Shepherd's tips for creating the perfect burger

In the lead-up to our event, Food of the Future (see below if you missed the scoop), we caught up with renowned chef, Shepherd Elliott from Shepherd Restaurant, Concord and The Development Kitchen to hear all about how he finds our hydrogen gas BBQ, the secrets to the perfect burger and what kind of stovetop he uses at home.

On August 22 2023 we held a burger event to remember, Food of the Future, at Cinderella Wine Bar & Bistro. As part of our commitment to renewables, we here at The Gas Hub partnered with Visa Wellington on a Plate to showcase our hydrogen gas BBQ to bring you: Food of the Future.

Talking with Shepherd, he has been in the foodie business since he finished school. Always hands-on, eager to learn and creative; being a success in the food industry was inevitable. Named as Best Casual Dining at the Cuisine Good Food Awards in 2022 and winning hats for two restaurants in 2023, Shepherd and Concord are amongst the top 80 restaurants in the country.

With local and international experience working for talented chefs across New Zealand, Australia and London, Shepherd says he gleaned knowledge from many diverse food spheres, and when asked his secret to success, Shepherd says he was taught to “keep an open mind and never feel like you know everything, there is always something to learn wherever you are.”

With the ever-increasing interest in sustainability, innovation and the science of cookery, we are thrilled to hear about Shepherd’s partnership with Dale Bowie in The Development Kitchen. Birthed in a conversation over dinner, Shepherd and Dale love produce, its origins and helping you get the most out of your food.

So what can we expect at Food of the Future?

Elliott says, “First of all, a tasty burger”.

While your tastebuds enjoy his culinary masterpieces, you can listen in on a really interesting conversation with Shepherd about the future of food, what products may look like going forward, plant-based proteins and meat alternatives, as well as the way we will be cooking in the future.

Farming, sustainability and the health of our planet are topics that will be covered, all while you partake of sliders cooked on our fast, hot and effective hydrogen gas BBQ. Win, win! One of only a few currently in New Zealand.

In the lead-up to the event, you may be wondering, what is the secret to cooking a great burger? Well, we have Shepherd’s top five tips for cooking burgers at home.

Shepherd’s Burger Secrets…

  1. For full flavour - get the fat ratios right

    For the perfect burger, Shepherd says it’s important to have the correct ratio of fat to meat. The secret to a perfectly textured, moist burger patty is ensuring your fat-to-meat ratios are right. He recommends using 75% beef mince and 25% pork mince as the pork will help keep moisture in due to its fat content.

  2. Cook for Caramelisation

    So what is the perfect amount of time to cook a burger patty? Conducting his own study, Shepherd found that cooking a burger patty sous vide for 24 hours at 56 degrees is the prime time to ensure all the flavour stays inside. However, if you don’t have that much time to spare for your next burger night he says, the trick is to get good caramelisation by cooking in a really hot pan for 3-5 minutes on each side to ensure caramelisation on the outside, but perfect moisture within.

  3. Use the right tools - buy a cast iron pan

    For those cooking with gas, Shepherd recommends using a cast iron pan. Good news for budding chefs, the ones at Briscoes have his tick of approval! Just look for a steak griddle pan or one with a heavy base to ensure the heat stays in!

  4. Choose quality buns

    Choose your buns wisely, Shepherd says you want a burger bun that will hold its integrity and is soft, but will not fall apart. The good news is supermarket brands can do well! To keep your burger bun crispy, and to hold the meat in, cook the inside of your burger bun in the pan.

  5. Final tips

    Shepherd puts a high value on flavour, texture and ratios, so ensure you have a bit of crunch, and of course - add salt! 

Shepherd’s preference - cooking with gas, or induction?

We had Shepherd trial our fast, hot and efficient hydrogen gas BBQ recently. He uses gas at home and induction at work, familiar with both; he says the key is understanding your cook top is important.  

“Gas has a lot more feel to it, allowing you to control the heat you’re using. Induction knows what it’s doing so may take you a little bit longer to be on the same page when using it.”

What did Shepherd think of the hydrogen gas BBQ? “Really good; the temperature flexibility is great and lets you play around with the heat to find what works best for you.”

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