Spicy Burgers

These burgers are the result of a fair amount of research on our part to get the perfect burger. I would say we were on our way.

Burger dry rub

One of the things that makes these burgers great is the dry rub which locks in all the moisture. It's pretty easy to make, simply combine the following ingredients in a pestle and mortar.

  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1½ tsp black pepper
  • 1¼ tsp salt
  • Maggi cube (for those not in Kenya, it's an onion stock cube, ymmv)
  • a couple of dried chillies (to taste, ours are very potent)
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1¼ cinnamon (this can be very potent so be sparing)

Recently we put in a Knorr beef stock cube lacking the Maggi onion variety - this came out quite well, but the burgers were a lot sweeter.


It's not the end of the world if you don't have all these ingredients, and adding your own wouldn't hurt either.


  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • Splash of soy sauce
  • Maggi cube (for those not in Kenya, it's an onion stock cube, ymmv)
  • a couple of dried chillies (to taste, ours are very potent)
  • a handful of dried breadcrumbs (more on this below).
  • beef mince, 500g can do around 4 burgers, or 6 small ones.
Things to consider / Improvements

The recipe calls for dried herbs, however it's even better with fresh ones! You do need to keep that this will add a lot of moisture to the burgers so you may want to compensate.

On loosing moisture, you'll want to get as much of the blood out of the mince as possible. To do this I generally we generally squish the mince into a sieve over a sink... you'll have to wash your hands a number of times after though ;)

The breadcrumbs will help soak up some of that moisture if you're using fresh herbs! It's important that these are as dry as possible, otherwise your burger won't really stay together. You may be tempted to use Weetabix/Shredded Wheat as a replacement - I was - however, resist the urge. Your burger will fall to pieces.

Making the breadcrumbs

If you've got leftover stale bread then great, use that. However, if you don't stick some bread in the toaster for a bit until brown. I am sure you can figure that part out.

Once it's done, let it cool, ideally in a way that won't let it go soggy, use a toast rack or make a pyramid.

When cool, tear the bread to pieces, as small as possible and place in a baking tray under a grill, or in the oven for a short time until they're as dry as possible.

You'll know when they're dry enough, because when you crush them with a pestle, they will break apart rather than squidge into the mortar. Set these aside for now.

Making the burgers

For the burgers, all you really need to do is combine all the ingredients, including the breadcrumbs you just made. Simple.

Once nicely combined, separate out the mixture into however many burgers you want to make, and compact them in your palm of your hand into a burger shape, do it with some force so that they stay together.

Pour the dry rub out onto a plate and roll each burger on the plate to coat them in the rub, then compact them again so that the burger is nicely coated.

Now, in a pan at a medium-hot heat with a little oil in. Cook them... It's not rocket science. I've been told that you should only flip them once for each side to 'lock in' the flavour, I can't say if that's true or not - who knows.. You should be able to cook each side without burning them and ensure the centre is still cooked thoroughly. Turning them into charcoal sandwiches which some people are want to do is not necessary.

If you're making monster thick burgers, it may be better to bake them for around 40 minutes on a lightly greased baking sheet.