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Grated Cheese on Burgers

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I'm curious about the tradition of serving burgers with grated, unmelted cheddar cheese on top. Just about every burger joint in the city does it this way. This may not be strictly a New Orleans phenomenon, but I have never seen it done anywhere else. If there's a story to be told about this practice, I'd love to hear it.

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  1. I was confused by that as well when I moved down here. I think the cheese is actually intended to melt, either under the broiler or from radiant heat from the patty when the bun is put on, but sometimes the places don't give it enough time or just put too much on. I definitely prefer my cheese melted, or at least semi-melted.

    1 Reply
    1. re: midcity

      it was new to me as well, but now i prefer the coolness of about an inch-thick layer of shredded cheddar on a port of call patty. i love the way my teeth slowly cut thru it, leaving marks in the defiant dairy... its a texture and contrast thing. i dont think POC would be as good with a melted piece of american instead.

    2. It is not unique to the city. At least one place I know elsewhere does them this way: Johnny's in Oklahoma City, a legendary burger joint up there. They grate the cheese on and it's almost never melted when you bite into it.

      I am a native New Orleanian and personally don't care for it, or for cheddar on my burgers at all. I prefer American in almost every case. Never been one for a rich-tasting burger.

      2 Replies
      1. re: HalfShell

        My preference is also American although, POC w/ cheddar is hard to beat. At home I like grilled onions, saga bleu, Boarshead horseradish sauce on either a toasted roll or Leidenheimers.

        1. re: JazzyB

          so when are you sparking that grill? I'll bring the Zin!

      2. how else are we going to make cheese fries unless we have some shredded cheddar that falls off the burger and lands on the fries???

        1 Reply
        1. re: edible complex

          Good point--cheese fries are way more ubiquitous here than in other cities' independent burger places, as far as I can tell.

        2. Pre-shredded foodservice cheddar, n'est-pas? It's already shredded when it arrives on the Sysco truck.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Hungry Celeste

            hey at least cheddar is real cheese -- not sure one can say the same about ultra-processed american "cheese product". dontcha ever wonder why it melts to easily... also from a truck.