I like burgers. I keep eating burgers that are better than the ones I ate yesterday and likely not as good as the ones I will eat tomorrow.
I think we've got enough. ;)
1) Potato bun (like shake shack/black market)
2) No fancy shit. Lettuce, Tomato, Pickle, Onions (optional), Ketchup, Mayo/Mustard (optional)
3) American cheese (or some mild cheddar, if you prefer)
People pile on shit like blue cheese, grilled onions, etc. just overpower the flavor.
There's also the golden Meat-to-bun ratio. Places like Corner Bistro mess up their burgers by giving you a baseball sized beef ball on a bun. That's not good. Other places give you tiny slivers of beer (like in-n-out) so you have to double up to fix the ratio.
Black Market in the east village of NYC and Shake Shack are the perfect burger to me.
Been to a lot of places that try using fancy buns ("Multi-grain or brioche?" is a questioned I often get from the waiter/ress)
Give me a fresh, plain bun. I'll agree on Potato buns. They're just the right mix of soft, but able to hold together when meat juices are flowing. Slather a bit of special sauce (assuming the place has one, or put a bit of ketchup on yourself). Throw lettuce (Has to be the floppy part. The hard bit, or the spine included isn't enjoyable I think.) and some tomatoes. Oh! And cheese. Cheddar or American.
Petey's Burger in Queens, NY is probably my favorite right now. Five Guys second.
Don't tempt Geoff! I have a leftover sandwich sitting in the fridge at work for lunch tomorrow but burger-god knows I'll run down there during my lunch break if I take yours as well as these other Zagat reviewers recommendations into consideration.
I'm definitely going to try it though. Hopefully soon. Thanks.
It's all in the meat. It has to be moist, buttery, salty, and juicy in the center. It has to be firm to hold its texture on the outside, but pink and hot on the inside.
These are my favorite burgers by city:
New York (Market Table)
Los Angeles (Father's Office)
Boston (Craigie's on Main)
San Francisco (Spruce)
From a DIY perspective:
A good burger ... most of the battle is in the grade of beef used, seasoning (liberally season the beef before forming patties, don't just sprinkle on top), the quality the addons (crisp lettuce, firm tomatoes) and a little flare of some sort to set it apart ( a special sauce, hot peppers, or something else )
Cook that on a hot grill (if you have one) and put it in a bun that won't get soggy/fall apart, but it not dry as sand and you are good to go. For extra points, put a little butter on the bun and lightly toast it.
The best burger goes well beyond the best ingredients and the best presentation. It's as personal as a first kiss. The best burger for me has been, and will always be the Zipburger in Mt. Lookout Square in Cincinnati Ohio. You can find them here zipscafe.com. The first Zipburger I had was at a local TV commercial shoot. The commercial starred and the burger were bought for us by none other than Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds. It was a big day for me at 11.
I'd agree with @dannygarcia: it seems that the modern burger has become an American sandwich of sorts.
Perhaps one of the best burgers I've enjoyed was at Lot 2 Restaurant in the South Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn. They were written up on Serious Eats a few months ago, and they've been doing a weekly Wednesday burger night. It's got a ethereal quality to it, the way that the juices and meat come together, being that its a pan-cooked burger and doesn't siphon off much to a grill's flame.
Have to agree with @biketobrew, Byron is a great option in London - great quality meat, not overcooked (mercifully!) and simple combinations of flavours in the garnish and cheese options.
Overly complicated burgers are either disappointing in taste combination or simple structural integrity!!
Definitely want to try one of Hawksmoor's soon though... heard great things
Employ the KISS method - keep it simple stupid! Adding anything "revolutionary" never works, it's never better than the simple mix of beef, cheese, garnish & sauce.
Find the best NON-LEAN beef you can get your hands on (no need for breadcrumbs), cook until rare on the hottest grill possible to get that charred, caramelised crust on the outside, lightly toast then butter the bun, add fried onion, patty on top, then add good quality blue cheese, a handful of peppery lettuce, a slice of sweet tomato, and a spoonful of relish. Done.
Proportions are important too - too much of one element ruins the structure and the taste. A patty thicker than an inch is excessive, too much cheese makes it sickly, too much bread feels cheap.
It's an art form!
In chicago you can go to the restaurant called "Graham Elliot". There is a good hamburger: Grahamwich. But think that one the best chain of hamburger fast food restaurants in the world is called "El Corral" --> elcorral.com My 2 favorite: 1. CORRALÍSIMA TODOTERRENO 2. CORRAL COSTEÑA
I have to agree with @cdewitt about American. There is a high end food truck here called the Seattle Skillet and they serve a fancy burger (Arugula and Bacon Jam) but they also have, "The Basic" and it has a slice of american with iceberg and some kinda sauce I can't recall and it's really up there on the good scale.
Not sure if I'm the only Canadian on here, but if anyone is ever in Vancouver you've got to stop in at The Oakwood. Consistently delivers the best burgers in town. If you've never had it, throw some alfalfa sprouts on a burger... Intense.
One of the UK's most decorated chefs, Heston Blumenthal, is a big fan of Malliard reactions.
Malliard reactions, named after the biochemist who first described them, happen when protein rich food (e.g. burgers) are exposed to extreme heat. The amino acids react with sugars to produce interesting flavours... examples of this process include orange-ish bacon 'dust' or golden brown steak.
Searing a burger in a really hot pan, BBQ or grill then cooking slowly in a cool oven (until the core temperature reaches around 70ºC) will produce a super tasty burger that is still moist and juicy inside. (This technique also works on steak)
Sounds fancy, and i love foie gras... but i think that would only mask the beefiness of a good patty. To me a burger is about enjoying a juicy piece of beef covered in melted cheese and a few delicious toppings.
The one thing i can not stand on a burger though is any egg other than quail eggs. A chicken egg is way too much and i find it gross on burgers.
I think we've got enough. ;)
Thanks for your feedback! Team Branch