Battle of the Buns
Who serves the Best Burger in the Hitchin area?
There seems to be no definitive answer as to who invented the hamburger. There are records dating back to 1st Century Rome, where a ground-meat dish containing nuts, pepper and other flavourings bore a slight resemblance to the modern day hamburger.
In the decades since there have been recordings of similar meat-based convenience foods consisting of meat sandwiched between pieces of bread that could lay claim to being the first semblance of the burger that we know and love today. 'Ham-cestors' of the modern-day burger you might say.
But there's no doubt that the hamburger is very much a child of the 20th Century, where it was most probably born across the Atlantic, to grow in to the modern, even artisenal, joyous ground beef sandwiched between two buns accompanied by all manner of enticing, savoury bedfellows.
Kansas, California, Kentucky, Colorado and many other U.S. States could all legitimately claim the hamburger as their own. But of course it was a man from Illinois, Ray Kroc, a milkshake-machine salesman who saw the potential in a small fast-food operation called McDonald's back in 1955, that lit the grill that started the World's burger love affair.
The image of the humble burger has changed from a quick and easy fast-food option into an Instagrammable, food-porn, choice-fest, taken seriously by chef's of all stature. A must-have option on pretty much every restaurant menu.
These days there are some great burgers available from high-street brands such as Five Guys, Shake Shack, Byron and the like. If you've eaten at any of these lately you'll know it's no longer the cheap option, with a drool-fest of endless combinations for today's burger connoisseur.
So we got to thinking; who serves the best burger around here? Ahh such a simple idea to start with.
So I put the word out, and in what seemed like a matter of minutes, it felt like I was being thrown burgers at every angle! For anyone who knows me, this is the stuff of dreams. That night I went to sleep dreaming of all those burgers, right up to the moment when Hamburgler reared his nightmarish masked head! (Kids, ask your parents).
And so it was written, so it was done. The inaugural Battle of the Buns was underway. I don't think I've ever met a nicer bunch of people, all so passionate about the burgers they so lovingly prepare. Proof indeed that the burger is humble no more, I was treated to a plethora of fantastic food.
More than just burgers, these culinary creations are designed for the one sole purpose of bringing joy to your mouth. I'm in my happy place when I'm eating a burger and all of the entrants we tried brought me to that place - joyful, chin-wiping, meaty, happiness.
I would like to thank them all for their enthusiasm, hospitality & generosity. I'm sorry if we left you out this time, we will be doing this again in 2021 & it will be bigger and better! Now, let us loosen our belts...
Matt and Jeff have been cooking up mouth-watering meals to the good gente of Hitchin for a few years now, with their Mexican street food adventure going from strength-to-strength. So it's no surprise that they can knock out a sumptuous, spicy chicken burger. Crispy deep-fried chicken in a soft bun, smothered in fresh Guac & Ghost Pepper Mayo....It's a Fiesta in your mouth!
Burger pop-up perfectionists Matt & Charlie have been smashing it with their guest appearances at The Groundworks throughout 2020, you'll need to order ahead & get in early on selected
weekends...We chomped on the double Cawsburger with smoked bacon, American cheese, brown butter mayo, Monterey Jack cheese, pink pickled onions & Cawsburger sauce. Trust me, one bite & you'll be dying for the Caws!
Bun Lovin' Criminals
Track down those Bun Lovin' Criminals on weekends at The Vic in Hitchin. Get in quick to enjoy their arrestingly-good artisan burgers. I felt no guilt tucking into this beauty - beef patty cooked in French's
mustard, burnt butter mayo, sweet pickle relish, double burger cheese & Masala onion jam. A great burger, bang to rights!
Steph & Larry at the lovely Lytton Arms welcomed us with a rocking burger that was right on song. A spicy, triple-meat ensemble with a classic line-up of two Trussel's burgers, BBQ beef brisket, crispy fried onions, jalapeño, Stokes relish, mayo, mustard and melted cheese. Rock on guys!
Soul Shack Chicks
Rachel knows a thing or two about American soul food, she hails from Lake Wylie, South Carolina bringing her authentic flavours to us lucky locals. So it was no surprise when she served up the most tangy, succulent burger lifting my soul with sexy slaw and secret recipe yellow BBQ sauce from South Carolina, Hallelujah y'all!
Hitchin chicken institution, Chicken George, needs no introduction. The king of the chicken shops serve a plethora of burgers to elevate their already deliciously-coated chicken to another level. The crispy coated star of the show cuddled in his bun-bed by tangy, spicy, crunchy partners all vying for your attention. Strip it back to the bun and the burger and that's really all you need.
Letchworth's sole entry was a satisfying beast of a burger cooked on the Khoi Khoi's gorgeous grill, Braai style. A smokey, beefy, attack on the senses consisting of a double patty, Cardona smoked brisket with homemade biltong rub, Mrs. Ball's bacon jam, pink pickled onions & gherkin ketchup. Simply off-the-scale joyous South African soul food!
Rowan is a man after my own heart, this guy lives and breathes burgers and takes his craft very seriously. And a craft it truly is, all of his passion for them shines through in what are simply fantastic burgers. Local, quality ingredients combined to create the kind of burger you crave, once tasted, never forgotten. Worth the short trip to Codicote to get your fix!