There is a handful of need-to-know, non-negotiable life skills—like jump-starting a car or building a fire. But we’d like to append that list with another — well, two — essentials: assembling and ordering the perfect burger. Though seemingly straightforward, it’s an underrated, nuanced skill that has the potential to make or break your dinner. And once you master it, it’s smooth sailing from there.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a lot of debate surrounding these skillsets. Some swear by a slather of spicy sauce while others champion the fried egg. Lucky for us, the Internet has delved into this topic before and we’re in the midst of the Battle of the Burger Presented by Budweiser® voting competition (click here for more info!), which provides a trove of awesome examples. With both of these things in mind, we conducted an Internet research deep dive, distilling all of the very best tips and tricks for the perfect burger. Here, a compendium of the most salient advice:
Tom Hirschfeld of Food52 touts the importance of the burger quality. His advice: choose ground beef less than 22% fat, grind your own meat and sleuth out your favorite cut (perfect when ordering out!).
In “How to Build a Better Burger,” The Kitchn’s Sarah Rae Smith wrote about the physical order of ingredients necessary to build the most structurally sound and flavorful burger. Her verdict (from bottom): bun, mustard/ketchup, pickles, patty, cheese, tomato, lettuce, onion, mayo and bun. Some might disagree about this exact construction (some of the Battle of the Burger™ entries differ!), but as long as your burger remains stacked and delicious, anything goes.
Any burger enthusiast knows toppings are key. In this infographic, Thrillist provides some stellar recommendations, but you can discover even more remarkable options by perusing the Battle of the Burger™ entries.
Though often an afterthought, the right bun can have transformative powers for a burger. This The Daily Meal slideshow breaks down all of the varieties — from pretzel to potato — and what makes each of them great.
At the end of the day, here’s what most of the pros agree on: high-quality meat, melt-y cheese-to-meat contact, crunchy veggies and a crisp, sturdy bun to discourage sogginess. Now, go commit all of this to memory and test out your newfound burger-ordering-prowess at any of these Battle of the Burger™ participating bars and restaurants.
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