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Jun 4, 2008 02:42 PM

ISO the definitive burger toppings, sides, etc?

OK. I have my meat - organic Dexter beef bought at the farmers market. I have my bread - organic from the supermarket.

What toppings do you suggest to make *the* definitive best-ever world-class burger? And what on the side?

If possible (but only if possible), please stick to generic items as a particular brand available where you are may not be sold where I am.


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  1. OK, you asked for it. Get ready for the onslaught of replies!

    For me, the perfect burger and toppings include:

    Cheddar Cheese
    all served on a toasted bun.

    and if there is room....some fried onions!

    1. Home made mayo/aioli
      red onion
      cheddar or muenster cheese
      pickle (good pickles sliced)
      home made beer batter onion rings on the side

      1. my favorites, mostly culled from tyler florence:

        - caramelized onions with anchovy paste
        - slice of heirloom tomato
        - bacon
        - arugula
        - two burger sliced dill pickles
        - two slices of american cheese
        - basil lemon aoli
        - bun toasted with butter

        . . . just talking about it is starving me

        1. Lightly buttered bun, toasted around the edges (on a flat top griddle or iron skillet, or something similar) (like at In N Out burger).
          Lettuce, tomato, very thinly sliced onion - red or white or yellow
          American cheese slice (the actual American cheese from the deli at a grocery store or other deli, not prewrapped stuff).

          That's it.

          19 Replies
          1. re: ccbweb

            You're going to have to help me out here. I'm not an American and don't know what "American cheese" is - presumably it's a specific type.

            Could you please try and describe it and I'll see what substitute I can think of that might work the same. Cheddar, I understand, of course.

            1. re: Harters

              I'd use some kind of cheddar myself - and, other than those prewrapped slices, I'm not sure what American cheese is either.

              My favorite burger though is a pork/bacon/chorizo burger, with a slice of aged manchego, romesco sauce, aioli and arugula on a brioche bun. Out of this world..

                1. re: MMRuth

                  Consider them forgotten. Instantly

                  1. re: Harters


                    Deepest and sincere apologies for my post. I had misread yours as "forget these", not "forgot these" - as in you were giving an example of what not to do. I should have realised you wouldnt do that - I shall now go and stand in the naughty corner until you tell me I am forgiven.


                    1. re: Harters

                      You are forgiven - I thought it was just an odd joke that I didn't understand - chalked it up to wry British humor!

                      Here's a link to the recipe, by the way:


                      It's from Suzanne Goin's Sunday Suppers at Lucques - a terrific cookbook that was COTM last year and is still one of my favorites.

                      1. re: MMRuth

                        Phew! I'm relieved.

                        Recipe looks fab - thanks. My organic supplier does minced beef & lamb but not pork - must look out for some elsewhere (I won't touch our supermarket pork)


                  2. re: MMRuth

                    Dang MMRuth!! How am I going to go back to my regular burgers now... You do eat well...

                    I also like adding those sliced banana pepper pickles to my burger for a spicy kick.

                  3. re: MMRuth

                    Ooohhh, that sounds so good.

                    I generally have my burgers plain with some ketchup, red onion and tomato. But if I were to load it up, I would do:

                    brioche bun
                    oven-roasted tomato
                    caramelized onions
                    grilled portobello mushroom
                    cheddar cheese
                    sunnyside up fried egg

                  4. re: Harters

                    It's a manufactured dairy product: Which came as a surprise to me; based on mouthfeel, I had always assumed it was a petroleum byproduct.

                    IMHO, a great burger starts and ends with great meat and bread. Complementary ingredients should be added carefully, avoiding anything that might upstage, overwhelm, or distract from the main event. Salt, pepper, and a little homemade mayonnaise--you really don't need more than that.

                    1. re: Harters


                      "American cheese is a common processed cheese. It is orange, yellow, or white in color and mild in flavor, with a medium-firm consistency, and melts easily. It has traditionally been made from a blend of cheeses, most often Colby and Cheddar. Today's American cheese is generally no longer made from a blend of all-natural cheeses, but instead is a processed cheese (i.e. it is manufactured from a set of ingredients such as milk, whey, milkfat, milk protein concentrate, whey protein concentrate, salt) which meets the legal definition of cheese."

                      1. re: beelzebozo

                        Thanks, beelzebozo, that's the stuff I wrote about. At some deli counters you can still get the actual stuff that is, in fact, cheese. In its absence, I'd go with a mild cheddar or even a mild muenster cheese slice.

                      2. re: Harters

                        Thanks to both for the Wiki links. As far as I tell, our "processed cheese" would seem the likely substitute. Er - thanks but no thanks. I'll pass on authenticity and go for a Red Leicester which will have good taste and will be along the right texture lines.

                        1. re: Harters

                          I wanted to clarify, in my own defense here: I'm definitely not advocating "processed cheese." I don't think the term "authentic" could be applied to it with a straight face no matter the context.

                          I'd do what you're doing; seek the texture coupled with a mild flavor that plays well with others. Can't wait to hear what your results are!

                        2. re: Harters

                          American cheese is (are) processed cheese slices.. yes? Individuallly wrapped. The kind you most often get on take-out burgers.

                          1. re: beggsy

                            No. The individually wrapped slices (which are legally required to be called "cheese food," not "cheese") are made largely with vegetable oil. American cheese is in fact a dairy product.

                            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                              No, in the U.S. something with "cheese" in the name is not "made largely with vegetable oil." Perhaps you're thinking of margerine.

                              1. re: mpalmer6c

                                whatever it's made from, i think it gets a lot of undeserved hate.

                      3. Toasted soft sourdough bun
                        Dill stacker
                        Sweet pickle relish
                        Slice of red onion
                        Sometimes cheddar