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ISO the definitive burger toppings, sides, etc?

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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.

TIA

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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
    Ketchup
    Mustard
    Lettuce
    Tomato
    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
      tomato
      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

                Forgot these:

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: MMRuth

                  Consider them forgotten. Instantly

                  1. re: Harters

                    MMR

                    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.

                    John

                    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:

                      http://find.myrecipes.com/recipes/rec...

                      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)

                        J

                        1. re: Harters

                          Could you grind your own?

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

                  4. re: Harters

                    It's a manufactured dairy product: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American.... 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

                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American...

                      "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
                        Mustard
                        Mayo
                        Dill stacker
                        Sweet pickle relish
                        Slice of red onion
                        Lettuce
                        Tomato
                        Sometimes cheddar

                        1. Blue cheese w/ sauteed mushrooms, maybe a slice of bacon

                          1. Swiss Cheese wtih grilled onions. Sometimes some barbecue sauce.

                            1. Cheddar melted onto the burger; toasted bun with mayo; sliced onion; lettuce; tomato; dill pickles and/or jalapeno peppers optional.

                              1. Toasted bun, seasame seeds preferred
                                Mustard (and only mustard)
                                Cheese (American or mild cheddar)
                                Lettuce
                                Tomato
                                Thin-sliced onion
                                Dill pickle chips

                                1. Instead of lettuce, we often use a plain cabbage leaf.

                                  1. Thanks for all the ideas. I see a pattern emerging.

                                    No-one mentions sides. Do you do sides with burgers?

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Harters

                                      Sure - coleslaw, potato chips, french fries (never made them myself), potato salad .....

                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                        Agreed on all counts, plus onion rings, baked beans, onion rings, dill pickle spears, macaroni sald, and did I mention onion rings?

                                      2. re: Harters

                                        oh, you bet. my current favorite hamburger side is sweet potato fries with a brown sugar and honey yogurt dip, but it's probably just because the taste is so novel. nothing wrong with a delicious shoestring french fry.

                                      3. Nobody with avocado?
                                        Cheddar or Monterey Jack (or both) with fried onions and avocado. On the side, grilled potato salad with chipotle vinaigrette.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: cheesymama

                                          i've become disenchanted with avocado on sandwiches. i love it in salads, but as much as i love that creamy texture, i find it tends to mush up a well constructed sandwich. but the taste is definitely a plus.

                                          1. re: beelzebozo

                                            Make an avocado spread:
                                            Mashed avocado, some minced or pressed garlic, some crushed bacon, and a very small amount of your favorite salad oil (or just a touch of bacon grease). Use instead of mayo, ketchup, etc.

                                        2. On a toasted bun/roll of your choice:
                                          shredded cabbage
                                          medium or hard fried egg
                                          crisp bacon
                                          thin sliced cucumber
                                          pepper jack, swiss, provolone, cheddar, or your favorite cheese
                                          fresh crisp kimchi

                                          1. burgers at our house are almost always served with a kick a$$ homemade salsa... Try this one (it is one of my favs and always gets compliments). I could eat buckets...

                                            http://www.foodtv.ca/recipes/recipede...

                                            1. I meant on the side, with tortilla chips, not on the burger itself... We like our burgers pretty plain at our house (but are best with my homemade super dilly pickles)!

                                              1. I can eat a hamburger just about any way it's fixed......but

                                                my absolute favorite:

                                                Thick slice of the best tomato you can find
                                                thick slices of bacon
                                                mayo.

                                                On the side..
                                                fries, sweet or regular
                                                baked beans
                                                corn on the cob
                                                cole slaw
                                                potato salad
                                                macaroni salad

                                                1. When I think of burger toppings, I think of:

                                                  cheddar cheese
                                                  mustard
                                                  ketchup
                                                  tomato
                                                  lettuce
                                                  onion
                                                  pickle

                                                  I personally like mine with cheddar cheese and ketchup though :)

                                                  1. OK, this is how it went.

                                                    The bun toasted. Bottom half “buttered” with mayo. Top half “buttered” with mustard. I used “French mustard”, as we call it here – dark brown Bordeaux mustard, not Dijon. Works better with beef, IMO.

                                                    Working upwards, some shreds of Cos lettuce on the mayo. Then the burger. Good flavour – don’t know if Dexter cattle are grown where you are but they’re a favourite smallholder’s beast here and often in farmers’ markets. Look out for it if it is available to you.

                                                    Then topped with onion, tomato and a slice of dill flavoured gherkin (German import).

                                                    As recommended, sides were coleslaw and chips. The chips from Tyrell – a small producer from Herefordshire who grows the spuds as well – small enough producer to add the potato variety to the bag – in this case “Lady Claire”. Most oddly, they call them “chips” not “crisps”. Also on the side a few “Pepperdew” (brand name) – sweet but hot small peppers about the size of a Scotch Bonnet (but nowhere near as hot).

                                                    My thanks for all the help. A great casual dinner eaten on the patio whilst Mrs H recounted details of her weekend in Tuscany. Envious? Who me?

                                                    John