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  • Writer's picturehungryhungryhayden

Burger Blog

Every food blogger at some point in their career will try to take on the behemoth that is the burger. They all claim theirs is the best or they do something to make it special (whether it's because their husband swears by lean beef, or grandpappy added egg and bread crumbs as a binder). However, beauty is in the eye of the burger holder. Instead of dictating the recipe of my version of what I think the perfect burger should be, the goal is to arm one with the techniques and a little philosophy to make your perfect burger. Over the next couple weeks, I’ll post a few burger cooking techniques, but, first, before that, here's the philosophy behind building burger bliss, starting with the components to build a burger with the beatitudes to help attain burger bliss sprinkled throughout.


Integument- A sandwich is only as good as its delivery medium, and a good integument allows one to deliver the burger to your mouth intact with all the layers of flavor in place. A good integument is the difference between a good eating experience and a hot mess. The possibilities are endless and frankly there is no limit as long as whatever is chosen is sturdy enough to transport food to the mouth hole. Outside of the tried and true classic bun, some good choices are toasted white bread, lettuce wraps, pretzel rolls. They even get as wild as glazed donuts, grilled cheese sandwiches, and french toast.

Toppings- if the choices for delivery mediums for a burger are limitless, toppings are infinite. The one thing to keep in mind while choosing toppings is balance. For instance, a larger patty (>1/3lb) typically needs something to cut the richness like fresh greens and tomato. Whereas smaller patties (<1/3lb) typically benefit from something that compliments and accentuates the burger flavor, like raw onion.

Cheese- Not only does cheese contribute flavor, but it also adds a nice texture element and sometimes even supplies just a little extra structural integrity. Typically any soft, semi soft, or semi hard cheese is a good choice because of their melting ability, but don’t feel constrained by meltability. Although hard cheeses may not aid in holding the burger together, they can still add flavors and textural elements that can’t be achieved any other way.

Condiments-Some may consider these a topping, however with these viscous toppings, there is one caveat: Do not. I repeat, do not add too many condiments. The perceived flavor addition is not worth a burger-craft masterpiece sliding out the rear end of the delivery medium. Limit it to 2 or 3 condiments. Less is more and sometimes the restraint actually elevates the product.

Meat- the piece de resistance of the humble burger, this is the ingredient that dictates everything else above. There are two non negotiables I have when deciding whether or not to even make a burger. The first is lean to fat ratio. If the ground beef isn’t between 70% and 85% lean, make something else. The second is the most controversial: internal temperature. If I had control over every part of the trimming and grinding of the beef, I’ll cook it to medium, maybe medium rare. Rare does not adequately melt the fat in the burger and actually ends up being more chewy. However, if I did not have control over any single point of the trimming and grinding process, I always cook to medium well or well because ground beef has a lot of surface area and every bit of that surface area has had the opportunity to become contaminated. After These two criteria are met, there is room for creativity, but guided creativity. Grind size and quality are the two variables that dictate patty size and cooking technique.

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