If the words braai or South African recipe don’t have you automatically reaching for your apron, it’s time to get your South African reflexes checked! You’ve either been on the wrong side of the equator for too long or suffering from amnesia, in which case, it’s time for a lekker braai to help get those memory juices flowing!
As a saffa, you already know that braais are synonymous with South African culture. You also know that just about anything can be cooked on a braai, from traditional boerewors to roosterkoek, puddings and even a decent sized buffalo or crocodile if your local butcher has any in stock after Friday night’s stokvel! However, what you don’t often see is a burger braai.
This rather strange concept comes from the other side of the proverbial pond and has infiltrated the traditional South African braai recipe cookbook with the lightning stealth and speed of a leopard! Who do we have to thank? None other than Gordon Ramsay!
Gordon Ramsay’s burgers
Gordon Ramsay, who?
Before we dive into the concept of burgers on the braai, let’s take a peek at the person behind the burger-braai-storm. As South Africans, we take it very seriously when you mess with our braai recipes. After all, the entire braai is a form of art and requires a certain level of ‘expertise’ (braai grid, coals and cold beer) to create the perfect outdoor fire on which to cook. Thankfully, Gordon Ramsay is an expert in all things kitchen-related.
Born in Scotland and raised in rainy England, Gordon is a well-known chef and restauranteur. Much like the braai is synonymous with South African culture, so is Gordon Ramsay with Michelin stars, French cuisine, cookbooks and firey tv cooking shows. So what does he know about South African cooking and the sacred braai? Just about everything, it would seem!
Burger vs vleis on the braai
While this does explain how Gordon Ramsay, an expert in glamourous cuisine, has some knowledge of what to do with burgers and our smokey braais, don’t panic; he’s not changed the face of our beloved braai with frogs legs and fancy fungi. In fact, he’s actually quite a braai connoisseur! Of course, you may need a few of his added kitchen extras to get the burgers just right, but that we will divulge in the decadent recipe below. Let’s dive into a gorgeous Gordon Ramsay braai with a South African twist!
Gordon Ramsay 10 minute burger braai Saffa style
What you need:
Optional Ramsay Extras
- 1 hot sunny day – preferably in a game park somewhere in South Africa
- 1 angry hippo balefully glaring from a pool – to keep you on your toes
Ingredients for the braai
- Large braai grid with medium coals
- 6 large meaty burger patties ( you can make your own or buy prepared)
- 210g softened butter
- 6 large baps or bread rolls
- 1 lettuce (any variety you prefer)
- 2 large vine tomatoes sliced
- 1 large red onion sliced
- sea salt for seasoning (lots of it)
- Garam masala for seasoning
- 1 whole garlic head cut in half (not peeled)
- 6 Halloumi cheese slices
- Pelepele – see below instructions
Ingredients for the Pelepele
- 1 medium onion
- 10 habanero peppers
- 4 garlic cloves – crushed
- 2 tbsp bouillon powder
- 2 tbsp olive oil/vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp parsley
What to do for the Pelepele:
- Roughly chop all the ingredients, and pop them into a food processor with the bouillon powder and oil. Zap the mixture for a couple of seconds and then pour into a small saucepan.
- Allow the mixture to boil and then simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring regularly to prevent it from burning.
What to do for the braai
- Season the burgers with salt and garam masala on both sides. Use your hands to flatten the burgers a little to speed up the cooking time. Next, baste each burger with a little softened butter on either side; this creates a gorgeous caramelised butter flavour.
- Place the burgers onto the braai grid and cook either side; remember to flip them regularly to prevent them from sticking.
- Next, take the whole garlic head (cut in half) and place it over the coals to roast.
- While the burgers are cooking, add the onion rings and halloumi to the braai grid. Grill them on each side. Gordon adds a sprinkling of salt to his salty halloumi before placing it on the braai grid!
- Now, place the bread rolls onto the grid to toast; it’s nearly burger time!
- Rub the roasted garlic over the burgers and halloumi to add a lovely garlic flavour to the meat and cheese.
- Once the burgers, onions and halloumi are grilled to perfection, remove them from the braai grid and get ready to assemble the best cheeseburger in the world!
- First layer each roll with lettuce and season with a dash of salt. Then add the tomato slices, more salt, the burger pattie, halloumi cheese, onions and pelepele. Top with additional lettuce, and then, using both hands, squash on the burger bun lid! And that’s how you make a Gordon Ramsay burger braai, saffa style!
There’s no denying that saffa chefs are always on the lookout for a golden South African braai recipe that will wow guests, have them hunting for second helpings and begging for the recipe. As you can see, Gordon Ramsay does just that with his cheeseburger braai in the middle of nowhere under the hot South African sky. Missing home, anyone? Just a note on those optional Ramsay extras, if you can’t find a handy hippo, a hungry inlaw makes an excellent substitute!
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