When I traveled to Australia back in 2000, I was told that whatever I did, I had to try the traditional ‘Ozzie’ or ‘Aussie Burger.’ I had never heard of an Ozzie Burger’ but I was up for it. I had already tried several different foods while I was there; the traditional – fish & chips, and veal, and non-traditional – crocodile, emu, camel and kangaroo, but the one that impressed me the most was the Ozzie Burger.
I ordered my Ozzie Burger in the Victoria’s Cross area of Sydney. When my waitress took my order, she glanced around and asked, “Are you going to eat this by yourself?” What an odd question. “I thought I would, why?” I replied. “It’s pretty big,” she said and was off to the kitchen.
It was one of the biggest sandwiches I have ever seen in my life. It had several layers of different food items on it. It towered a good four inches above the stack of chips (french fries) on the side. It reminded me of Dagwood’s sandwiches in the comic strip, Blondie. I could only eat about 3/4ths of it, but the memory will last a lifetime.
The traditional Ozzie Burger is an over-the-top cheeseburger topped with unusual, but complimentary toppings: a fried egg, pickled beets, and pineapple rings for example. Don’t dismiss the beets – they are very good and taste a lot like cucumber pickles. Big cucumber pickles.
Here is a recipe for an Aussie Burger (makes 2):
- fresh ground beef (use 16oz beef for 1/2 lb burgers, 12 oz beef for 1/3 lb burgers, or 8oz for 1/4 lb burgers)
- 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried chili peppers
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- Kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 slices sweet Vadalia onion
- 2 fresh pineapple rings
- 2 slices aged sharp cheddar
- 2 eggs, fried over-well
- 4-6 slices bacon or 2 slices ham
- 2 leaves of Bibb or Romaine lettuce
- 6-8 Spinach leaves
- 4 slices of pickled beet
- 2 slices beefsteak tomato
- 2 toasted hamburger buns
Set your outdoor grill or oven broiler for high heat. In a bowl, combine the beef, oil, chili, and garlic; season with salt and pepper and form into two patties.
Fry the bacon or ham until done, then set aside. In the bacon drippings, fry the onion and pineapple just until browned on each side. Next, cook the eggs until almost done, then sprinkle with water and cover, remove from heat. Grill the burgers for 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Toast the buns with a light coating of butter.
To Assemble sandwiches: Set bottom of the bun on a plate, cover with mayonnaise and top with a burger. Add one fried egg, a slice of cheese, a slice of ham or slices of bacon, fried onions, one or two slices of beet, a slice of pineapple, a slice of tomato, and spinach and lettuce. Spread the top bun with sauce (ketchup), mustard, and relish as desired. It is a satisfying dining experience.