They may not be especially sophisticated, but a great burger is a simple, delicious, pleasure. That’s probably why burger chains can be found on almost every high street in the country. But what’s the best way to enjoy your burger?
Like many people this bank holiday weekend, I plan to throw a few burgers on my barbecue (as long as the weather gods continue to smile on us). But getting it right for your guests can be tricky.
You obviously need to use good quality meat but a great burger is about far more than that. In fact the accompaniments – and the bun – can be just as important and can transform a simple offering in to a true burger king.
In an attempt to uncover the perfect combination we roped in some expert help. We’d already assembled a crack squad of top butchers and chefs for a blind food tasting to discover the best premium burgers available in Britain’s supermarkets (find out which came top in our guide to the best beef burgers).
And so, between mouthfuls, we grilled our experts and asked them for their top tips for pimping up your burger.
To enjoy your burger to the max you need to eat it in a bun. All of our experts agreed that this must be soft, so that it can soak up all the juices – French bread is a definite no-no.
But while some of our panel preferred traditional rolls, others swore by brioches. However avoid any that are over sweet and cake-like.
Smoky bacon and oozing cheese are classics, much loved by our experts. Sharp goat’s cheese, brie and Stilton were popular for cutting through the beefy taste but, a touch surprisingly, all were fans of cheap, processed cheese slices.
Soft, hot onions and tangy gherkins complete the deal.
To contrast the soft roll and tender, juicy burger (and as a polite nod towards healthiness), you should also add in iceberg lettuce.
To make it extra crunchy, soak it in icy water for 15 minutes before patting it dry. All that’s left is to add your favourite condiments. Our experts were fans of Heinz Tomato Ketchup and French’s Yellow Mustard.
More leftfield options
Cheese, lettuce and bacon – as suggested by our panel – are all classic burger accompaniments. And indeed, a Zagat poll of America’s favourite burger toppings showed they were among the most popular (jalapeno peppers and raw onions were voted the least favourite).
But many people prefer less traditional toppings when assembling their dream burger. A restaurant in Liverpool serves a burger covered with peanut butter and chilli jam while closer to home, one of the Which? editors swears by her homemade topping made of garlic, anchovy and caper mayonnaise.
So what makes the best burger? Is cheese a pre-requisite? And what condiments are a must? Whether cooking your own or eating out, let us know how you enjoy your burgers in the comments below.
What extras make the perfect burger?
Cheese (25%, 249 Votes)
Onions (25%, 244 Votes)
Bacon (14%, 139 Votes)
Gherkins (12%, 118 Votes)
Lettuce (11%, 105 Votes)
Nothing – the meat speaks for itself (7%, 72 Votes)
Garlic, anchovy and caper mayonnaise (5%, 47 Votes)
Peanut butter and chilli jam (1%, 6 Votes)
Total Voters: 536