them and pack them with flavour. Don’t leave them any longer than that or they’ll get soggy.
In a mixing bowl, use a whisk to combine the flour, cayenne pepper and some more black pepper.
Slowly add 1 cup of beer to the mixture, whisking gradually. The end product will be thick, but runny.
Drain off the beer and vinegar mixture, and carefully separate the onions into individual rings. Place them in the bowl of batter.
Use your fingers to thoroughly coat them, and then gently place them into a deep pan with 1-2 inches of hot oil.
They only need a minute or two on each side, once you see they have that lovely golden colour, pat the excess oil off on some kitchen roll. Done.
Dead Hippie Sauce
3 1/2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp french’s yellow mustard
1 1/2 tbsp chopped sweet pickles
1 tsp worcester sauce
Chop up your pickles.
There’s not much technique here. Just adding all the ingredients.
Mix it up, and be sure to taste it and fiddle with proportions to your taste. Set it aside and get to burger-ing.
400g minced chuck beef with 30% fat
4 processed cheese slices
2 large soft white buns
1 cup shredded lettuce
1/2 white onion
2 sweet pickles
Salt & pepper
French’s yellow mustard
Preheat your griddle pan (or frying pan) with a high flame. Grab your meat – you can see above the leanness you’re aiming for.
Shred the lettuce, I used iceberg. Slice your pickles thickly .
Finely dice half a white onion. White onions have a sweeter flavour which is appropriate for the flavour combination here. Whack your halved bun under the grill for a minute or two to lightly toast the insides.
Using your hands, mould the meat into circular patties. This doesn’t have to be exact, because the shape will change once you cook it!
Generously salt and pepper both sides of the patties. Place on the hot griddle. Pre-heating the pan is essential, because you want to get a good charring on the outside, while keeping the inside pink, so these burgers are cooked quickly.
Using your spatula, press the patties down against the grill to make them thinner. After 1-2 minutes, generously coat the top side of the meat with mustard and then flip the patties.
After flipping, immediately place a slice of cheese on each patty.
Placing lids over the patties (or a cloche if you have one) helps the cheese to melt faster and will keep a lot of moisture in the burgers due to the steam. Leave the patties covered for another 2 minutes, and then you’re ready to get stacking. EXTRA STEP THAT I DIDNT DO : Place the top half of your bun on top of the patties, squirt a little bit of water onto the pan, and still covering with the lids, allow them to steam for around 20 seconds, to get that lovely shine on the bun! Thank you to MBFBY for that one.
On the bottom bun, apply a generous dollop of the dead hippie sauce, followed by the gherkins, onions and lettuce and then add the patties.
You’re going to be salivating by now so it’s time to eat. Serve with cocktails and beer, and prepare to willingly enter into a food coma.