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Smokin’! Something for the weekend

The weather's looking promising this weekend, so let's break the seal on the BBQ and fire up the grill for these phenomenal homemade burgers. Just add beer.

The Pig is one of my favourite boutique hotel chains, and it’s sister hotel Lime Wood (above) is just as lovely – a five star country house set in the heart of the New Forest National Park. And while indulgent hotel jaunts obviously aren’t allowed just yet, here’s a little taste of both hotels for you in the form of Lime Wood’s ultimate burger recipe, nestling in The Pig’s gorgeous Tales & Recipes book. In normal times, these bad boy burgers would be getting flipped on the grill at The Pig’s Smoked & Uncut summer festivals, but for now you can DIY – break the seal on the barbecue and sizzle in spring. Don’t forget the homemade ketchup too.

Ready, steady, cook!

Burger recipe

“Burgers are not something we have on our main menu at the hotels, but when it came to our Smoked & Uncut festivals, we knew we had to step up to the burger plate! And here it is – quite possibly the best burger you’ll eat all summer. We cook ours on a barbecue, but these are just as tasty pan-fried.

Garnish however you want, with cheese, bacon, avocado, gherkins or tomatoes. As for our homemade ketchup recipe, we think it’s even better than the one made by you-know-who…”

Smoked & Uncut burger

Makes 2 burgers


  • Rapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • ½ teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
  • 500g minced beef (the higher the fat content, the better)
  • 1 egg
  • 50g butter
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • salt and pepper

Put a teaspoon of oil in a pan over medium heat, add the onion with a pinch of salt and fry until caramelised.

Add 1 garlic clove, the herbs and chilli (if using). Fry for 1–2 minutes. Set to one side in a bowl and allow to cool completely.

Mix the mince into the onion, garlic and herbs, then add the egg to bind it all together. We like to fry up a small patty at this point to check the seasoning and adjust it if needed. (And who doesn’t like a mini-burger? But of course, it’s definitely more about the seasoning.)

Now shape the burgers. You want each patty to be about 225g (8oz). They should be around 2.5cm (1 inch) thick.

Pan-fry the patties in a teaspoon of oil, in a non-stick pan. Cook for 5 minutes on each side to colour, then add the butter, thyme and remaining garlic clove to the pan.

Turn the heat right down, cover with a lid and allow to cook for a further 10 minutes.

Take the burgers out of the pan and let them rest for 5 minutes. Add whatever you like on top: cheese and bacon usually works for us.

Homemade ketchup

Makes 200g (7oz)


  • 175g tomato purée
  • 115g liquid glucose
  • 100ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dorsetshire sauce (or Worcestershire sauce if you can’t find our local variant)
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • a pinch of garlic powder

Put all the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan.

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 40 minutes or until the right ketchup consistency is reached.

When you think the ketchup is ready, test it by placing a teaspoonful on a chilled plate. It should set within 2 minutes. If it’s still too runny, simmer a little longer until reduced to a thick sauce.

Using a funnel, pour into a sterilised bottle or jar. It’ll keep in the refrigerator for up to a month.

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