The Spanish hamburger


There is generally one thing to keep in mind when ordering a hamburger in Spain which is that they take the “ham” part of the burger a bit too literally and as such, they’re generally a blend of beef and pork. For anyone accustomed to the American style of hamburger (watch Anthony Bourdain wax poetic on In-N-Out) this will strike you as immediately a bit off. The texture is different. The taste as well naturally. It’s hard to describe other than it being fundamentally not cow and thus, odd.

I’m quite convinced that there is a wide-reaching conspiracy to keep the burgers in such a state. For a brief period of time, when living in Barcelona I would get hamburgers from “Burger Lady” at the Santa Caterina market. They were fully organic and transcendent. You cooked them and they just smiled back at you with this sexy delectable grin. When you ate them, the beef–as they were fully beef–would just crumble away in your mouth. A finer burger I’ve never had outside of say, France.

But I believe that the general public here was not able to handle this for one day I went to get my beloved burgers and they were gone. I rarely bought burgers after that as again, the pork-beef or ‘peef’ thing throws me off.

Admittedly, in the village by the farmhouse there is the butcher, Joan. He stocks a small, but excellent selection of meat and he carries only beef from Girona which I’m of the opinion is some of the finest in Spain. But there too he makes his burgers with the all so popular ‘peef’ blend but they generally work. The only thing I didn’t know when I first moved to Spain was that for some inexplicable reason they put a little layer of nearly invisible plastic on each side of the hamburger patty. For one who is not used to such things, you take the burgers out, salt and pepper them, toss them in the pan and then discover that they end up cooking with a very strange “skin” that results in having to toss said hamburgers.

Such is how it goes with the hamburger in Spain.

2 Replies to “The Spanish hamburger”

  1. Why don’t you buy plain ground beef, or buy a fatty cut of beef and grind it yourself. You grew up on a farm, and I am sure you still remember how animals are slaughtered. Of course I always added lots of stuff to the meat to make it more interesting. Pork and beef together, umm? not so good.

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