The “Thunderball” Burger, a spicy burger as deadly as 007 himself • Beer, Burger, Bond
During my first two years at university, my friends and I often got together at my apartment after we finished our courses and whipped up some burgers for dinner. We would buy a few beers and watch a couple of James Bond movies, just to wind down after all the stress of our academic life. These adrenaline-filled nights of spy-hunting and gorging on greasy hamburgers were soon dubbed by us as 3B-nights – or Beer, Burger, Bond nights. At that time we didn’t really think much about cooking or what ingredients we used. We just threw onto the grill what was cheap and easily available – simple beef patties, gherkins, cheddar cheese, tomatoes, iceberg lettuce and a heap of ketchup had to do when we were young. We weren’t that picky back then.
A bit further down the years, I still love getting together with friends for Beer, Burger, Bond nights, but over the years I have developed the creation of burgers down to a fine art. Ingredients are of high quality and carefully selected to create savory burgers that are in line with the theme of the particular Bond movie that we watch. In combination with a range of hand-picked beers from around the world, these nights turn out to be absolutely worthy of her Majesty’s most deadly secret agent every single time!
Theme for this burger – Atomic spiciness
In this classic movie from 1965, crime syndicate SPECTRE steals a couple of atomic bombs from NATO and demands a ransom of 100 million £ in diamonds or else it will destroy two major cities in the U.S. or the U.K. MI6 agent James Bond heads off to the Bahamas to put a stop to SPECTRE’s game.
The title of the movie “Thunderball” refers to a word being used by the U.S. military back in the days of the Cold War which described the mushroom cloud that could be seen during the detonation of nuclear bombs. Reflecting on the enormous destructive fire-power of this weapon of mass-destruction, we decided to go for a burger that ramps up a similar fire-power in spiciness. So jalapenos, deadly red chillies, red beans (as part of a hot jalapeno-lime sauce) and very strong Dijon mustard, as well as pitch-black burger buns are the key ingredients to a burger that will make you want to sit close to the water crate 😉
For the beer we have chosen a unique IPA (Indian Pale Ale) called “Raging Bitch“, brewed by the American Flying Dog brewery in the U.S. state of Maryland. The beer complements the spiciness of the burger beautifully with its hoppy aroma with notes of citrus, sweet spices and light touches of caramel. “Raging Bitch” was brewed with three kinds of hops: Amarillo, Warrior and Columbus and a unique type of yeast dubbed “El Diablo”. It ain’t no martini Mr. Bond, but it sure is dry and cool!
“Raging Bitch” Belgian style IPA can easily be purchased online in Europe for example at Saveur Bière and other well-assorted beverage retailers.
For the jalapeno-lime sauce
✓ 1 green jalapeno
✓ 1-2 red chillies
✓ 1 red onion
✓ 2 medium-sized tomatoes
✓ 200g canned red beans
✓ juice of 1 green lime
✓ 2 stalks of lemon grass
✓ 1 clove of garlic
✓ 3-4 tbsp Italian Arrabbiata pasta sauce
✓ 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
✓ Cooking oil
✓ Salt & pepper to taste
Ingredients for the spicy jalapeno-lime sauce • Beer, Burger, Bond
For the burger
✓ 150-175g ground beef (80% lean/20% fat)/ ground chuck (meat taken from the shoulder for optimum lean/fat-ratio to make your burger nice and juicy) for one burger patty
✓ Black burger buns. We bought our black buns at Gontran Cherrier’s bakery at 22 Rue Caulaincourt in Paris. However, especially in smaller cities it might be difficult to find them. In that case you can make them yourself. Head over to Pâté Smith’s website and learn how to make them from scratch.
✓ Extra ripe avocado slices
✓ Lamb’s lettuce
✓ Pickled green asparagus spears
✓ Pickled gherkins
✓ Red onion slices
✓ Tomato slices
✓ Thin slices of Swiss Gruyere cheese
✓ Extra strong Dijon mustard (Important! Or a similar mustard that is very hot)
Thunderball Burger Toppings • Beer, Burger, Bond
✓ Drain the canned red beans in a colander over the sink. Rinse them thoroughly under cold running water to remove the thick liquid in which they come. Leave them in a bowl for the time being.
✓ Dice the red onion and tomatoes into cubes, cut the jalapeno into thin slices and chop up the garlic, red chillies and cilantro. Cut the lime into quarters.
✓ Peel off the tough outer layers of the lemon grass. Trim off the tops and bases and cut the stalks into about 5cm long pieces.
✓ Heat a large pan over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add cooking oil and wait until the oil reaches a watery consistency and you can move it around the pan easily.
✓ Put red onions, garlic, jalapenos, red chillies and tomatoes into the pan and sauté them for about 4 minutes. Add a little salt and pepper.
✓ Add red beans and tomatoes and sauté them with the other ingredients for another 2-3 minutes. Then add Arrabbiata sauce, lemon grass, lime juice and cilantro. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer.
✓ Simmer for about 20 minutes to let flavors meld. Add more salt/pepper/chillies/lemon to taste.
✓ Put the sauce in a bowl and let it sit at room temperature while you prepare the rest of the burger. Make sure not to eat the lemon grass. It is just for flavor!
The delicious jalapeno-lime sauce can also be used as a fiery dip for tortilla chips • Beer, Burger, Bond
Preparing the burger
✓ Take the ground beef and form round burger patties. For the ideal patty which is crisp on the outside and still juicy on the inside size matters! Make sure that the height of your burger patty is about 2cm. Why? If your patty is too thin it will dry out very easily, whereas patties that are too thick often burn on the outside while they are still almost raw on the inside.
✓ Should your burger patty fall apart it is because it does not contain enough fat. Make sure to tell your butcher that the fat content should be about 20%. In case that it still happens when you form your patties, you can put a raw egg into the mix to keep the patties together.
✓ Put the formed patties into the fridge for about 20 minutes.
✓ Prepare the burger toppings: Cut the gruyere cheese into wafer-thin slices. Cut the red onions, tomatoes and avocados into thin slices, drain the pickled asparagus spears (carefully, so you won’t break them). Wash the lamb’s lettuce and cut the pickled gherkins into thin sticks.
✓ Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Line an oven rack with aluminum foil and lay the bacon on the foil. Place the rack in the center of the oven. Bake the bacon until it is golden brown and crispy for about 15-20 minutes.
✓ Take the burger patties out of the fridge and make a dimple with your thumb in the center of the patty. Why? The center of a burger usually swells during cooking and you don’t want to end up with a burger as round as a full moon, right? 😉
✓ Season the upper side of the patty with salt and pepper. Set your frying pan over medium heat and put a pat of butter into the pan. Let the butter melt and place the patty in the pan seasoned side down. Cook the burger until gold brown on the first side (for about 3-4 minutes). Before you flip the burger season the other side with salt and pepper. Then cook the other side of the burger. About another 3-4 minutes for medium rare. If you are uncertain, keep an eye on the side of the burger. The second that the pinkish line disappears your burger turns from medium rare into medium.
Make sure not to overcook the burger. You still want the patty to be pinkish on the inside so that the burger is juicy • Beer, Burger, Bond
✓ Add the gruyere cheese slices during the last minute of cooking. Put a frying pan lid over the pan so the cheese can start to melt, but leave a crack open so the steam can escape.
✓ Spread both sides of the black burger buns with extra strong Dijon mustard. Put the lamb’s lettuce at the bottom, and add the tomato and red onion slices. Next spread a layer of jalapeno-lime sauce on top of the lettuce. Add the gherkins and asparagus. After that comes the meat. Top things off with a slice of avocado and the crispy bacon. Voilà. Bon appétit!