The gourmet burger is now mainstream.

Burger King's yummy new range of burgers. Photo: supplied.

Even Hungry Jacks has its own salt and fat packed version dragging down the reputation of Angus beef.

It’s the latest trend in food, knowing the provenance of your ingredients - with Maccas being the first mainstream brand to name Angus beef as a selling point back in August.

The recently launched Hungry Jacks version, the Angry Angus, is particularly tawdry, mine delivered with the word “ANUS” hand written on the wrapping.

The angry, in what now shall be known as the Angry Anus, refers to the chilli. And thankfully it masks the flavour of some meat like matter doing a poor impression of bacon, luminous cheese and a beef pattie which is almost incidental to the whole cynical $4.95 construction.

Not all these fast food burgers are bad. McDonald’s is an altogether classy affair and was launched to bloggers with style.

The $6.45 Grand Angus and $6.75 Mighty Angus received a pretty warm reception (with the exception of me).

And what these fast food joints know best, over and above countless cafes and celebrity chefs, is that you need to get the dynamics right. It’s all about burger engineering - both physically and in flavour.

You’ve got to build it right.

On flavour Hungry Jacks brought out the angry chilli and salt card. McDonalds uses raw onion and pickle.

High-end chefs, who don’t have to analyse the composition of their food to the nth degree, fat and salt.

Given the choice I prefer the latter and it delivers – although at price.

Some two years ago when Neil Perry’s Melbourne Rockpool Bar & Grill opened with its $15 Wagyu (literally Japanese beef) burger I declared in print that it was the best in Australia. It was still pretty good at $17.

But now with the burger, made with breeder David Blackmore’s bull blood Wagyu, at $22 is way over the top.

But a large portion of the public don’t think so. Since January 1 this year 9333 Wagyu burgers and 542 Mishima (beef even rarer and more prized than wagyu) burgers were sold in Melbourne alone.

For my money, anyone who takes this everyman knockabout food and charges more than $15 for it is taking the piss.

Plus I made an important discovery at Neil Perry’s Sydney temple of meat, the construction side of burger dynamics.

When this hunking great gobshite met for burger love there with Lorraine from the blog Not Quite Nigella, the wagyu burger was too big for her perfectly normal sized feminine hands.

The lid was flipped and the knife and fork manipulated. It was wrong.

Next visit to Sin City she took me to Justin North’s Plan B for a $10 Wagyu burger. Small and delicious, it’s my choice in the Sydney CBD now (although its damn near blinkin’ impossible to get a seat). In Melbourne, I like chef Shannon Bennett’s $12 Wagyu burger with chips at his Café Vue.

So much for Heart Foundation ticks.

It’s all come a long way from when, hung over, I first slopped pineapple, beetroot and fried egg down my trousers wolfing an overdeveloped Aussie Burger from the surf lifesaving club on some mid Queensland beach.

Since then I’ve searched high and low for burger bliss, the correct dynamics in the hand as well as the mouth.

I can tell you that I admire the ethos of Grill’d but the burgers are too healthy an affair – they need more fat. And I’m pretty sure the real winners are those local greasy cafs, such as the cult Andrew’s in Melbourne’s Albert Park, that specialises in, well, burgers.

My top prize goes to the 53 year old Caravan Cafe in Seymour. It doesn’t look like much with its primitive toilet block architecture. But the $7 burgers, with their secret ingredient, are better.

So much better than an Angry Anus.

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37 comments

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    • Ben says:

      05:01am | 27/11/09

      Agreed on the Seymour burger van, Ed.  Canberrans should take note of the glorious Brodburger - served fresh from a caravan next to Lake Burley Griffin, and one of the better burgers I’ve had anywhere.

      http://www.brodburger.com.au/

    • BPobjie says:

      05:50am | 27/11/09

      Apologies, but I don’t understand this:

      “Given the choice I prefer the latter and it delivers – although at price.”

      What is that sentence referring to? McDonald’s?

    • Ed says:

      08:16am | 27/11/09

      BPobjie - burgers from HighEnd chefs

    • Sean says:

      08:21am | 27/11/09

      Yummy, ANUS burgers now at Hungry Jacks. What are you really eating people? How would you know whats in it really?

    • Justin says:

      08:50am | 27/11/09

      There’s nothing pleasant about that rot, no matter what end of the scale you’re going to. After 6 months of abstaining from meat, I discovered how disgusting, heavy and sickly it really was.

      We’re truly not built to digest meat and/or animal fat

    • adam macleod says:

      09:40am | 27/11/09

      I’ve tried both of the Macca’s angus beef burgers and really enjoyed them.  However, each contains about half my daily fat intake.  Not to mention the huge amount of greenhouse gas created in producing beef.

      (Hold the chips and drink.  And I’m leaving the lights off for the next couple of years).

    • Peter Collinson says:

      09:57am | 27/11/09

      Has anyone tried the Bogan burger at the Napier Hotel?

    • kelly says:

      10:02am | 27/11/09

      Well said Justin. I quit meat about 7 months ago, mainly because I learnt of the horrific cruelty involved regarding the pork & poultry industries…. and from there it kind of grew to cutting out more of the rotting animal flesh & fat we were told was a necesstiy for us!! yeah right.
      the ads showing the meat on those burgers truly make me wonder how I did eat it for most my life!

    • Gavin says:

      10:22am | 27/11/09

      Justin says: “We’re truly not built to digest meat and/or animal fat”.

      Did you truly type that, re-read it and still decide to publish it in all seriousness? Please, Justin, enlighten me with your empirical evidence that this is so. Yours truly here obviously got naively taken in with 200,000 years of modern human existance and consumption of meat, and thus assumed that in fact our bodies (generally) were designed for carnivorous consumption.

      What you might want to say, Justin, is that YOU find meat disgusting, heavy and sickly; YOU have chosen to abstain from meat and are happier for doing so; and YOUR particular body is not very conducive to meat anymore. I will continue to consume lean and heart healthy meats (I haven’t eaten fast food in over a year now - personal choice) the way I feel I was designed to.

    • Gavin says:

      10:25am | 27/11/09

      Kelly, you really need to come to terms with the fact that there is and always be a food chain.

    • Jade says:

      10:32am | 27/11/09

      The Mighty Angus burger is so yummy, but I think I put on about 2kg after finishing it.  So it will be the first and the last time I have one of them, not even tempted to try Hungry Jacks.  Best burger i had was at Hamilton Island, called the Hamilton Burger or something like that! was awesome.

    • Nate says:

      10:34am | 27/11/09

      I haven’t fully quit meat, I still love Salami, but I have dramatically reduced the amount I eat compared to a few years ago. We are led to believe that every meal we should eat should have meat it in, the classic ‘Meat and Two Veg’ is still the standard meal on the dinner table of Aussie families.

      I stopped eating meat and discovered taste. Vegetables are so much more flavoursome compared to repetitive beef or chicken. Meals have become too focused around the taste of meat, but it’s so repetitive. A Vegetable Lasagne is so much more flavoursome than a beef one.
      Embrace the vegetables people, they taste better!

    • bella starkey says:

      10:41am | 27/11/09

      i only eat fast food when i’m on a bender. essentially because it gives me two days worth of calories and fat in one go so i wont have to eat again till monday.

    • proud veggie says:

      10:43am | 27/11/09

      hey gavin, do you work for meat products australia? just curious.

    • kelly says:

      10:48am | 27/11/09

      okay gavin, let’s put you out in the wild, and see how you rate on the ‘food chain’ out there….??
      We can argue the health merits (or lack there of) of meat all day, but ultimately, I’m perfectly healthy without it, and I’m still yet to hear any argument from meat eaters that justifies the widespread cruelty?

    • BT says:

      10:51am | 27/11/09

      Thank you Kelly and Justin. I too gave up meat about 18 months ago and have never felt better. It’s only when you give it up that you realise how revolting it really is - and how sentient beings sacrificed any quality of life at all to end up in a burger.
      @ Gavin, there is no excuse for the prolonged agony animals face on factory farms. Also, vegetarians experience 40 % less cancer, 50% less heart disease (British Medical Journal). Factory farming causes more carbon emissions than all the worlds transport combined (United Nations). Meat is NOT a healthy option for the body or the planet, no matter what the advertising tells you.

    • Gavin says:

      12:05pm | 27/11/09

      Proud Veggie, I like that question but I can assure you I work in no such field and I am not anti-vegetarian. I am anti people conveniently turning their own sentiments into facts (I don’t like meat so it is unhealthy…etc).

      BT I agree that the modern day western diet contains too much meat and some people believe they have the need to have meat with every meal - hence the heart and other risks. And those risks have other causes, not exclusively meat consuption.

      Kelly, caging chooks is cruelty, a swift kill is not. It’s not pleasant, but a swift kill on a beast for food (as opposed to, say, sport) is not cruel. I am not naive to believe that some cruelty doesn’t occur, even with reputable abbatoirs. Also consider this - a cow slaughtered for beef retail was only born for that purpose. It would not have come to be if not for the pure use of its meat.

      Agree that we will never agree on this.

    • BT says:

      12:44pm | 27/11/09

      Gavin you need to research factory farming methods more extensively. The point of slaughter is not what Kelly is referring to - it is the inhumane treatment which animals face during their limited lifespan, ie mulesing for wool, sow pigs kept in gestation stalls so small they are unable to move, piglets having tails and teeth cut off without anaesthesia, chicks having their sensitive beaks cut off with hot metal blades or being electrocuted, animals having their throats cut and then being skinned alive for cheap leather products for export from China. The actual slaughter is probably sweet relief to a life of misery for these creatures.

    • Trjn says:

      12:48pm | 27/11/09

      It’s possible to enjoy meat without endorsing the cruelty that occassionally happens to animals.

      It’s possible to enjoy meat and be just as healthy or healthier than a vegetarian, because it’s all about watching what you eat.

      I love eating meat, but if you don’t then all the power to you, just don’t try to tell me that you’re better than me because of it or that what you’re doing is better for the environment etc.

    • Justin says:

      01:43pm | 27/11/09

      haha Gavin, Empirical Data? Do you know what uricase is? Do you know why every other carnivorous and omnivorous animal on this planet produces it. Are you aware humans do not, so we eat meat, and it produces a mild toxin, and we lack the systems to adequately deal with it, but it’s natural because it’s been going on a long time?

      No, it won’t kill us, but it’s not natural for us to eat it. Meat eaters have short gastro intestinal systems, our are anything but. Meat eating animals have sharp teeth for tearing and cutting flesh. We have mislabelled ‘K9’s’ that much more closely resemble all other herbivorous species.

      We’ve been suckling from cows for a long time too, just because we do it from a carton rather than jumping straight on to the tit doesn’t make it natural either.

      In short, yes, I typed it, I read it, and I decided to publish. It is a fact. I never claimed we can not eat it, I claimed it’s not natural. Do you have any empirical evidence that claims we ARE meant to eat it, or did Sam Neill tell you and you just accepted it?

    • kelly says:

      01:45pm | 27/11/09

      Thank you BT, that is exactly what I was referring to.
      And no, Tjrn, I don’t think I’m a better person than anyone due to my food choices. I do wish though that more people were aware of what level of cruelty being practiced out there, so that they could make more informed choices for themselves.

    • Ricky says:

      02:17pm | 27/11/09

      Well said Gavin.Most vegetarians i know are pale, weak & fairly prone to sickness.But thats their choice(as bizarre as i find it).And they seem to love trying to push that choice on others.Personally, i love a good steak, & always feel the better for it.

    • Jade says:

      02:42pm | 27/11/09

      For starters…

      BT, Mulesing (however you spell it) on sheep is needed, have you ever seen a fly blown sheep before, what is more cruel, being eaten alive by maggots or having that done to you. You decide.

      Kelly, most things that happen to animals are no more cruel than if they were in the wild, have you ever watched Animal Planet, you do not think being ripped apart and eaten alive is a human way to die for an antelope, having the life squeezed out of you by a snake, dying from a venimous bite.  The world is a cruel place, most animals (even other primates) are carnivorous. If humans have been eating meat for thousands and thousands of years I kind of think that we are spose to do it now.

      Its is all well and good that it is your choice to not eat meat, but you have no right to say a bad word against someone who chooses to.

    • Felix says:

      02:46pm | 27/11/09

      I eat Andrews hamburgers every Friday just before working at the pub across the road. It keeps me going for about 10 hours, through a long hard shift. Greg, the owner, is a master of burger construction. They open business and close when they run out of bread rolls, which is around 10 o’clock.

      The only thing that sucks is that they are closed for most of January, taking a hard earned break. I’m going there now for a feed.

    • kelly says:

      03:26pm | 27/11/09

      Jade. Please look at info like this:
      http://www.goveg.com/factoryFarming_pigs.asp
      And understand I’m more concerned about the horrific way they are contained in captivity most the time, than the actual killing which as BT said, is a blessing after what they endured.
      The world is a cruel place. But animals killed in the wild, have lived a life IN THE WILD. It’s like comparing a human killed in a freak accident, with one being tortured an imprisoned for years….??? Are you honestly saying Jade that the torture & captivity is justified, because out in the world you can be hurt??!??!

      Pigs for example, have been proven to be as intelligent as most dogs. If you treated a dog the way pigs are treated by the hundreds of thousands, you would be labelled a monster and locked up.
      I understand it’s easier not to confront it, but I’m glad there are others on the blog that have.
      If you want to eat meat, that is your choice. But at least be aware of what cruelty does exist, and perhaps demand better conditions at least.

      Denying it exists, or making up convenient theories is quite frankly, a really weak avenue to take.

    • Liam says:

      03:38pm | 27/11/09

      Who care’s it tastes delicious. Also were the smartest species on this planet so why shouldn’t we have free reign to eat what we like and do what we like?

      There, squabble over that.

    • Jade says:

      04:30pm | 27/11/09

      Kelly, these animals are breed to do this, they have only ever lived in cages, just like the wild animals have only ever lived in the wild They know no different life.  I do not think they look out the window and go “aw I wish I lived out there in the field”.

      Some things (not all) like the docking of lambs tails and mulsing are done to prevent further harm to an animal from fly blow etc.

      Don’t get me wrong, I love animals, i cant even watch RSPCA animal rescue with out tearing up.  But you need to understand that this is life, and unless you are going to run around freeing all the animals from there cages, i think you need to build a bridge.  Its life.

    • Hannah says:

      08:16pm | 27/11/09

      Unless the vegetarians who have posted also abstain from all animal products such as leather and wool ( and I can’t see that having been said, but don’t assume either way), I can’t give countenance to their arguments. Animals and indeed humans are treated terribly in industries other than food. If you’re going to tell us animal cruelty is terrible, ergo meat is terrible, the corollary is that wool is terrible, leather is terrible, all animal products which may result in animal suffering are terrible. You don’t get to pick and choose with a morality/‘rightness’ argument without weakening it.

      I respect that they’ve made a choice, but they have no right to indict my choices. Surely a more acceptable solution to all would be supporting humane farming practices? Is meat morally wrong from small farms with free ranging animals? Taking the worse of the worse, factory farming, and using that to make a blanket statement only weaken what is in fact an argument of merit. I try, when possible, to avoid factory farmed animals for reasons ranging from questionable practices to taste, but I’m not going to make a blanket statement that all other meat is terrible and unnatural. I’m not conceited enough.

    • Peter Thornton says:

      09:26pm | 27/11/09

      I think it is very funny that Liam counts himself in as ‘the smartest species on this (nice distinction) planet.’

      Irish git!

    • Justin says:

      06:25am | 28/11/09

      Of course Hannnah and Jade conveniently gloss over the fact that biologically, the human body is most suited to a plant based diet. It is our natural food, which is why a good portion of people feel guilty when they hit an animal in their car. Our instincts are not carnivorous, and with good reason.

      When you visit an animal nursery, do you look at a sheep the way a lion looks at a gazelle? Do you think, gee that looks tasty, wish I had a knife so I could slit it’s throat and make me a kebab? Have a read of ‘The China Study’ if you get the chance. You can claim that “minimising” suffering by making smart choices is a worthy folly. But a combination of health and ethics leads me to abstain from all animal products, and yes, that includes wool and leather.

      But there seems to be some confusion here. As a vegan, there’s no need to force my opinions on anyone, because I can use fact instead. Fact, the human body is most suited too, and most similar too, the bodies of all other herbivores upon this planet. Because we choose to eat meat, doesn’t make it natural or healthy, and in fact, animal proteins have a strong and provable link with cancer.

      Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go off and find me a cow to suckle from. After I kick it’s own calf out the way and slaughter it of course. What could be more natural?

    • BT says:

      11:38am | 28/11/09

      @Jade,
      You need to do some more research. Your argument suggests an assumption that all animals are here soley for human purposes, which they are not. Secondly, sheep are an introduced species, they are not native to Australia. Mulesing is only necessary in Australia because they aren’t meant to be here in the first place. It is a man made problem not the animals and they should not have to suffer for it. Also, your suggestion that just because these animals have lived in captivity implies they are happy enduring their misery is simply incorrect. No sentient being living a life for which they are not intended is happy.
      @Hannah,
      Many people only find out the horrors animals endure when they are older , often they are brought up on a diet of meat and dairy etc. Going vegan, which you are suggesting, takes time and education. It is unfair to suggest that just because someone is vegetarian rather than vegan that their argument for humane treatment of animals is in some way redundant. It is often very difficult to even buy products that have no animal testing/ cruelty or by-products in them.

    • RB says:

      02:21pm | 28/11/09

      Humans are supposed to eat meat.Thats why vegetarians always look so sickly(i have seen this first hand), & vegans, well they are just strange.  Now watch all the hippies arc up, Ha Ha!

    • Justin says:

      07:48pm | 28/11/09

      Agreed. Carl Lewis was such a weakly sickly looking type. He needs to eat some meat.

    • Hannah says:

      10:02pm | 28/11/09

      Justin, I respect that you’ve made the choice to be a vegan and can’t imagine how difficult that must be or the effort you go to. I didn’t address the ‘natural’ argument because I think that to suggest that we should only do what nature intended is an inherently weak argument. Antibiotics aren’t natural to human, is it suggested that we shouldn’t use them? There are proven links between sun exposure and cancer, should we live underground? I can understand advocating not eating a lot of meat, or eating meat within reasonable amounts, but that could be said of any food.

      Even if it were a tenable argument, humans cannot digest cellulose, unlike most other herbivores. Even chimps eat meat occasionally. It is more than likely that modern man eats meat too often, but our close animal relatives eat meat, and we lack some of the basic equipment to efficiently digest plants. That’s we’re intended to be natural vegetarians isn’t a particularly strong argument.

      BT, if difficulty is the thing that stops people from doing what they consider morally right, I do indeed think that it is a very poor argument. If it’s moral, it’s moral, difficulty doesn’t enter in to the equation. Backing down because something is hard to sustain or carry out most definitely loses someone the moral highground.

      I can absolutely see how an ethical argument has legs. I can respect if someone makes that personal choice. But “I believe it is wrong” is a different statement to “It is wrong”.

    • RB says:

      01:36pm | 29/11/09

      You seem cranky justin.maybe its the lack of iron in your diet.

    • Jade says:

      03:02pm | 29/11/09

      @BT - regardless of whether sheep are an imported breed or not, would you still like them to be eaten alive by maggots? would you like to be eaten alive my maggots or would you rather get preventive treatment?  What you are saying is you do not want the animal to suffer at the hands of a human trying to prevent further pain for the animal, but would rather it suffer a slow long death. Your argument now does not make sense.

      The animals in farms are there for human consimption, hence the reason they are on a farm. I do not know about you, but i grew up in the country on a farm, so it is all nothing new to me, for all i know you are some city yuppy who is trying to make yourself feel better and knows nothing of the real world.

    • James says:

      03:46pm | 29/11/09

      I was told that McDonalds bought out all the angus beef in Australia, so Hungry Jacks makes theirs from offcuts. Bon appetite!

 

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