When it comes to burgers, the various toppings you can whack on top of your patty are pretty endless. I mean you can have a plain old hamburger, a cheeseburger, a bacon cheeseburger, you can stack on an extra burger, you can drizzle a whole mess of different sauces on top, from ketchups to alliolis and from chutneys to salsas, you can squeeze in a leaf of lettuce and help get your five a day, you can wedge in an onion ring, or top it with a pickle, or you could just go mental and pile it taller than a giraffe’s necktie with all of them. But of all the toppings in the world, the best can be found right here in our fare land of Wales.
I’ve hunted down delis, scoured farmers’ markets and been grilling up a storm to find out the best of the best when it comes to Welsh burger toppers, so without further a do, here are the first five for you to get your teeth stuck into!
Snowdonia Cheese Company’s Smoked Cheddar
You can cut off a chunk of this cheese, smoked over Beechwood, and place it on top of your burger, or you can whip up some Welsh Rarebit with it to make a gooey, oozy, cheesy blanket to spoon on top of your burger’s head. Just melt 10g of butter in a saucepan, add in 10g of flour and whisk it all up, then add in 25g of grated cheese, a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and Lea & Perrins, and 100g of milk or beer (or half and half works just as well), and stir it all together until it’s a nice thick consistency.
Ah yeah you like that cheese? Find out where to get your dirty mitts on some here!
Cowboys may be more well known for eating baked beans cooked over an open fire, but they are apparently quite partial to the odd pickle and Lydia of Cowboy Pickles is using her Grandma Juanita’s authentic recipe, all the way from Dublin Texas, right here in the Brecon Beacons, to bring Wales the taste of the Wild West. These little fellas may be small but they sure do take your tongue on a taste adventure. An initial burst of sharpness is followed by a garlic heat and finished off with a bit of a kick from a spurred cowboy boot on the way down. Unlike your run of the mill pickles, these guys are deliciously soft and so welcome a crisp coating in the form of a beer batter to give them a little crunch. To make a beer batter, whisk equal parts flour and beer and add in whatever seasoning takes your fancy (I went with a couple table spoons of onion salt, garlic powder and cajun) then skewer those bad boys through the middle to make it look gourmet and stuff.
Like the sound of them, find out where you can buy them here!
The Preservation Society’s Candied Jalapeños
These little green guys made by Angharad from The Preservation Society are sweeter than a kitten dipped in honey, but are balanced off nicely with a good helping of heat, and have become a ‘go-to’ ingredient in The Grill & Barrel kitchen. They can be chucked in a chilli, lovingly smuggled into a fajita, sprinkled over some nachos and Urban Tap House have even used them in their cake recipes, but I prefer to chop them up and add them to a bowl of guacamole (check out the recipe for IPA Guac here) and spoon some on top of a chilli cheese burger (check out the recipe for Beer Chilli here).
Hosting a Mexican fiesta or just want to scoff down some for yourself? Follow their Twitter for updates!
Charcutier Ltd.’s Bacon
Illtud Llyr Dunsford (nicknamed Bob) of Charcutier Ltd. is a real meat wizard and it’s certainly in his blood. Coming from a farming family in Carmarthenshire, Illtud’s descendants have been rearing livestock for centuries and he has rightly picked up a handful of awards including one of Heston Blumenthal’s Young British Artisans as well as the Young British Foodie of the year in the meat category. His bacon truly speaks for itself so go classical and just place a rasher atop your cheese smothered burger! If you want to get more out of your bacon, collect the dripping and use it to cover your roasties with.
Looking for a cured crown to place upon your burgers head or want something to sub into your Saturday morning fry up? Check out which markets you can get some here!
Cwrtau Bach Farm’s Salsas & Crackin’ Chilli & Tomato Jam
Growing all their own produce in a green house that’s bigger than their house, Steve and Pam from Cwrtau Bach Farm, have a real arsenal of salsas, jams and chutneys and I couldn’t chose just one so opted for a threesome of sauces, all working together more harmoniously than The Harlem Globetrotters. The Rustic Roasted Veg Salsa provided a tongue pleasing, tantalising tomato base, whilst the Chilli & Tomato Jam packed a nice robust punch and the Salsa Verde on the end provided a nice cooling aftertaste. Just don’t forget to get some tortilla chips because you won’t be able to stop at one spoonful of each on top of your burger!
Want to try some of their sauces for yourself? Check out where you can find them here!
Stay tuned for more Top Welsh Burger Toppers, just as soon as my belly has recovered from the huge intake of beef this weekend!