How To Build A Better Burger

iStock_000010267448Small-200x300Burger restaurants are an unforgettable part of American culture. Whether it be the amazing local place that everyone rants and raves about, or the massive mega-chain that is known regional or nationwide, the hamburger is traditionally one general concept across the nation and the globe. Two buns and a beef hamburger patty in the middle is traditional… and rather plain. How can you make your hamburger stack up better against competitors?

Bake A Better Bun

The bun starts off pretty basic for most. This shouldn’t be the end-all, be-all of buns, though. Whole wheat is the standard upgrade, but you don’t even need to stop there. Add some sweetness akin to a King’s Hawaiian roll, or even go to a potato roll. If you want to stretch out, look at artisan or even alternatives, such as rice-based buns, lettuces, and tortillas. Redefine what the bun is.

Beef Up… or Down

It’s common knowledge that, for a beef burger, you want to go for a good ratio of meat to fat, usually averaging around 80/20. The fat adds flavors to the burger. Still, things can be mixed up, and a leaner burger is always a nice option to consider. Turkey can add some differing flavor, and veggie burgers have their place. There have been burgers made out of ground bacon, ground sausage, and even a few packed with cheese (either throughout the patty, or stuffed in the middle, ready to burst out), and jalapenos can go in as well.

Lettuce Isn’t The Only Green

Jalapenos, coleslaw, spinach, beets, peppers, even french fries; there are dozens of other produce items that can go on top of a burger, and they all stand out more than traditional lettuce. Lettuce just usually adds a cold crisp to a burger, but coleslaw adds some flavor to the crisp, jalapenos add some heat to the crisp, and french fries add some salt and grease to the crisp. Don’t worry about healthy, worry purely about flavor.

Switch The Sauce

Yellow mustard, tomato ketchup, traditional mayonnaise: kinda bland, right? McDonalds’ Special Sauce is largely Thousand Island dressing, wasabi mayonnaise adds a little bit of heat, and a blue cheese dressing could always add a little soothing nature to an otherwise-hot burger. Swapping up the sauces definitely changes the flavor, as most sauces end up coating all the ingredients outside of, or more accurately, inside of the bun. You may have never thought about peanut butter on a hamburger, but give it a shot.

Cook It Cooking

A simple change such as how you cook the patty can make all the difference. Some people have breaded and fried their burgers. Most grill or griddle, some steam, and the big movers and shakers across the nation smash. How do you smash a burger? Make a regular burger patty and toss it on a hot, hot, hot grill. In the first thirty seconds, smash the burger down with a tough spatula. The juices help build a crust on the burger, and spread it out to cook quicker. One smash is all you need.

Change The Cheese

A slice of yellow American is always nice, but go for a strong cheddar, a decidedly different blue cheese, or even a nice and melty queso. Cheese doesn’t need to be basic and boring a for a burger, and many simple changes to selection can drastically swap up a burger.

Bacon: The Other, Other, Other White Meat

Not everyone is content when it comes to the standard beef burger. Traditionally, bacon has been the standard add on, with the bacon cheeseburger almost becoming the national version of the hamburger of choice. Go for a variation on surf and turf by offering grilled shrimp on top, make it a little more breakfast friendly with eggs and/or ham, or even a roast beef slice for a different topping.

Burgers don’t have to be boring. Because so many condiments and toppings taste great on a burger it’s easy to customize them. There’s a reason why you see so many burger joints popping up around the country, they’re fast and easy to make. Try these suggestions at home for a more interesting burger.