Between the Buns

Today's blog is inspired by Frank Bruni and his Diner's Journal. Burgers. They are this season's grilled chicken caesar, must be on every menu. I get angry when a good restaurant doesn't offer a burger at least on their bar menu. Sullivan's, the smaller very upscale steakhouse chain does offer a great one on their bar menu. I have been lobbying Ruth's Chris to add one to no avail. We were successful in getting Victory beer in there.

But given my desire for their omnipresence, are they simply an adult version of chicken fingers? Picky eater can't be adventurous, have a burger. While I'd argue my consumption is more on a connoisseur basis - for many they are not.

Last night we dined at a family restaurant that offers burgers, ribs, chicken fingers and more sophisticated entrees like crab pasta and salmon Oscar. They even had combo platters to pair ribs and chicken fingers. Their chicken fingers were done nicely, with a crisp batter as opposed to bland breading - but they are still chicken fingers. The burgers there are also of good quality, any time you get to select a temperature (mid rare for me) is a good sign and when they back it up by cooking it to the specified temperature I'm even more impressed.

There are message boards devoted to the topic of burgers. What are the best toppings? Best way to cook them? I submit that the notion is similar to that of pizza. Many children will eat any pizza. Many adults seek out the artisanal, brick oven pizza while some are content with Domino's. Lets hope those unadventurous bland burger people stay in the bad chain places.

Notes on a Burger

Now to the nitty gritty. My "Burger Bible" of sorts complete with commandments.

While I applaud attempted innovations at using various meats, a burger should be beef exclusively. Ground turkey and tuna patties can turn into an enjoyable sandwich, but it's not a burger.

Alternate toppings are a nice touch as long as they don't overpower the intended flavor of the burger: nicely browned beef. Pineapple and teriyaki are nice sweet options - blue cheese and caramelized onions are my favorite. Lettuce and tomatoes should not be added when you have alternate toppings like these.

The size of the burger should be equal to the circumference of the bun, and about 1/2 inch thick. Trying to pack 3/4 LB of beef onto one bun is just uncalled for.

1. Thou shalt use well marbled high fat content beef.

2. Thou shalt season highly.

3. Thou shan't press the burger with the spatula at any point during cooking.

4. Flip only once.

5. Do not overcook! (an unforgivable curse - oops wrong religion!)

6. Let the burger rest before placing it on a bun to avoid SoggyBunBottom, a condition with many known side effects.

7. If applying cheese do so on the heat source. Cold cheese on a hot burger is just silly.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tips on how to properly cook a burger. Next time you are down, we shall have to do some grilling for lunch.

HungryChic said...

You are the biggest fan of the slider aka mini burger that I know. That way you can enjoy burgers of various topping combos in the same sitting. These burgers are most prone to overcooking so take extra care.