Decadent Diner-Inspired Burgers That Will Blow You Away

uncle sam burger
Photo: Martin Poole
These extraordinary bites will forever change your burger game.

Even though they're a tribute to the classic American diner burger, these burgers from Byron - the renowned UK diner - are some out-of-this-world fare that you won't find at your average, everyday diner. With intriguing sauces and unique toppings, they're sure to wow you and your friends. Founded in 2007 by Tom Byng, Byron's mission was simple: to serve the best-possible hamburgers, made from properly-sourced beef and with top-quality ingredients. Byng partnered with head chef Fred Smith to create the perfect American diner-style burger and today Byron has 54 locations throughout the UK. Now, the two have come together to create Byron: The Diner Cookbook, a delicious culinary journey packed with their favorite recipes from over the years so that you can have the best diner food and burgers in your own home.

The Byron Burger

This is Byron's signature burger. Simple and classic, it sports beef, melted cheddar and dry-cured bacon with a dollop of their famous sauce to top it off.

byron burger

What You'll Need

Makes 4

  • 4 x 6oz hamburgers
  • 4 buns, halves
  • 7 tbsp Byron sauce (see below, Topping 1)
  • 1⁄4 iceberg lettuce, leaves finely shredded
  • 1/2 beef tomato, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and cut into 1/8 inch thick rings
  • 4 slices of cheddar cheese, roughly the same size as the hamburgers
  • 8 slices of crispy smoked bacon (see below, Topping 2 - or you can prepare the bacon to your own liking)
  • 4 dill pickles


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the broiler to high.

Step 2: Cook the hamburgers to your liking following, either on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet on the stove.

Step 3: Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns.

Step 4: Spread the Byron Sauce evenly over the top halves of the buns.

Step 5: Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns and add a slice of tomato. Place 5 onion rings on top of each tomato.

Step 6: When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer them to a small roasting tray. Top each one with a slice of cheddar and 2 slices of bacon. 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. If using a BBQ, follow the instructions for melting cheese on page 16.

Step 7: Carefully place the hamburgers onto the bottom halves of the buns and bring the
2 halves together.

Step 8: Serve with a dill pickle on the side.

Byronissimo

Inspired by the flavors of Milan, the key ingredient to this gorgeous treat is the tomato relish, which adds just the right amount of acidity.

byronissimo

What You'll Need

Makes 4

  • 4 x 6 oz hamburgers
  • 4 buns, halved
  • 1/4 iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
  • Pickled red onions (see below, Topping 3)
  • 7 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1/2 beef tomato, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 4 tbsp tomato relish (see below, Topping 4)
  • 4 slices fontina cheese, about 1 oz each
  • 12 slices of crispy pancetta (see below, Topping 5)
  • 4 dill pickles


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the broiler to high.

Step 2: Cook the hamburgers to your liking, either on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet on the stove.

Step 3: Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns.

Step 4: Place the shredded lettuce on the bottom halves of the buns.

Step 5: Drain the liquor from the Pickled Red Onions and place 5 or 6 onion rings on top of the lettuce.

Step 6: Spread a spoonful of mayonnaise on both halves of the buns.

Step 7: When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer to a small roasting tray. Top each one with a slice of tomato and a tablespoonful of the Tomato Relish. Place a slice of cheese on top and press down gently. Top with a slice of Crispy Pancetta.

Step 8: 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. If using a BBQ, follow the instructions for melting cheese on page 16.

Step 9: Place the hamburgers on the bottom halves of the buns and bring the 2 halves together.

Step 10: Serve with a dill pickle on the side.

Ronaldo

Named for the famous soccer player (you know the one), the team at Byron created this impressive double-decker burger special during the World Cup in 2014. Their reasoning? This is how a stadium burger ought to be.

ronaldo burger

What You'll Need

Makes 4

  • 8 x 6 oz hamburgers
  • 1 quantity of buttered onions (see below, Topping 6)
  • 4 buns, halved
  • 2 large pickles, sliced
  • Tomato ketchup and mustard
  • 8 slices of American cheese, roughly the same size as the hamburgers
  • 16 slices of crispy pancetta (see below, Topping 5)
  • 1/2 cup storebought crispy onion pieces
  • 4 dill pickles


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the broiler to high.

Step 2: Cook the 8 hamburgers to your liking, either on a grill or in a cast-iron skillet on the stove. About 1–2 minutes before they are ready, top with the Buttered Onions.

Step 3: Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns.

Step 4: Place the pickle slices on the bottom halves of the buns. Squirt a spiral of ketchup and about half as much mustard on both the top and bottom halves of the buns.

Step 5: When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer them to a roasting tray. Top each one with a slice of cheese and 2 slices of Crispy Pancetta. 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.

Step 6: Place 2 hamburgers on the bottom half of each bun and cover completely with the crispy onion pieces.

Step 7: Bring the 2 halves together and serve with a dill pickle on the side.

Uncle Sam

Can't get much more classic American burger than this - glazed buns, American cheese, sliced pickle, ketchup and mustard. Indulge in a little good ol' nostalgia with this surefire winner of a meal, served with a dill pickle on the side.

uncle sam

What You'll Need

Makes 4

  • 4 x 6 oz hamburgers
  • 4 buns, halved
  • 2 large pickles, sliced
  • Tomato ketchup and mustard
  • 8 slices of American cheese, roughly the same size as the hamburgers
  • 4 dill pickles


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the broiler to high.

Step 2: Cook the hamburgers to your liking, either on a grill or a cast-iron skillet on the stove.

Step 3: Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns.

Step 4: Place the sliced pickles on the bottom halves of the buns. Squirt a spiral of ketchup and mustard on both halves of the buns.

Step 5: When the hamburgers are cooked, transfer to a small roasting tray. Top each one with 2 slices of cheese. 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.

Step 6: Carefully place the hamburgers on the bottom halves of the buns.

Step 7: Bring the 2 halves together and serve with a dill pickle on the side.

Veggie Bean

Of course, vegetarians shouldn't have to miss out on all the burger-y goodness! This scrumptious meat-free patty is packed with two different kinds of beans, corn, breadcrumbs, cilantro, and a pleasing combination of spices.

veggie burger

What You'll Need

Makes 4

  • 4 buns, halved
  • 5 tbsp Byron sauce (see below, Topping 1)
  • 5 tbsp aïoli (see below, Topping 7)
  • 1 large handful of baby spinach leaves
  • 1/2 beef tomato, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into 1/8 inch thick rings
  • 4 dill pickles
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers at room temperature - store-bought and drained

The Patties

  • 1 1/2 cups drained canned garbanzo beans, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups drained canned kidney beans, rinsed
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • 2 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 scant cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup drained canned corn, washed
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 2 3/4 cups panko or dried white breadcrumbs
  • Sunflower or vegetable oil, for shallow frying


Directions

Step 1: For the patties, place three-quarters of the garbanzo beans, three-quarters of the kidney beans, all the cilantro, the cumin, paprika, sugar, salt and one-third of the our into a food processor and blend until you have a coarse paste.

Step 2: Place the remaining garbanzo and kidney beans in a bowl and roughly mash with a fork or potato masher. Spoon the paste from the food processor into the mixing bowl, along with the corn, and mix well.

Step 3: Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions and shape into patties as you would for hamburgers (see page 14). Refrigerate for an hour or so.

Step 4: Place the remaining our, eggs and bread crumbs in 3 shallow bowls.

Step 5: Dip each patty in the our until evenly coated and then shake o any excess. Next, dip each patty into the beaten eggs, coating well and allowing any excess to drip o . Finally, turn each patty in the bread crumbs until completely covered. Transfer the prepared patties to a plate. When ready to cook, heat a large, deep skillet over a medium–high heat. Heat 3⁄8in of oil in it.

Step 6: Meantime, toast or broil the cut sides of the buns. When the oil is hot, fry the patties for 2 minutes on each side.

Step 7: Add the Byron Sauce to the bottom halves of the buns. Spread the Aïoli over the top halves.

Step 8: Place the spinach leaves over the aïoli, then top with a slice of tomato. Separate the onion into rings and place 5 of these on top of each tomato.

Step 9: Carefully place the bean burgers on the bottom half of each bun. Cut the peppers in half and place a piece on top of each burger.

Step 10: Bring the 2 halves together and serve with a dill pickle on the side.

The Byron-Style Toppings

1. Byron Sauce

What You'll Need

Makes enough for 4 burgers

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup tomato ketchup
  • 1 oz dill pickles, drained
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Directions

Step 1: In a medium bowl, mix the mayonnaise and ketchup.

Step 2: Very finely chop the drained dill pickles and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix until everything is evenly distributed. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Step 3: Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

2. Crispy Smoked Bacon

What You'll Need

Serves 4

  • 12 slices of smoked bacon


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 2: Lay the bacon slices on a large roasting tray in a single layer. Bake for 10 minutes.

Step 3: Remove the tray, flip the bacon slices over and cook for a further 3-4 minutes.

Step 4: When the bacon is crispy (it will get crispier once it's out of the oven) and well colored, remove form the oven and leave it to cool slightly.

Step 5: Drain the slices of bacon on some paper towels to absorb any excess fat. Use immediately or leave to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

3. Pickled Red Onions

What You'll Need

Makes enough for 4-6 burgers

  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 small red onion, peeled


Directions

Step 1: Put the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Simmer for 3-4 minutes, stirring now and again until all the sugar and salt have dissolved.

Step 2: Meantime, slice the onion into really thin rings - about 1/8 inch - using a mandoline slicer if you have one. Place them in a non-reactive mixing bowl or a suitable jar, making sure all the rings are separated.

Step 3: Pour the hot pickling liquor over the onions and leave to cool. Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours for the best results, though you can use them immediately.

4. Tomato Relish

What You'll Need

Makes enough for 4-6 burgers

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1/4 long red chile, sliced
  • 1 cup canned chopped tomatoes
  • 4 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt


Directions

Step 1: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and chile and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Step 2: Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cover the pan. Simmer gently for 15 minutes, or until slightly thickened.

Step 3: Remove the pan from the heat and leave the relish to cool. Blend in a food processor or blender, or with a stick blender, until completely smooth.

Step 4: Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

5. Crispy Pancetta

What You'll Need

Makes 12 slices

  • 12 slices of pancetta


Directions

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Step 2: Place the pancetta slices on a large roasting tray in a single layer. Cook in the preheated oven for 3 minutes. Be careful, as pancetta can burn swiftly.

Step 3: When the pancetta is crisp (it will get crispier once it's out of the oven) and well colored, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.

Step 4: Drain the slices of pancetta on paper towels to absorb any excess fat. Use immediately or cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

6. Buttered Onions

What You'll Need

Makes enough for 4 burgers

  • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp sugar


Directions

Step 1: Blend the onion in a food processor until extremely finely chopped, or very finely chop it using a knife.

Step 2: Put a saucepan of water over a medium heat and bring to a boil. Tip the onion into the boiling water and simmer gently for 3 minutes. Drain in a strainer or colander, pushing the onion against the base of the strainer or colander to remove as much liquid as possible.

Step 3: Dry out the pan you had been boiling the onion in and melt the butter in it over a medium heat. Add the onion with the salt and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook gently, stirring now and again, for 20 minutes until the onion has absorbed all the butter and is beautifully soft, but not browned. Leave to cool before using.

7. Aïoli

What You'll Need

Serves 4

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 medium egg yolk, at room temperature
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup olive pomace, vegetable or sunflower oil
  • Sea salt


Directions

Step 1: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add the garlic cloves and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Once cool, remove and pat dry.

Step 2: Put the egg yolk, lemon juice, mustard, a couple of decent pinches of salt and 1 tablespoon water into the bowl of a food processor along with the garlic cloves. Blend until smooth.

Step 3: Mix the two oils in a measuring cup. With the motor of the food processor running, gradually add the oil in a slow, steady stream. Continue until all the oil is used. Your aïoli should be smooth and glossy.

Step 4: Use immediately or refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.


To buy this cookbook, click here.

cover

Recipes and images excerpted from Byron: The Diner Cookbook by Tom Byng and Fred Smith, (Quadrille | Hardie Grant Publishing, 2016).