Thursday 19 June 2014

Five Outrageous Burgers From Chef Fred Smith


My first 10/10 burger on the blog, and still one that sends shivers down my spine when I think about it. When Fred was in his role as head chef, The Admiral Codrington cheeseburger was an example of the best gourmet burger London had to offer.
Every element in the Admiral Codrington burger was designed and executed to ensure the perfect combination of toppings, beef and bread. A thin layer of tomato reduction applied to the underside of the bun added acidity and umami, the mild cheddar doesn't dominate the meat, but added a Monterey Jack-style creaminess. Underneath the patty, thinly sliced pickles on a single slice of beef tomato, and mustard-mayonnaise chopped iceberg 'slaw, again adding that acidity and ensuring the juices freely flowing from the patty don't destroy the bun. Add a spoonful of the burger patty juices to the inside of the bun lid and the whole package was steeped in flavour.

The meat was house-minced, 8oz patties, with a combination of 50% chuck/50% rib cap from butcher Jack O'Shea. The beef was 28-day aged from grass-fed beef (for 200-250 days, and finished on grain) from the West coast of Ireland.

What a phenomenal piece of London burger history.


As part of a series of burger 'swarms', again at the Admiral Codrington, Fred designed a hearty menu featuring a central burger (or six).
And so was created the aptly-named 333 Chilli Burger. An ancho chilli-braised short rib patty ridden by a chipotle and jalapeño topping, resting on a bed of medium-heat, green chilli 'slaw, and sandwiched in a smaller version of the Miller demi-brioche bun.

This burger had bite, but the heat wasn't overpowering, more lingering than a burning inferno. It combined chipotle with its dry heat, and the green chillies with their juicy, spicy heat  and both worked in an almost perfect harmony with the smooth, creaminess of the short rib burger patty.

Hot stuff from Fred!


The Chuck Wagon is a burger that had the masses talking – a real artery clogger. At its base is a Juicy Lucy, an American cheese stuffed patty, but as this is Fred Smith, you know he has something else up his sleeve. And he did. The cheese was in fact bacon infused, formulated to melt at a low temperature so the burger can still be served pink. The beef was then coated in bread crumbs, coated again in panko bread crumbs and then fried, like chicken.
This is the result – a frankly mind-blowing combination of junk food flavours with the provenance and heritage that Fred brings.


The Admiral's Big Boy was a once in a lifetime interpretation of the McDonald's Big Mac. Encased in a Miller's sesame-seeded bun, cut with precision into three segments, Fred's take on this classic incorporated two slices of American cheese (these situated on top of the beef patties, rather than the traditional single slice below), his own special dressing that took so long to perfect he actually forgot what went into it (I tried to reverse engineer some out of my shirt, where it happily splattered), and patties were O'Shea's beef and slightly weightier than the similarly-named original, yet they were still cooked pink - a feat Fred was rightly proud of.
Like a full-bodied photoshoot of prime McDonald's Big Macs, the Admiral's Big Boy delivers all the joy of McDonalds best selling premium sandwich, without resorting to the sad, soggy looking burgers that actually turn up in your cardboard wrapper.


Following his stint at the Admiral Codrington, Fred took a series of freelance and consultancy roles, helping other places make awesome burgers, and one of these included deep frying a burger patty in beef dripping at FlatIron...

Arriving with a waft of deep-fried chip shop aroma, this is where the likeness to cheap fast food ends, the aged beef-fed beef patty is deep fried in beef dripping which allows it to forms the most amazing caramelised crust, whilst retaining a juicy, pink interior. The texture of the beef is melt-in-the-mouth, and it's topped with a béarnaise sauce, with it's buttery soft flavour, which works its way deep into crevices of the fried patty.

Mmm, deep fried beef.


So there we have it, five of my favourite outrageous burgers from chef Fred Smith - if you want to learn how to make burgers like a pro, check out my short videos of him creating his Ad Cod Cheeseburger:

Why not share your Fred Smith favourites too?


  1. Ripsnorter20 June, 2014

    Yes, yes, all well and delicious, but where is Fred now?

  2. Fred is currently Head of Food Development at Byron Hamburgers.

  3. Ripsnorter23 June, 2014

    Thanks for the update. "Head of Food Development" sounds so horrible and clinical, though. I've had mixed experience at Byron, it being a bit of a chain and all. I'd like to see the place having a Head Of Telling The Staff To Quit Their Attempts At Upselling Because It Gets Really Annoying And No, They Are Not Really Part Of The Dining Experience. This one guy, one time...

    Still, as long as Fred is happy, well fed and watered etc. But I'd prefer to see him back in his element, working his burger wonders like in your article, doing his own thing in a kitchen he pwns. I think that's what young people write these days, "pwns."

  4. Ian James26 June, 2014

    Sadly I've not eaten nearly as many Fred Burgers as you Nick - but for me some stand out burgers - the Burger Monday one (did he do more than one?) anyway I went to the first one - amazing he used Ogleshield cheese on that one I think. The bigger version of the 333 Chilli burger - that was super - had that at the Ad Cod NYE dinner, no one at the table ordered one (cos we wanted Big Boys - but Fred sent one out for us to share - bloik. And I really like the lardo burger from the same swarm as the 333 - but I'm sure that divided opinion - in all honesty all three burgers were great that night.

  5. I remember the Lardo burger, Ian, but I seem to remember the pork was slightly lost in the mix. He really has created a lot of really great burgers!

  6. Jade foodie06 August, 2014

    your blog making me drool. would be honoured if you ever get round to reading mine ...


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