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...
I'm in NYC where home cooks and professionals alike pay chemist-like attention to the proper ratios of artisanal brisket, sirloin and chuck in their mince. The proper patty should be lightly formed with significant exterior char and a perfect medium-rare rosiness throughout. Atop a toasted potato roll, these burgers are perfection.
Proper seasoning is a definite necessity, but what that means beyond salt is variable. The same applies to toppings (for the record, I am a lover of the Aussie burger, or at the very least, the bacon cheeseburger). You'll find, though, that New Yorkers from Laurent Tourendel to the short order cooks at Shake Shack are uniformly serious about their meat and bread.
I've lived all over, but I've been in NYC for a decade.
The Classic American Cheese Burger to me is
lightly toasted white bun with sesame seeds
Ground Chuck or Ground Chuck and Ground Sirloin mixed - hand made
Tillamook Cheddar Cheese melted on top
Mayo and Mustard
Onion - Raw
However for a Mushroom Swiss Burger I think the only things that should be on the bun is the hamburger swiss and piled high with mushrooms and caramelized onions.
There are two 'beets' - one is beetroot, red, eaten by people, the other is sugarbeet, white, eaten by stock or made into sugar.
To me 'beets' are the stockfood, and beetroot is the tasty red thing.
Sugarbeet isn't that great for people - like a crisp, wet, bland turnip. But cows love them, and sliced thinly they make an OK alfresco snack in the paddock, I guess.
The beauty of a Kiwiburger, with its slab of sliced beet
transcends all consideration of the treatment of meat.
The beet beats the hell out of winter tomatoes,
but, smoothed-surfaced, it's subject to slide.
But that leads to largess
of more shredded lettuce
for slabular friction,
So that first bite don't make the thing glide.
But since lettuce was shredded
giving all those crevasses
and pockets just teasing
there's room for more mayo, besides.
I am so glad to see
that both Aussies and Kiwis
can find some congruency
in their choice of their beet loaded burger.
Ditto on the Texas burger, but also, for New Mexico add fire roasted Hatch green chilies. I can get them here in TX and boy they are fabu! Most of the major chains in NM will add green chilies to your burger on demand.
A really great beef burger with plenty of salt, pepper, just shy of medium rare dripping and juicy on a soft warm bun, all by itself is pure heaven.
Ok, now I'm drooling on my keyboard.
Bun, patty and cheese. The type of bun, ratio and % of beef cuts and the type of cheese all depend on one another. The perfect food doesn't need many extras, because the basic elements will be enough.
Another Aussie here! It's got to be a good, fat homemade patty and done crispy on the outside and a bit rare and juicy on the inside. Caramalised onions, crispy bacon and runny egg are not negotiable. I don't eat tomato and I can take or leave the beetroot (OMG I think I just lost my Australian citizenship!), but I like a bit of lettuce (makes it healthy in my mind) and a bit of melty cheese is perfectly acceptable. I like my bun to be toasted and I think a combination of bbq and tomato sauce is a good thing - even though I wouldn't ordinarily touch either.
lightly toasted english muffin,
pickles and mustard to cut the dark fog.
The burger to bun ratio is crucial for me. A thick bun is a meal-breaker. It should be a light bun and a thick burger. And the best bun is a brioche bun. Medium rare, freshly ground blend, salt & pepper, raw onion, crisp lettuce, ketchup, mustard AND mayo... Hellmans mayo.
I did have a non-traditional burger recently that I dismissed at first because the list of toppings seemed ridiculous to me. My husband ordered it and I tried it and enjoyed it. It was called a Ding Dong Burger and it was a flat-top fried burger on a brioche bun with chunky peanut butter, Asian slaw and sriracha. Surprisingly good stuff.
Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onion, on a sesame seed bun. Couldn't help myself! And now you all know that I'm a 70s child :-)
About 7 ounces of freshly ground Neck and Skirt molded into a thick patty. Griddled on the flattop or in a frying pan until rare. Served on a toasted kaiser roll with salt, pepper, leaf lettuce and accompanyied by a 1/2 sour pickle spear.
Another Aussie here (Victoria). Thinnish beef patty, cheese, caramelised onion, bacon, runny egg, beetroot, tomato and lettuce with tomato sauce for me please!! My local hamburger joint (Andrews in South Melbourne for Melbourne locals) mixes raw cabbage with the lettuce for extra crispiness - delicious!
I am probably going to scandalize everyone here, but I am eating low carb now, and my fave is the Hardee's Low Carb burger. There is some good meat in that thing. No mayo, never ketchup, but cheese, pickle, mustard, tomato and lettuce wrap. I also realize this is not a regional specialty. But I have no idea what a regional hamburger would be for my region. I just know what I like. If I was to make one for myself I'd make it like the Hardees.