Sizzling suggestions for gourmet burgers and dogs…
According to the Horizons Menu Trends report, burgers remain the nation’s top dish but the traditional beef burger is in decline as tastes evolve and consumers seek more adventurous eating out experiences. Mexican and Korean influences are creeping onto the burger and hotdog scene with some fabulously creative results. Premiumisation and customisation are king – so how will you be serving yours? Here, 11 chefs and industry experts get ”Frank” and share their on-trend tips for perfect patties and delicious dogs…

Mark Baumann, Great British Master Chef and co-director of affordable luxury steak and lobster restaurant Bourgee Burgers have gone from being a casual meal to a gourmet experience. As a result, diners are looking for luxurious offerings that feel decadent yet satisfying. With steak and lobster becoming an equally huge trend, it won’t be long before the two combine as a regular fixture on menus. 2017 will be the year that ‘surf and turf’ burgers become a huge hit with diners. When it comes to hotdogs, we’ll see a move away from the lack lustre frankfurter and a shift towards more indulgent meat options. At Bourgee our hotdog is made with beef for a more intense, rich and delicious taste.

Lucien Green, group head chef, Dirty Bones At Dirty Bones we handcraft all our own sauces to nail down the perfect flavour combinations – like with our Salted Caramel & Burnt Onion BBQ Sauce Pimp – and then use the sauces to fuse creative flavour combinations like the Mac Daddy burger topped with pulled beef short rib and tallegio mac n’ cheese. It’s also key to be forward-thinking and keep dish development relevant to global trends, so for our latest launch in Shoreditch we turned the traditional burger on its head by creating our signature Cheeseburger Gyoza Dumplings stuffed with burger mince and melted cheese – life changing!

Sandra Chang, co-founder and sommelier of bubbledogs Although hotdogs are a classic, they are not in the least bit boring. We see them as great vessels to carry amazing creative toppings from fresh salsas to hearty cheesy macaroni to interesting pickles. This year we are giving top chefs from around the world the chance of creating a hotdog topping for us. Each month chefs from restaurants as far away as America will create a guest hotdog for the bubbledogs’ menu. The Fat Duck started the collaboration in January with the ‘Crown Chippy Shop’ – a deep-fried hotdog in aerated batter, with minted mushy pea ketchup, pickled quail eggs, triple cooked chip crumbs, tartar sauce and ‘chip shop’ smell.

Mine Melichar, brand manager for Kerrymaid Top tips for perfect on-trend burgers:

  • Catering for those looking for a healthy alternative is the ‘Blended Burger’ – a meat pattie blended with mushrooms adds flavour and nutrition to a burger. It also counts as one of your five a day!
  • Mac ‘n’ Cheese as a burger filling is on the rise, but think about adding extra ingredients such as kale or lobster tails to upgrade a burger which can then be sold at a premium. Burger buns are an important element to the burger experience.
  • Offer customers a rainbow bun – a mix of bright coloured doughs, rolled together to form a bagel before being baked. The buns bring both fun and excitement to a burger for both children and adults.
  • Add a bulgogi burger to your offering. The key to the bulgogi burger is the spicy Korean marinade, which offers a flavour sensation similar to a teriyaki burger.

Robert Burns, marketing controller, Westlers Serving hotdogs provides caterers with a fantastic opportunity to create seasonal, on-trend menus that can cater to different tastes throughout the year, using one main base ingredient. Caterers should also be looking to offer hot dog dishes which excite diners and get them talking by adding exciting toppings and sides. Consumers are expecting more adventurous flavours with sweet and savoury combos rising in popularity. Adding a hit of sweet jam to classic toppings such as Swiss cheese and gherkin help complement the salty notes of the frankfurter offering a burst of flavour in every bite.

Darren Chapman, business development chef, Nestlé Professional A great burger or dog is like a great building, the foundations need to be strong and the rest is decoration. Ensure that you have a great patty/sausage and premium bread and you are on to a winner from the outset. To make it gourmet you just need to add that special something which can be the dressing/sauces, the leaf or salad. You can toast the buns, season the burger/sausage with a jus, add dripping on the bun, use an ethnic flavour profile to offer your consumer a taste of the world with a dish that they know so well. Here are some suggestions: • Lobster mayonnaise • Asian slaw • Smoked Paprika mayonnaise • Sweet potato rosti   • Wild mushroom mayonnaise • Fresh diced relish • Homemade pickles

Keith Shearer, group executive chef, Macdonald Hotels In my opinion the secret to making a great burger is having the right balance of different beef cuts. I would use 40% rib blade (high fat content), 30% rib cap and 30% brisket, all placed through a course mincer, and minced twice. The amount of fat content in the burger is critical. If you want the best results add diced bone marrow. This will emphasise the beefiness of the burger. Never season at this stage otherwise the salt will start to cure the beef. Shape into neat round patties slightly wider than the bun and no thicker 2cm.

Rachel Neale, senior marketing manager at AAK Foodservice, supplier of Uncle John’s Signature Hot Dogs Keep secondary pupils on site with tempting gourmet options like the Mexican Dog, topped with guacamole, salsa, Cheddar and a dollop of sour cream and chive dressing. For uni students, dish up a Kansas City Dog’s Dinner, a premium bockwurst topped with chicken pieces and American Smokey BBQ Sauce, served with chips, onion rings, salad and dips – or test their mettle with a fiery Piri Piri Power Pup, served in a garlic baguette, slathered in hot sauce and jalapeños. Don’t skimp on Hot Dog quality, and offer a range of sizes, from a modest 50g to a whopping 90g.

Tom Aikens, acclaimed chef and founder of Tom’s Kitchen, which has four restaurants and three delis across London, and a new launch in Birmingham Make sure that you always use the correct cuts of meat – these must have the correct mix of fat. The beef also needs to be aged. It’s crucial that burgers are well seasoned. When serving the burger, I always add a lovely homemade relish, pickles and a crisp salad. To finish the burger I recommend a good dollop of French’s Mustard – delicious!

Martin Carr, business development manager, Rich Sauces The concept of gourmet dogs is a great opportunity to upsell and add value so tempt your customers in with taste tingling toppings and sauces that create will stand out on your menu and give you healthier margins: 1. The Chipotle Chihuahua Dog Beef sausage, rocket lettuce, baby spinach, chipotle sauce and cheese in a crusty roll 2. The Deer Hound Venison sausage, curly kale, pickled red onion, blackberry mayo on a crusty roll 3. The Sheep Dog Merguez “Lamb” sausage, baby spinach, pickled carrot and curried mayo on a crunchy roll

Willie Pike, Major’s consultant development chef for Scotland With a readymade Mari Base or Pan-Asian Broth you can bring the zing in a variety of easy to do ways. Simply combine a proportion of the base directly into the raw minced meat, brush directly onto your burger, stir through your condiments or infuse your slaw. A spicy Korean pork burger served with a side of Kimchi slaw or a Thai burger with Asian slaw and coconut mayo in a sesame bun are sure to go down a treat. Moreover, with increasingly more people opting for a flexitarian diet, the same principles can be applied to your veggie option: how about a vegetarian bean burger with Mexican salsa slaw, guacamole and chipotle mayo. The secret is having the right balance of different beef cuts.

Tweet us your own burger or dog creations to @Stiritupmag