Several years ago we travelled to British Columbia. During our trip west we made a stop in Pemberton to visit family and friends and fell in love. Beyond the beauty of a valley surrounded by mountains and crisscrossed by clear rivers, beyond ranches and wildlife and towering trees, beyond one of the most beautiful places in Canada, we found … the best burger in the history of hamburgers.
When we returned from that trip we spent a fair bit of time telling anyone who would listen — and even those who weren’t too keen — that the best burgers anywhere were served up at Mile One Eating House in Pemberton, British Columbia. Last summer we made a return trip and brought my brother and his family. They loved the burgers so much we ate dinner at Mile One four out of seven nights.
What’s so amazing about these burgers? Magic.
Also, a kitchen team led by a chef who cares about what they serve their patrons and believes in sourcing great products close to home. What’s so terrible about these burgers? They’re in British Columbia and we’re in Ontario.
I’m not saying my burgers are a duplicate of what you’ll eat if you’re lucky enough to make it to Pemberton, but they’re the best I could do from memory. And according to my family, they’re pretty damn good. Here’s my ode to the Hillbilly Deluxe from Mile One.
This is where I write nothing (or almost nothing) because when it comes to burgers it’s all about letting the flavour of the meat come through. The most important step is buying a good quality ground chuck or medium ground beef. Those two options have the best flavours in large part because of the higher fat content. Extra lean means extra bland.
Form the meat into large meatballs (tennis ball-sized) and flatten into a 1–1.5-centimeter thick patty. Using your thumb, make a depression in the center of the patty. This will prevent the burger from puffing up during cooking.
Season one side of the burger with 2 large pinches of coarse salt and 3-4 turns of the pepper mill. Place seasoned side of patty down on the BBQ and season the other side.
Don't press down on the meat with a spatula. You’ll squeeze out all the juice. Your spatula is for flipping, so flip over those burgers after approximately 5-6 minutes and cook for another 4-5.
Makes 10 burgers.
Serve the burgers on brioche buns. The slightly sweet taste of the bread along with its light texture makes it a perfect complement to the meat and toppings.
Slice ¾ large, sweet white onion.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet and cook the onion over medium heat.
Add ½ cup beer. I used Hop City Big Mouth Pale Ale and then had to drink the rest. Cook until onions are slightly browned and soft.
Blend minced garlic with the egg yolk. Slowly pour in olive oil, beating with a fork.
Add salt and lemon juice and mix well.
Combine 6 tablespoons of mayonnaise (homemade or store-bought) with 4-5 tablespoons of aioli and blend well using a fork.
To build the burger spread 1-2 tablespoons of aioli mayonnaise on the bottom half of the bun, follow with two pieces of sausage, the burger patty, and top with cheese curds and caramelized onions. Finish off with one slice of tomato and lettuce. Dig in.
Serve with a side of fresh feta asparagus.
For a delicious finish to your BBQ, prepare a peach-blueberry crumble for dessert.