If my sampling of friends mimics anything close to an accurate representation of the population, then there are only two types of burger eaters out there. There are those who stay conservative and are partial to classic style burgers, typically accompanied with items like ketchup, mustard, pickles, lettuce and tomato. Sometimes the occasional bacon, BBQ sauce or breaded onion ring is allowed on the stack.
The remaining members of the crew like to flirt with unique toppings and flavor combinations. I proudly consider myself a member of the latter. In my opinion, the space between toasted sesame seed and wheat buns can be used to create works of art just like a blank canvas waiting for colorful oils. There are literally thousands of possibilities out there. Countless cheeses, chutnies, different sliced vegetables, spices, complimentary meats, breakfast items like fried eggs and condiments galore. Even side dishes are getting in on the act, like fries or cole slaw. A popular add-on for us West coasters is often basic, creamy slices of ripe avocado.
The expansion of flavors isn’t limited to just toppings either. A popular technique for the modern burger chef is to also mix custom blends of ground meats. Different cuts of beef add a uniqueness to the flavor profile and moistness of the burger. (For better insight, travel to Saveur for tips on custom burger blends.)
Don’t rule out other styles of meat or sources of patty substance to spice up your burger flavor either. I can vouch for the smiles that turkey, lamb, elk, and buffalo can generate when showcased as a burger. Even some more obscure selections have gotten my thumbs up in the past like the Duck, Duck Goose burger from Holsteins Las Vegas and the Beet Burger from [Next Door]. (featured in our August 31st posting, You Won’t Know Unless You Try It)
In honor of all the infinite goodness and burger pairings, I offer a portion of my own burger creations list. I keep a running list dedicated to random brainstormings of burger delight. Some of them have not yet been made, but if you get to any of the combinations before me, let me know how they turned out. And as a general rule of thumb, don’t forget the fries on the side. [Queue the shameless plug for an upcoming article about the classic combinaion of french fries and ketchup.]
Asian – Sesame & soy sautéed shitake mushrooms, spicy kaiware sprouts w/ wasabi aioli.
The Wakeup* – Canadian bacon, a fried egg, cheddar cheese and blackberry jam.
The Picnic – Potato salad, crumbled bacon, tomato and mustard.
Upside-down Peashoot* – Smoky cheddar cheese and tomato sprinkled with salt and pepper, capped with a bundle of pea shoots, whole grain mustard and a smidge of mayo.
Doctor’s Orders – Refried beans and beer battered jalapeños layered with a fried egg.
Stuffed Pepper – A ground beef patty stuffed with seasoned rice topped with grilled green pepper rings and a spicy tomato sauce.
Steak Dinner* – A quality sirloin burger layered with sautéed mushrooms and swiss, a dash of worcestershire sauce and a dollup of fluffy mashed potatoes.
*These burgers have already been sampled and enjoyed.
Do you have a unique burger that you have really enjoyed and endorsed, or one with toppings you wish was on a menu somewhere? Leave a note and share with us.