I was given the Hellfire Halo cast iron grill set for Christmas and its shameful that it's taken me till Easter to use it. Well now I have, and it doesn't disappoint. The main reason I wanted one was to have a larger cast iron surface area to cook burgers and other such items that benefit from not being cooked over the coals. The Hellfire Halo also has a grill grate in the middle for the items that might want a bit of direct grilling action over the charcoal. First, however, I had to season it.
Sarah-Jane Nash, who works for Hellfire, recommends a seasoning mix of Trex vegetable fat, flour and cooking oil in equal parts. Heat the Trex and cooking oil together until all the Trex has melted, then mix in the flour. Rub the mixture over the cast iron and fire up your barbecue. Once lit, place the cast iron in the barbecue and allow it to season for 15 minutes. It is then good enough to cook on already. I followed the advice and it was perfect. She even recommends using it on your other cast iron pans. I hasten to add that I used this mix on my cast iron frying pan and skillet before I did the Hellfire Halo, and have used them many times since with much greater success than my previous attempts at seasoning.
Hellfire Halo Grill after being rubbed down with the seasoning mix of Trex, cooking oil and flour in equal measures.
Now for the burgers!!
Since I now have a fantastically seasoned cast iron griddle, it was time for some smash burgers!!! I simply rolled the amount of mince (20% fat) that I wanted for my burger into a ball and placed it on the hot cast iron griddle...no seasoning, no egg, no binder, no rush, no salt, no pepper, no nothing...just pure mince. Then I took my spatula and SMASH!! Pressing down on the ball to make a patty, the sizzling and bubbling fat being rendered out was fantastic to see, smell and hear.
Once the burger has had a good smashing onto the griddle, I then, and only then, seasoned it with salt and pepper. I was well aware that by using the Hellfire Halo that I probably wouldn't be getting a smoky, barbecue taste into the burger itself, after all its on the griddle and not over the coals, so it's not even taking on the smoke from the combusted fat that rendered off it. As a result, I decided to grill the streaky bacon over the coals on the central grate, which did take on a more smoky flavour (it wasn't smoked bacon by the way!!).
Once the first side was sufficiently grilled, a couple of minutes, I flipped it, seasoned it again on the other side, and placed the cheese on it to melt. Another couple of minutes later and the burger was ready!! Bun toasted, burger sauce on (see below), lettuce, tomatoes, gherkins and bacon stacked, and it was ready!!
As you can see from the photo the cheese didn't melt down very much. I have seen people use a cloche placed over the burger whilst it is cooking with the cheese on, adding a squirt of water in there. This not only keeps it moist but also melts the cheese better...I need to find me a cloche!!
I ate it with a can of Neck Oil Session IPA by Beavertown. This hoppy brew really complemented the butteriness of the beef and the saltiness of the bacon without being too flowery.
I mixed together capers, lemon juice, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise, cider vinegar, mustard powder, sumaq, salt and pepper into a spice grinder and blitzed it till smooth