Chebbo's Burgers delivers delicious make-at-home burger kits all over Sydney. Ali Chebbani pivoted from his food truck business into delivering his burger and cheeseburger kits and there's also a TikTok link too!
Chebbo's Burgers was originally a side hustle that Ali Chebbani planned to run while working at his accounting corporate finance job. It was designed to bring in extra cash while addressing his love of food and burgers. "While I've always had entrepreneurial tendencies growing up the office job that I interned and was offered a job at seemed too good to refuse as the pay and conditions were great," says Ali. He ran his burger pop up once a month in his spare time. "COVID eventually hit and by a spur of the moment decision I decided to offer delivery and pick up orders from my driveway (NSW government issued a statement that it was okay to do so) and I started the TikTok account for a little fun and in pursuit of some 'clout'. I would then be posting a TikTok every day, working my internship from home, and running Chebbo's on Friday and Saturday nights. From there growth was exponential with each week being much bigger than the last and ended up with us having to leave my driveway due to how busy it would get," explains Ali.
"While we established ourselves during last lockdown and used it as our main growth phase - this one has been much tougher. The case numbers that Delta has brought, along with the high concentration in the Canterbury Bankstown area (where we are based) means that myself, my family and customers are at a high risk. Given the risk, we decided to shut down trade from the food truck entirely, and honestly looking at the case numbers it seems almost certain that if we hadn't, we could've put people at risk given how busy we always are. And so while we closed the truck I used the time to put energy into other dimensions of the business that previously I hadn't had the time for. These dimensions include the kits, branding, partnerships, new menu items and growth/expansion strategies," says Ali.
Ali is also active on social media and on TikTok he has 682,000 followers and on Instagram 25,700 but he uses both in different ways. "TikTok is very unique in that it breaks down barriers and walls that other platforms (especially Instagram) may put up. You're able to be so vulnerable and transparent with your following and connect with them in ways like never before. Given those reasons, it is AMAZING for brand building. If you want people to know who you are, what you do and especially WHY you do something TikTok is the place. Personally I just use it for attention, exposure and awareness, I'm barely ever selling or pitching Chebbo's on it. Rather, I funnel local followers onto my Instagram, where I then expose them to our trade, products etc," says Ali. Apart from the burger kits there is also merchandise as well with hoodies and hats and of course the burger smasher.
Ali explains how the smashed patty is, "By far (in my opinion) the best way to cook a patty. The smash patty has been around for a while (1950s I think), from discovery to "perfection". The reason why a smash patty is superior comes down to science and the crust or 'maillard reaction'. Maillard reaction refers to a chemical reaction between amino acids and sugars breaking down in the cooking process. What makes a steak so tasty is the nice crust that one gets while cooking it, the deep brown caramelisation that gives it so much flavour. The same principle is then applied to a burger, where more crust equals more flavour. And so how do we get more of this crust? By maximising the surface contact area between fatty beef mince and a hot grill. If executed right, and hit with a bit of salt, the smash patty is much more tender and flavourful than one simply cooking over flame or placed on a grill. A lot of people ask what's in our beef patties and get surprised when I say nothing except freshly minced beef. With smash patties there isn't a need for egg, bread crumbs or any other 'binder', as the crust holds everything together."
There are three burger kits available: a regular burger, cheeseburger and a fried onion burger. I tried the classic burger kit that caters for 2, 4 or 6 people. The two person burger kit has double patties and is $25.99 and delivery is a flat rate of $10 across a lot of Sydney going as far north as Wahroonga in the north delivering on Tuesdays and Saturdays.
The smashed patties are delivered in balls. I definitely recommend watching the youtube video given on the card which is accessed by QR code. In it Ali recommends against using a non stick pan and gives a range of tips on how to achieve the crust. Unfortunately I didn't watch it until after and I used a regular pan instead of cast iron and didn't have a sharp enough lifter (he recommends a metal BBQ scraper tool). Ali explains that smashed patties can be a challenge, "It takes a lot of experience to nail a smash patty every time and control all the variables that contribute to achieving a perfect one - and only through practise can it be properly mastered. That being said, I'm every day experimenting and brainstorming ways to improve my recipes and if you were to taste a burger from me every 3 months from starting I'm certain that each newer one would be better than the last."
In terms of the chuck brisket beef patty Ali says, "What's crucial is the percentage of fat within the beef, as that allows a nice juicy patty and for the crust to develop properly." I particularly like the sauce and the burger doesn't need any additional tomato sauce or ketchup as the sauce has a tang in it already. "For the sauce, I started off by testing all famous burger restaurant recipes (Maccas, Shake Shack, In-N-Out etc.) and played with the recipe and ingredients until I found the exact recipe that I liked best. I actually do mix in tomato sauce with it, however there's also the hint of acidity from the pickle juice and diced pickles. It's honestly got a bit of everything and that way it touches all bases and acts as a perfect companion to the burger," he says.
However despite user error the burgers are really, really tasty. I toasted both milk buns and then added the special sauce then the tomato, oak leaf lettuce and brown onion slices before adding two melted cheese topped patties. The generous amount of sauce binds all of this together nicely and while it's messy (what good burger isn't?) I finish every last bite of it and eat it slowly to savour the flavour. For Ali mastering the smash, sauce recipe and other components of the burger making process took 6-8 months. And only 5 minutes to eat for me!
So tell me Dear Reader, have you ever tried a smashed burger? What do you usually like on your burger?
NQN was sent the burger kit by Visit NSW but all opinions remain her own.