The Australian “Hamburger-with-the-Lot”

by Meagan

We Australians think we have perfected the hamburger. Find out what makes our version of the quintessential American fast food so special - then decide for yourself!

I reckon we Australians have perfected the hamburger. There I’ve said it, and I’m bracing myself for a barrage of protests. It’s true that hamburgers aren’t thought of internationally as an Australian food. Although its origins are in Germany, the hamburger, as most know it, is quintessentially American.

But here in Australia the hamburger has a huge following, shaped by a different culinary history. We do them our own way – we love them best when they are made “with-the-lot”.

A hamburger-with-the-lot contains a meat patty, fried onion, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, fried egg, pineapple, pickled beetroot, bacon and a squirt of tangy barbeque or tomato sauce (ketchup). Nothing more, nothing less.

And while some of those ingredients may sound odd, this mind-blowingly tasty flavour combination is so popular here in Australia that both Hungry Jacks (Burger King) and McDonalds have an Aussie-hamburger-with-the-lot inspired version on their menu (in fact the McDonalds McOz is reportedly about to be reinstated due to massive demand).

But you absolutely shouldn’t try one of these fast food outlet offerings and think you have experienced a hamburger-with-the-lot.  You need to seek out the genuine article or recreate it in your own kitchen.

Australian “Hamburger-with-the-Lot”

I’m not a meat lover either.  Scroll down to see my tips for buying and making a hamburger-wtih-the-lot-without-the-meat!

Where to get a hamburger-with-the-lot

The take-away

The best place to get a real hamburger-with-the-lot is an Australian take-away or fish and chip shop.  You will have to seek such a place out.  The humble Aussie take-aways, which feature in so many of our childhood memories, are sadly becoming harder and harder to find as they are crowded out by fast food chains and trendy cafes.  But they do still have a presence throughout Australia – most medium-sized towns should have at least one and you will usually find them scattered about the city streets. They are often named after a person (for example "Theo's") or something grander ("the Athenia", "the Liberty", "the Niagra") and are usually identifiable by their dated décor, bain marie counters and a menu containing such delicacies as dim sims, chicko rolls, fish and chips and other deep fried delights.

The servo

While you will usually be hard-pressed to find a hamburger at a city "servo" (service station or gas station) the major highway truckstops often have a roadhouse with basic Aussie take-away fare.  So if you are on the road, consider giving McDonalds, KFC or Hungry Jacks a miss and heading into the servo for a hamburger-with-the-lot.

The pub

Visit an Aussie pub for a counter meal and you will usually find the classic hamburger-with-the-lot on the menu.  You're looking for an ordinary, run of the mill kind of establishment - the kind with little fare more exotic than the standard chicken parmigiana, schnitzel or surf and turf.  More gentrified pubs may also have a hamburger-with-the-lot on the menu you may be less likely to find the genuine article.

Vegetarian alternative

Some take-aways and servos have veggie burgers though it is rare and they are often the sawdust kind (i.e. all filler, little flavour).  I usually ask for a hamburger-with-the-lot minus the meat (yes, I see the irony!) or alternatively ask them to replace the meat with a deep fried potato scallop or similar.  It is still full flavoured, delicious and definitely my take-away meal of choice!

More upmarket eating places will often have veggie burgers but they are less likely to be served with the classic hamburger-with-the-lot combination of ingredients.

Bars and cafes

Failing the above options, you will also find a hamburger-with-the-lot on the menu of many Australian bars and cafes.  But beware that in the classier establishments they are more likely to mess with the original formula and offer you something more gourmet.  A little bit of carmelised onion here, a little rocket there - sure it tastes good but if it's the real thing you are after, this isn't it.  And even if they get the ingredients right they may offer you cutlery or worse, present you with a hamburger in two parts.  It should never be eaten this way.  Politely decline and follow my instructions below - no self-respecting Aussie could think the worse of you!

How to eat a hamburger-with-the-lot

A hamburger-with-the-lot can be e-normous!  Don't be put off.  Squeeze the complete hamburger together, compress it until your mouth can fit all the way around and then eat it with your hands.  It’s important to be able to taste all the ingredients in one bite – and the combination of sauce, egg yolk, beetroot and meat juices trickling down your arms is all part of the gloriously messy hamburger-with-the-lot experience.

How to make a hamburger-with-the-lot

Making a hamburger-with-the-lot really is as simple as assembling all of the components inside a bread roll!  It's the unique combination of ingredients that make an Aussie hamburger so special.

Each ingredient contributes something special to the mix but the beetroot is perhaps most critical.  Don't even think about leaving it out - without beetroot it just isn't an Australian hamburger!

Below is a guide to choosing and preparing the patty, bread, salad and fried ingredients.  Choose the right ingredients and the only real trick is timing so that everything is ready at once.  Then you can spread everything out on the table so everyone can assemble their own hamburger-with-the-lot.

hamburger-with-the-lot ingredients

Meat patty

Use a simple meat patty (beef or kangaroo, as pictured) bought ready-made, or made at home.

I usually mix together mince (ground kangaroo), diced onion, grated carrot, a little oat bran, egg, salt and pepper and perhaps a little garlic and Worcestershire sauce. Shape them into patties, refrigerate for an hour then dip them in flour prior to cooking.

Cook your patties in a little oil on a hot barbeque or frypan, turning once only.

Fried ingredients    

Salad ingredients

Bread rolls

Choose a freshly baked soft white bread roll, slice in half and lightly toast on both sides under the grill.  Butter generously and pile it all in.

Hamburger with the lot patties
Vegetarian alternative

There are so many delicious veggie burgers out there, many of which are richly flavoured.  I find the earthy flavour of simple vegan mung bean patties best complements other ingredients in a hamburger-with-the-lot.

You will need to cook some pre-soaked mung beans until soft.  Then simply fry some diced onion, garlic and a little fresh ginger over low-medium heat.  Add some grated carrot, mild curry powder, salt and pepper and mix in the cooked mung beans (being sure to remove all excess moisture first). Lightly mash the mixture.  Shape into burgers and refrigerate for one hour.  Remove from the fridge and immediately dip in flour and cook in pre-heated oil on high heat, turning once only.

And, of course, hold on the bacon!

How to get the timing right
  1. Prepare your meat patties first and refrigerate.
  2. Prepare all salad ingredients and place on a platter.
  3. Brown the onion in some oil and push to the side of the barbeque or pan.
  4. Start to cook the meat patties.  Then the bacon a minute or two later.
  5. Flip the meat patties and add the pineapple.  The pineapple and the bacon will need flipping soon after.
  6. Place the bread rolls under the grill.
  7. Start to fry the eggs in egg rings (best on a separate pan or element).
  8. Turn the bread rolls.
  9. Switch off the barbeque (or main pan).  Turn off the grill.
  10. As soon as the eggs are ready, plate up all ingredients and assemble your burgers!

Australian cookbooks

Australia Wide Cookbook

Australia! The largest island in the world and certainly the most spectacular. Australia is blessed with a wonderful variety of scenery and culture and a marvelous array of ...

$19.5  $3.0

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Good Food from Australia: A Hippocrene Original Cookbook

Take a culinary adventure to 'the land down under' with Good Food From Australia! From the famous Vegemite sandwich to grilling on the barbecue, the authors provide a generous ...

$4.95  $77.2

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Aussie Gastronomy (Food Fare Culinary Collection)

"Aussie Gastronomy" contains a brief history of Australia, common Aussie dishes, food history, information about traditional cooking (Aboriginal techniques), beverages, ...

Only $1.0

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The Cook's Companion: The Complete Book of Ingredients and Recipes for the Australian Kitchen

The Cook's Companion has established itself as the kitchen 'bible' in over 300,000 homes since it was first published in 1996. Stephanie Alexander has added over 300 new ...

$114.65  $97.08

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The Down Under Cookbook: The Authentic Guide to Australian Cooking and Eating Traditions

$5.97  $2.92

View on Amazon

Enjoy your Australian hamburger-with-the-lot!


More hamburger recipes:

Updated: 03/19/2012, Meagan
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blackspanielgallery on 07/29/2015

I can imagine this being tasty, but it could be several meals.

Meagan on 03/15/2012

NaturalRemedies you should suggest it! Try one and you won't look back ;)

Mladen, so long as you have the right ingredients it is pretty hard to fail at this! But then if you are looking for an excuse to go to Australia... sure you can't beat the real thing in an Aussie cafe :)

Mladen on 03/10/2012

Next time I come to visit Australia I will try one of yours hamburger-with-the-lot! I will try to make one today, but I am sure I will fail. Original thing is the best! Right? :)
Great article for food lovers!

NaturalRemedies on 02/26/2012

That is one huge burger, but I'd definitely give it a try, just as you prescribe. I live in a major Texas city, with quite a few restaurants that specialize in burgers. I'm surprised that none of them feature this burger. Maybe i'll suggest it!

Meagan on 02/20/2012

Kangaroo_Jase - hmmm, I really like my hamburgers but a double? that needs TWO sticks to hold it together? I'm not sure I could handle it!

Pinkchic18 - :) I'm glad you like the look of it - try one and you'll never look back :)

Pinkchic18 on 02/20/2012

Yum!! This looks so delicious that I won't even protest your claim to perfecting the burger, in fact I'd probably have to agree from the looks of it! Wonderfully written, thumbs up :)

Kangaroo_Jase on 02/20/2012

In the Adelaide Hills, just outside of the Barossa valley there is a road house that does a mammoth burger. Its essentially twice the amount of ingredients, it is held together by two wooden shish kebab sticks and its recommended to eat no more than once a year......

But you raise a great point, what makes the Aussie burger different to all others is the slices of beetroot. Yum Yummmmm

Meagan on 02/18/2012

Katie, ditto! And they can be so healthy! Although this is my little tribute to the Aussie classic, I often make more interesting veggie burgers at home - my all time fave is pumpkin and chickpea. mm mmmm.

Meagan on 02/18/2012

Brenda, I know! :) It sure looks that way but my husband ate this moments after the photo was taken and managed to get his mouth around it!

katiem2 on 02/18/2012

I love burgers, they are one of my favorite foods, my favorite burgers are vegetarian, black bean and nut burgers, I also love a good soy burger with lots of veggies.

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