HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Do you cut your burger in half?

I don't.

I find it almost wrong to do so, no matter how big the burger. Not wrong as in morally or ethically questionable. But it's just not the way the universe should be. Burgers should be eaten as one singular component -- two-fisted if need be.

Do you ever cut your burger in half?

Related question. What about (gasp!) a hot dog? Every cut a hot dog (in a bun) in half before eating?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If I cook it at home, I always cut it in half....want to make sure it is done properly and it is so much easier to handle. When I'm out, well now that I think of it I rarely if ever eat a burger out. Hot dogs at their best are cut in half nose to tail and fried for more crispy goodness.

    1. Only if it is too messy to eat whole -and I am eating in front of others.
      Hot dogs...never. That would just be wrong ;)

      5 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        There is just no reason to cut a hot dog in half.
        I would only cut a hamburger in half if that made it neater and easier to eat.

        1. re: sedimental


          And I do have to admit that I sometimes eat Chili Dogs with a knife & fork as they sometimes fall apart on me if I've added too much "stuff".

          1. re: Bacardi1

            I love a chili dog so sloppy that it is near impossible to pick up to bite.

            1. re: kengk

              So do I. But I also don't like missing the parts that end up running down my arms, thus the knife & fork - lol!!

            2. re: Bacardi1

              I always use a knife and fork with chili dogs.

          2. If I'm out, I like hot dogs that have been split in half and then nearly burnt on a commercial griddle. Top those dogs with some chili and onions and we're good to go.

              1. Occasionally a restaurant burger will, by nature of some assembly issues, seem to need cutting in half.

                Normally, I don't cut them.

                I'm not on board with this trend of gigantic burgers. If I want to eat that much I would greatly prefer multiple, smaller, burgers.

                1. Hamburgers: never. I always thought it was a restaurant thing, but from escondido's comment I guess I was wrong.

                  Hot dogs: are you kidding? Why would anybody do that? Even restaurants that cut up their steaks for you, serve their sausages whole.

                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                          Funny. It's exactly the opposite @casa lingua. For some reason, my man's burgers just start falling apart while he eats them.... me? I'm a freaking burger purfeshnel. Nothing drops. Ever.

                          1. re: linguafood

                            Perhaps it's a man thing. Whenever I eat a burger, half of it ends up on the front of my shirt.

                            That said, I always seem to order whatever is the BIG burger. Always too big. Far too big.

                            1. re: linguafood

                              My wife--God love her--she can eat a grain of rice and still wind up with a big, ole spot on her blouse. :)

                              1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                your wife and I must be twins separated at birth. the other day i ended up spilling some milk shake on my shirt while drinking it from a straw out of a cup with a tight fitting lid. my friends were duly impressed by my skill.

                                as for my burgers i much prefer not to cut, but occasionally the burger is just too awkward to eat and enjoy. I know either way I'm gonna spill something all over myself, but i also want to enjoy my burger. burgers from 'the counter' are notorious for this. I've tried eating them whole, its just not worth the effort.

                                as others have said above and below, the only time a knife or fork should approach a hot dog (for anyone over 4 years old) is when it is a chili dog or similar creation. it is acceptable to slice up hot dogs to put in pork and beans, but they should be browned after slicing.

                                now that video clip (too lazy to look for it now) that showed the spiral sliced hot dog had some appeal no doubt spawned by years of browsing popular mechanics when i was a child.

                                1. re: KaimukiMan

                                  We tried the spiral hotdog the other day. It was fantastic.

                          2. No. Thirds, 120 degrees each.

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: Veggo

                              Next time you do that, can you record it on your phone and post it on Youtube?

                              I'm curious how that's done sans protractor.

                              Veggo: Mathematics Savant and Chowhound Extraordinaire!

                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                No protractor needed. It's the inate skill some of us have.

                                My own specialism is the absolute accuracy with which I can take off one third of a British pork pie (for her), leaving two thirds (for self).

                                1. re: ipsedixit

                                  More accurately, obtuse at both.

                                  1. re: ipsedixit

                                    Ipsedixit, what Veggo didn't tell us is that his cutting "perfection" comes from
                                    having looked at his hood ornament all these years.

                                    1. re: Cheese Boy

                                      Good thing he doesn't drive a '57 Chevy.

                                      1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                        Can you imagine the burger pieces Veggo would have if he drove one of these?

                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          A Veggo burger could work as installation art at the Guggenheim.

                                            1. re: Veggo

                                              A Mack fan and a Bing man. Good deal.

                                2. Almost always, after letting it sit for a few minutes to let the juices rest. Almost all burgers (except the cheap dollar menu ones) are entirely too big to fit into my mouth - I need a 'starting corner'.

                                  16 Replies
                                    1. re: JerryMe

                                      I agree too, with the "starting corner" I also cut my sandwiches and toast diagonally for the same reason.

                                      1. re: JerryMe

                                        yes! starting corner, that's exactly what it is. :) Although there's actually only 1 place where I get burgers that I need to cut in 1/2.

                                        1. re: JerryMe

                                          the real question for those needing a corner to start, do you cut the bun across or on the diagonal?

                                            1. re: KaimukiMan

                                              If it's a round bun, it doesn't matter.

                                              1. re: BabsW

                                                I think that was the point. ;)

                                                1. re: wyogal

                                                  You never know. Some places serve *gasp* square burgers on square bread! lol

                                                  1. re: BabsW

                                                    Or burgers shaped like a large Valentine's Day heart.

                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                      I've never had one of those. lol

                                                      1. re: BabsW

                                                        Oh and we tint the mayo spread pinkish red and place a wrapped red & white candy peppermint on the plate. It was a big seller.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          I bet! If it were big, I'd still have to cut it in half, though. ;-)

                                              2. re: KaimukiMan

                                                I make a secant cut such that the arc length of the bun is Pi x Radius.

                                                1. re: dave_c

                                                  for those who have no idea what he said (from wikipedia)

                                                  A secant line of a curve is a line that (locally) intersects two points on the curve. The word secant comes from the Latin secare, to cut.
                                                  It can be used to approximate the tangent to a curve, at some point P. If the secant to a curve is defined by two points, P and Q, with P fixed and Q variable, as Q approaches P along the curve, the direction of the secant approaches that of the tangent at P, (assuming that the first-derivative of the curve is continuous at point P so that there is only one tangent). As a consequence, one could say that the limit as Q approaches P of the secant's slope, or direction, is that of the tangent. In calculus, this idea is the basis of the geometric definition of the derivative. A chord is the portion of a secant that lies within the curve.
                                                  A secant line on a map is a line where the projection is without distortion.

                                                  yeah, ok, i still don't completely understand. but i love dave's response.

                                            2. Burgers, never. And I hold it against a place if their burgers self destruct in your hands. Hot dogs, occasionally, at home, we'll each have one and a half, but only if there's also a new bag of Cape Cod 40% potato chips on the side.

                                              1. Hamburger yes, sometimes in quarters even. I have a small mouth and it's a habit left over from childhood. Sometimes it's messier than leaving it whole, but I do it anyway. Hotdog, no--though if it's a huge bun I may dig the middle out of it to improve the meat/bread ratio.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: Jeri L

                                                  Tatiana Romanova: "My mouth, I think it's too big."

                                                  James Bond: "No it's not. It's just the right size...for me."

                                                  1. re: Jeri L

                                                    me too...not a small mouth... but I cut mine in quarters too.

                                                  2. Experience has taught me that cutting a burger in half only makes it twice as messy to eat. Who needs that? And cut a hot dog in half? Are you nuts? '-)

                                                    1. The worst offense is a restaurant cutting a burger for me.

                                                      Two offenders: Park Tavern in San Francisco, and Freeman's in New York. Freeman's also buttered an order of toast served to our table, with globs of butter.

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: sugartoof

                                                        Yes, that annoys me to no end.

                                                        The worst is not only when they halve my burger, but then serve it with a big steak knife. Uh, what's the point?

                                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                                          nor am i fond of having the steak knife sticking up out of the (uncut) burger like excalibur before the arthurian extraction.

                                                          "Whosoever pulleth out this knife of this burger is rightwise King born of all Burgerdom."

                                                          1. re: KaimukiMan

                                                            "A watery tart lobbin' scimitars about is no rational basis for a government!"

                                                            Not really related to much, but I just had to toss it in. :)

                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                              thanks for that, Perilagu Khan, it gave me a good giggle. :)

                                                              back on topic - hate the excalibur knife/burger treatment. lets all the juices out before you get the burger!

                                                      2. If I order a hamburger in a restaurant, other than Five Guys, I cut it in half. It's usually way too much fo me to eat, so I eat half. At FG's, I get the "little" and don't cut it. It's a great size portion for me.

                                                        Hot dog? Never.


                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                          I love the little burger! I wish it was an option at more restaurants.

                                                        2. I find that it depends on the size of the burger and if I'm dining with others or eating alone.

                                                          Generally if the burger is 5 oz or less and served on a conventional soft hamburger bun, I don't cut the burger. If the burger is 8oz plus and on a Kaiser Roll or other 'hard/crusty' large roll and topped by vegetables I am likely to cut it in half.

                                                          If I'm dining with others and table conversation is expected I tend to cut the burger in half. This slows down my eating and prolongs the dining experience.

                                                          For those discussing hot dogs. If not grabbed from a cart, or eaten standing, I tend to eat my hot dog with a knife and fork. I place my sauerkraut on the plate, and cut the hot dog into bite size discs. I fork the kraut stab a hot dog disc and eat. I really don't care if most or all of the bun stays on the plate. The bun is only useful to keep my fingers clean if eating a dog on the run.

                                                          1. I never cut hamburgers in half.

                                                            Hotdogs get sliced end to end ONLY if being served to a small child.

                                                            5 Replies
                                                            1. re: CanadaGirl

                                                              I ALWAYS slice my hot dogs end to end, and fry the cut side, too. I do that for chili dogs. I put each half of the dog on each half of the bun, pour chili over it, garnish with cheese, onions, and jalapenos, and eat it with a knife and fork.
                                                              Nope not a child nor is it childish.

                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                I knew of a diner that offered the choice of either a half or whole wiener on their hotdogs. I think it was because some of their clientele were so poor that that the .10 or .15 cents less they charged for the half mattered.

                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                    I didn't mean to imply that to cut the hotdog is childish. The OP asked if people cut, and I'm just saying that *I* only cut for children. I am not bothered in the slightest by what someone else does to their own food :)

                                                                1. Burgers? Never. Hot dogs? Haven't had one for many, many years. But I do have smokies on buns the odd time. Does that count as a hot dog? Even so, wouldn't cut that in half, either.

                                                                  1. One thing I must say that I enjoy from a courtesy viewpoint is those restaurants that serve over-sized burgers who supply a good-sized steak knife in case you DO want to cut it in half. In this day & age of sub-service thinking, that's above the bar.

                                                                    1. Well on the way back to my assisted living space for the cognitive-deficient, I have been called (in absentia) Crazy about 20 times in this post, but often my wife and I prefer 1.5 Hotdogs each as 1 is not enough and 2 is too many. Especially if I serve them along with my own hand-cut home-made French Fries (Potatoes bought at least a month ago to get the right consistency) and Home-made Cole-Slaw (with a touch of diced apple or crushed pineapple).

                                                                      And does a split lengthwise Dog count? I have sinned with those in the past and have enjoyed them. OH! The Shame!

                                                                      But, as to my redeeming social value, I NEVER EVER cut a burger in half. Even though my subs hoagies, blimpies, grinders, bigguys etc., are often cut in half (even those that have patties of grilled meat in them), the circular equivalent has always remained intact. However, upon being served its Forefather ( I assume male because it came from a steer), I have been known to cut a steak in half...and then in half again...then again...and so-on and so-on until the bits were of a sized to fit safely and comfortably in my mouth.

                                                                      I shall learn to live with my transgressions...I just hope my crazy mind can recollect what they were.

                                                                      And those of you who have ventuired overseas...or lived there like I did for a while, will be perhaps mortified to learn a significant portion of the European Community desecrate the almighty Burger by cutting it and half........and...........GASP!..........eating it with a knife and fork!

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: FriedClamFanatic

                                                                        Yes, Europeans love to eat burgers with a knife and fork. My favorite burger place in Berlin (which is run by Americans) has a note in their menu asking people to please at least TRY eating their burger with their hands. You can definitely tell which tables are Germans and which are Americans by the way they eat!

                                                                        1. re: biondanonima

                                                                          Ah, the Bird. Wonder if I'll make it over there before we leave town....

                                                                      2. Sometimes when the burger is too large to get a good bite. I'll cut it in half so I'll have a point to take a bite.

                                                                        I'm a proud burger cutter-upper. :-)

                                                                        1. If I am eating a burger at a restaurant then 9 times out of 10 I will be cutting it in 1/2. But if I am eating it at home or a friends' house then I won't need to cut it since it will be small enough for me.

                                                                          1. For those that do not cut their burgers, what do you think is the reason that it is *generally* considered verboten to halve a burger, but not a sandwich?

                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                            1. re: ipsedixit

                                                                              And who said it was "generally" verboten? This seems like an attempt to create a tempest in a tea pot, but go ahead if you need to.

                                                                              1. re: escondido123

                                                                                And who said it was "generally" verboten?

                                                                                As I said previously, I prefaced that remark with the prepositional phrase "For those who do not cut their burgers ..."

                                                                                Sorry if I wasn't clear.

                                                                              2. re: ipsedixit

                                                                                Eventhough I do cut larger burgers in half, my understanding of why one would not is so the juices don't run out. One wouldn't have that problem with a ham sandwich

                                                                                1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                  But half the fun of having the juices run out is so that I can strategically drip them over my fries.

                                                                                  I don't think that it IS generally verboten to cut a burger in half. As another poster mentioned, I like the starting corner.

                                                                                  Also, if it's one of those gargantuan tavern burgers that are loaded with toppings and sauce, I stand a better chance of eating the burger with toppings intact if I cut it in half and start from the pointy end. I hate biting into a burger or a sandwich and having the toppings migrate to the edge of the bread and then fall on my plate. This is less likely to happen if I cut the beast in half.

                                                                              3. There's a very simple, quick answer to this. No, I'm not 5!

                                                                                1. I would never disturb the circular shape of a burger.
                                                                                  However, on occasion I have been known to slice a burger into two thinner patties in order to obtain a "fast food thickness" with a "med-rare doneness" for each.
                                                                                  Most often "meat to bun ratio" is the determining factor .... softer, fast food type buns get thinner patty, hard rolls get an unmodified thicker patty. But, sometimes I just want to stretch a dollar and fill myself up with an additional (cheaper than meat) bun/roll.

                                                                                  1. I do cut mine in half, unless it's just a McBurger.
                                                                                    If it's a restaurant burger, I have two reasons to cut it in half: 1) I usually don't have room for a whole burger so I'd rather take a pristine half home than one I've been smooshing in my grubby mitts to hold together so I could eat the first half of it. Or 2) If I am very hungry and it's a wonderful burger, I'd rather eat a pristine second half than one I've been holding in my grubby mitts....

                                                                                    I don't think that's childish. I cut it in half all by myself. Sometimes if it's particularly saucy and messy, I may cut that half into half yet again, so it's easier to hold onto without sliding apart. One poster mentioned her small mouth. I suffer from the same physical condition ;-) , and I wonder if those who can manage a whole burger in hand also have the physical capacity to eat it in fewer bites than others of us, due to a larger maw, thus less mess and slippage.

                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                      When I order a mac and cheese burger I have to eat it with a fork and knife or it doesn't taste as good. Gooey, delicious cheese would be wasted on my wrist instead of in my mouth :)

                                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                        since i had a stroke in 09 (at age 54) and am paralyzed on left side; my companion cuts my burger in half for me; but, come to think of it, i cut mine in half before stroke, as well, except fast food burgers: easier to handle... less likely to lose ketchup, extra mayo or extra pickles!

                                                                                      2. If enjoyed anywhere other than my home, I cut the burger in half, I tend to lift the lid to check all is well and then pounce.

                                                                                        Never cut a hot dog in a bun in half to enjoy but this comes to mind...with young children, yes I cut hot dogs up.

                                                                                        1. Why do some posters ridicule those that cut, by calling them childish? jeez. It's not as if it's being cut into tiny bits to put on a tray of a highchair. Get a grip, folks. and no need to call names.

                                                                                          9 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: wyogal

                                                                                            Can't say I noticed any name calling wyogal. I did mention recalling a time when I cut my children's hot dogs up (back then I worried about everything). Sorry if you misread something in this thread. I thought the topic was fun.

                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                              There are several posters calling people childish for cutting their burgers or dogs. Yes, it's fun, but telling people that they are childish for cutting their food is in itself childish.

                                                                                              1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                Ignoring that nonsense is adult and focusing on the great comments is easy.

                                                                                                Sorry you saw the 1/2 empty glass. Chili dogs never turned me on, maybe I've just never had a really good one!! Any suggestions?

                                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                  Ours is a combination of good and bad: Nathan's dogs, on a supermaket HD bun, toasted, with canned Hormel chili (yes), no beans. Then fresh onions and jalapenos on top. Sometimes shredded cheddar.
                                                                                                  I did one for a class I taught, combining food and music, Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man: Common Fan Fare. I made chili dogs (AC from Brooklyn, used Nathan's), and he wrote the piece for the Cincinnati orchestra, so added some cocoa, allspice, and cinnamon to the canned chili. It tastes more like the A&W Coney Dog.
                                                                                                  I prefer canned chili for this rather than regular, home made chili. Just one of those things. Like an unnatural love for a Donette at 4:30 in the morning when starting out on a road trip.
                                                                                                  Maybe because I cut, those comments just kind of jumped out at me.

                                                                                                  1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                    Lol, we need a support group for cutters. I sawed burgers and dogs up to eat them as an adult with braces on my teeth and never stopped after they were off.

                                                                                                    1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                      Combining food & music class, oh man sign me up! Fantastic.
                                                                                                      I'm going to buy some staples and give your version a go. Love me a Nathan dog.

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        I had a thread about it, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/811866 I'll comment further there if you want to know more.

                                                                                                        1. re: wyogal

                                                                                                          Thanks, wyogal. I don't know how I missed that thread.

                                                                                            2. I will usually cut it in half. Once I pick it up, I won't put it down again. It goes down the hatch.

                                                                                              1. I never used to but I do now. If I eat it whole, I somehow end up with lots of leftover bun.

                                                                                                1. Does it matter if it's a turkey burger?

                                                                                                  Most restaurant burgers are bigger than I can finish and I do cut them. At home I make them the perfect size, so no need. I've never cut a cooked hot dog in half, but like some others, I have occasionally split them before cooking.

                                                                                                  1. This is a question just itching to be debated in the United States Senate.

                                                                                                    1. I will cut larger burgers - say 1/2 lb. or larger - in half before eating them, so that I can start with a corner. Also, I prefer most burgers, but particularly large ones, closer to rare than medium-rare, and I have it in my mind that cutting the burger in half will slow down any residual cooking.

                                                                                                      Cutting a hot dog in half is wrong.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: MonMauler

                                                                                                        I like the nice parabolic dental impression of that first chomp into a well crafted burger. No corners necessary.

                                                                                                      2. As per cutting hot dogs, I taught a music/food class, had chili dogs. To serve, I cut them into thirds. The smaller hot dogs/buns would make a great accompaniment to sliders. Or for a party of small bites.

                                                                                                        1. Burgers - yes (except for the skinny fast food ones).My hands & my mouth seem to be smaller than a restaurant burger is built for. I like a starter corner. I also like to see how rare it is (very, if I'm lucky). Plus if there are any toppings on it, they tend to slide out the back end if I leave it whole. Ultra-messy, to avoid!

                                                                                                          Hot dogs - I don't cut normal dogs, but I will cut a foot-long that's been served in a long bun. Again, for the sake of neatness & topping control.

                                                                                                          1. I don't cut hotdogs or hamburgers, all eaten whole, even the biggest loaded with juicy toppings burgers! (But no need to do the Guy Fiery arm thing to eat them)

                                                                                                            1. yea, I cut a burger in half. I also pick the best looking half of the bun (top or bottom) and discard the other half. I then eat it with a knife and fork.

                                                                                                              unless its In n Out, then it is protein style (no bun) and no cutting.

                                                                                                              Hot dogs are often eaten without a bun also, so a dog is dipped into condimentia.