American diner food in Britain? Absolutely, pass us a rarebit burger! (With all apologies to classic pub grub, that is.) Chef Tom Byng opened the first Byron in London, serving the kind of burgers that seemed absent from the city’s dining scene. After partnering with chef Fred Smith, who was churning out superb patties for hungry crowds, a signature burger was born. Now with dozens of locations around the UK, the Byron boys have released a cookbook packed with the recipes that made them famous. Their rarebit burger — a cheeseburger topped with an extra-savory, crisp broiled cheese sauce — is truly a standout.
Fred was once charged with making a hamburger that celebrated British ingredients for an event called Meatopia. And what could be more British than “Welsh rarebit” flavored with English ale? Think of this as an eccentric English cheeseburger.
- 4 6-ounce hamburgers
- 4 buns, halved
- 1/4 Iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
- Quick pickled cucumbers or bread & butter pickles
- 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch thick rings
- 8 slices crispy smoked bacon
- 4 dill pickles
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 1/2 tablespoons English mustard
- 1 1/2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon Byron hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce (not Tabasco)
- 5 tablespoons pale ale
- 2 tablespoons worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoons English mustard
- 5 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon Byron hot sauce or your favorite hot sauce (not Tabasco)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 3/4 packed cups grated cheddar cheese
For the rarebit
Put the ale, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, cream and Byron Hot Sauce in a saucepan over a medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer.
Meantime, mix the cornstarch and milk together into a thin paste.
When the liquid in the saucepan is simmering, add the cornstarch mixture and the Parmesan. Whisk over a medium-low heat until the mixture is smooth and thickened and the Parmesan has melted, about 4-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
When cool, stir in the cheddar. Shape the mixture into balls weighing 1 ounce each. Place them, one by one, between 2 pieces of parchment paper and flatten until about 4 inches wide. Refrigerate until ready to use. It will keep in an airtight container for up to 1 week. It’s great melted onto toast.
For the burgers
For the rarebit sauce, combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and refrigerate until needed.
Preheat the broiler to high.
Cook the hamburgers to your liking.
Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns.
Add the shredded lettuce to the bottom halves on the buns and top each with 7 slices of quick pickled cucumber or bread & butter pickles. Separate the onion into rings and place 5 of these on top of the cucumber. Add a spoonful of rarebit sauce to the onions and place another spoonful on the top halves of the buns.
When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer to a small roasting tray. Top each hamburger with a slice of Welsh rarebit. Place under the hot broiler on the highest shelf. Watch carefully and remove the tray from under the broiler as soon as the cheese has melted.
Carefully place the hamburgers on the bottom halves of the buns and top with 2 slices of the crispy smoked bacon.
Bring the 2 halves together and serve with a dill pickle on the side.