Having just watched Hester Blumenthal creating his 'perfect' hamburger, arguments have broken out all over our house.
Here in South Australia, the classic 'burger with the lot' - from a burger bar or made at home - includes bun, patty, onion (caramelised and/or raw - each brings their own element and has it's own supporters) cheese, tomato, pickled beetroot and lettuce, all soused in tomato sauce (ketchup).
Popular additions include egg and pineapple. Mayo, pickles and bacon are also available, but less popular.
The essential salad element after the tomato and lettuce is beetroot - Hungry Jacks (the local franchise of Burger King) has caved to local tastes, and even Maccas (McDonalds) has periodic specials featuring beetroot.
So what constitutes the 'perfect' burger in your part of the world?
I'm in Toronto.
Done on a flat top (or cast iron skillet at home) to get a nice crust it has cheese (sliced processed), bacon, onion (raw) pickles, ketchup and mustard. I add mayo sometimes too.
The meat itself is fresh ground and simply formed. Seasoned with steak seasoning prior to hitting the heat.
Speaking only for my personal small part of the world....
A Good Quality Bun....lightly buttered and toasted...
Ground Chuck...Hand formed, and grilled over wood coals or charcoal....
A Touch of Yellow Mustard....
A nice slice of Home Grown Tomato....
A cold slice of Vidalia Onion....
A couple of slices of Dill Pickle....
A small amount of lettuce....Romain is nice.
I remember those burgers with beets on top! :-D
My perfect burger is either lettuce/tomato/ketchup or bacon, mushrooms, cheese, sauteed onions, and ketchup. Pickles on the side. If I'm feeling brave, I like it rare.
If it's all about the meat - a large, fat guy from a purveyor known for good cow, or a flat-grilled burger with dazzlingly crisp edges, for instance - then it really IS all about the meat, and a smear of mustard, maybe a little raw onion but probably not. But if the meat is just another ingredient and I want to go whole hog (or cow, I guess), then mustard/raw onion/lettuce/tomato/mayo. Here in St. Louis one almost never sees mayo as a burger condiment; I picked it up when I went to school in western Massachusetts.
A "Classic Texas Burger" will be a fresh patty on a soft white or toasted bun, with lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, cheese and mustard.
Never, (EVER) ketchup, (or catsup either!).
If you like, you may add pickled jalapeno slices.
I personally like mine with mayo, and blue cheese.
No wait, with avocado and shredded cheddar.
Uhmmm, Bacon and a fried egg....
Yeah, I'll get back to you...