As lockdown restrictions slowly ebbs, with the promise of a return to normality of sorts, it is probably time to ween myself off the DIY/make at home kits that have proved somewhat of a boon during our incarceration.
These DIY kits from all over are one of the few thing brought about by lockdown that I hope will survive it and the burger kits I have tried (including Hills and Burger & Beyond) have been gratifying successes.
One of my last heat at home efforts was a DIY kit from Bleecker Burgers and I hoped it would continue the rich vain of DIY burger form.
I have always been a big fan of Bleecker Burgers in London, with a love of their focus on the quality of the meat in the patty. Nothing fancy pants topping wise, the simplicity of the Bleecker burger is its forte. None of the Five Guys and 250,000 combo bollocks here, thank the Lord (still have no idea how Grace Dent concluded Bleecker was inferior to Five Guy – we all have wildly different tastes I suppose, but really…. I mean did she eat one she found in their bin or what!)
On my visits to Bleecker in London my one regret was that the legendary Bleecker Black was always off the menu. A double patty cheese burger, with a slab of black pudding sandwiched between the two beef patties sounded (and by all accounts tasted) bloody marvelous.
The Bleecker Black was rarely, at least in recent years, on the inhouse menu – not sure why bearing in mind its popularity. As a result, whilst lockdown twitches its last (hopefully not to replaced with “Your papers, please”), I saw it was an option on their DIY kits.
With an offer of free delivery (which takes – at least for two – the price of many such kits from OK to hmmm that’s a bit pricey), I snapped up the for 2 x Bleecker black kit for £23 (even with free delivery, it is still more pricey than Patty & Bun with delivery).
The kit consisted of :
- 4 x burger patties;
- 4 x American cheese;
- 2 x sesame burger buns;
- a slab of clonakilty black pudding;
- a pot of seasoning; and
- Bleecker burger sauce.
It all came nicely packaged, in a well insulated box.Easy to follow instructions were included in the box,
with video that the QR code linked to being particularly useful.
The patties were pre-formed which has its pro and cons. Saves time and energy (yes I am a lazy arse), but then no smashed patty means no nice gnarly bits.
Serious fat to lean ratio in these patties, which is always a good sign, with the meat from the highly regarded Aubrey Allen.As per the instructions, I liberally seasoned both sides of the patties, before putting them in a hot pan.
Lovely sizzle as they went in (I gave them all a good press with a spatula) and some fantastically beefy aromas coming off them. I cooked them for 1 min 30 per side, as opposed to the recommended 2 mins plus for medium (still here and not signs of zombification yet).
At the same time I cooked the black pudding – tip here is don’t flatten it too much before cooking it as it tends to fall apart if too thin when you try and flip it.
With the buns, they say toast them for about a minute, but watch them as they burn easily (video did warn about this) due to a high sugar content.
I drizzled the buns with the house sauce which comes in copious amounts (good as a dip for chips).
No artistry here, but it served its purpose, with a nice tang to it.Nice to see the old stager sesame bun still in service, but to me it was just a bit too lightweight and airy for the heavy lifting task here. I tend to prefer a potato roll as my burger bun, having said that it held up pretty well to the fatty beef juice onslaught.
With the cheese (American filth) added and maximum gloopiness achieved, it was construction time. Very decent sized burger this, with the two patties and the black pudding, which meant eating it without cutting it in half was trickyOpening it up, I think I got the cooking on the money in terms of how I like a burgerand think it was a rather fine looking beast.
Flavour wise, it was bang on with the copious fat doing its job admirably. Lovely proper beefiness from meat that had had a decent amount of dry aging (45 days).
The black pudding added a really pleasing earthiness to the proceedings – inspired addition to a burger. I normally prefer a simple cheese burger, but this really worked. Nice also to see no veggies added at all – just bread, meat, cheese and sauce (may have been onion in the sauce).
It is also nice that you get plenty of the house sauce, seasoning and black pudding left over.
With all the richness of the fatty beef patties, the black pudding (also beef) and the cheese there was a need for something with a bit of a tang to it and this was provided in spades by a Sloe Gin Sour from one of my favourite brewers, Vault City Brewing.
Loads of quite earthy fruit here, with a hit of juniper and as well as a nice shot of sour citrus. Really refreshing and very gluggable stuff. Hardly noticed the booze, which is surprising when it is a whopping 8.6%. I got it direct from Vault City Brewing,’s online shop, but think both the Bottle Shops and Pops N Hops in Cardiff have it in stock.
If you are going for wine, this rather good (and cheap – £5.49) Portuguese numberfrom Aldi would work very well here I think.
Really enjoyed my first taste of a Bleecker Black and I think (bar from a slightly scorched bun) I did a pretty good job.
The advantage of a home cooked burger is you can cook it how you like without being told that Beelezebub (the Prince of Hell associated with the cardinal sin of the medium rare burger/gluttony) will rise from the fiery pit, bringing the apocalypse with him, the minute you take one bite out of a burger patty that hasn’t been nuked and then finished off in the Sun’s core (can’t be too careful).
Definitely need to revisit Bleecker when they let us out to play again and really hope it will be a case of “Back to Black”.
Kits (not just the Black) are available online (national delivery) at :