The Big Max

The Big Max

The Big Max, Max’s Picnic Book: An ode to the art of picnicking, from the authors of Max’ Sandwich Book by Max Halley & Ben Benton. Photography by Louise Hagger.

Max's Picnic BookIrreverent, eccentric, Max’s Picnic Book is the follow up the Sunday Times Bestseller, Max’s Sandwich Book. Both an ode to the art of eating outdoors, and an entertaining, frivolous reinvention of it, Max and Ben will first redefine what the picnic is, and celebrate its true potential, before creating 16 themed menus.

Including ingenious hacks—think flavored salts for dipping eggs and soft-serve with a shot of espresso—as well as twists on familiar favorites, this book about how and why we should picnic. Interpreting the ways in which we can eat outdoors through the eyes of their picnicking heroes, such as Hunter S. Thompson, Mary Berry, and Snoop Dogg, the reader will be left with a broadened perception of what a picnic truly is.

Max’s Picnic Book: An ode to the art of picnicking, from the authors of Max’ Sandwich Book is available at and

The Big Max

The hardest thing here is the sauce, and that is a cinch, so you’re in for an easy ride.

Makes 1 massive burger

150 g (5 oz) minced (ground) beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 sesame seed burger bun
¼ onion, very finely chopped
¼ head iceberg lettuce, finely shredded
2 cheese slices (ideally American burger cheese)
1 large dill pickle, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce—makes enough for 4 burgers
100 g (4 oz/ 1/2 cup) mayonnaise (Hellmann’s is the daddy)
50 g (2oz/ 1/4 cup) Sweet Pickle Relish (If you can’t buy this, grate a big dill pickle and mix it with ½ a teaspoon of caster (superfine) sugar)
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons French’s mustard
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika (not smoked)

Start by combining all the sauce ingredients in a bowl and mixing well. Leave to one side while you make the burger.

Season the meat with salt and pepper and form into two balls of equal size. Heat the oil in a frying pan over a high heat. Place the patties in the pan and immediately smash them flat with the back of a spatula – be firm. Leave the patties to cook without moving them for 2 minutes each side, or until nice and dark and crispy.

Meanwhile, slice each burger bun into three sections. These are known in the trade as the heel (base), the club (middle) and the crown (top). Lightly toast the club on both sides and the heel and crown on the inside only.

To assemble the burgers, spread a little sauce over the heel and the club, then top with some chopped onion and lettuce. Lay the cheese slices on the heel and some pickles on the club, followed by a patty on each. Lift the club onto the heel, then top with the crown.

Admire your genius and take a big bite.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Hardie Grant Book. 

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