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How do you construct your burger?

In reading the flipping burger thread, I saw lots of comments about how "toppings" are arranged and sogginess of the bun. So I wanted to see how everyone arranges a burger. When I order a burger out, it usually comes with the patty resting on the bottom bun and with the toppings obviously on top of the patty. You then put your condiments on top of this. Based on my experience, this will lead to a messy, but delicious burger. However, after countless experiments, I have discovered a better way to build a burger. This is based on the fact that I like lots of "toppings. Start with toasted bottom bun, place whole lettuce leaf then add sliced tomato. Meat patty goes on top of this. If you use cheese, should be melted on patty. Sliced onion and pickles go next. Sometimes use another lettuce leaf next. Condiments are smeared on top toasted bun. I've found this construction leads to less soggy bottom bun as lettuce provides a barrier for the juice and placing tomatoes on bottom results in less slippage. Rest of the toppings on top of the burger provides an even distribution so that the whole things doesn't fall apart. Spreading condiments on the top bun prevents the squish of M, M or K that seems to always drip out. How do you build your burger?

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  1. When it comes to burgers, soggy/messy is a good thing. Nothing goes on mine except onion (grilled preferred), cheese and mayo.

    1. 20% fat, toasted oversize buns. A thin 4-6 oz. burger cooked medium. Mayo on the bottom roll, then thinly sliced onions and tomatoes. Plenty of salt and pepper. Add burger, 4 oz. or greater of cheese, then Heinz 57 on bun and leaf lettuce.

      Ketchup and mustard if lacking the 57. Burger and cheese should be hot enough to wilt the lettuce.

      1. At home - lightly toasted burger bun. A squirt of ketchup on the bottom bun, then the burger (usually cheese). If I'm having bacon, that goes next, and then the top bun. If no bacon, potato chips get layered on top of the cheese for some salty crunch, then the bun.

        No lettuce, no tomato, no pickles.

        1. I'm with the no greenery crowd. I don't want a cold salad on my hot burger. I often eat burgers without bread, in which case the toppings (usually nothing more than caramelized onions and crumbled bacon; possibly sauteed mushrooms or roasted tomatoes) are piled atop the cheese-covered burger (cheese fully melted, of course). Condiments can either be squirted/spooned on top of this (usually green olive mayo or blue cheese salad dressing, sometimes mustard or bacon jam, NEVER EVER ketchup).

          If I do use bread, it's either a potato roll (untoasted preferably, but toasted and buttered is ok) or buttered and toasted rye bread. In that case, I still build the burger the same way - I don't mind a little soggy mess on the bottom. I can always flip it if it becomes impossible to hold.

          1. I hate having my sandwich soak to pieces before I'm halfway done, so unless I can find good ciabatta rolls I'll leave out the tomato. Mustard on the bottom, then the burger with cheese on top. Thin slice of raw white onion pushed onto the cheese, then either thin slices of good dill pickle or some lettuce, preferably Boston, and mayonnaise. With a ciabatta roll it might have lettuce, but the topmost item under the mayo'd bun will be some very good tomato, in season. If I have several good tomatoes, though, I'm more likely to have a good salade de tomates as a side dish: chunked tomato, salt, pepper, good oil, splash of vinegar maybe.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Will Owen

              Will, I'm with you on everything but the mustard. I'm trying to keep myself under control (for CH civility purposes) from doing my natural reaction to the idea of mustard on a burger.

            2. I just pile it all on top. For a simple BBQ burger, ketchup and mustard on top of a cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato and onion and bacon if it's available. My favorite burger is cheese, bacon, mushrooms and onions. With this I usually make an aioli which goes on both sides of the bun which I find lets the flavor of the sauce get into every bite. Sometimes with condiments on top of the patty then with toppings on top of that and then the bun the toppings slip around making it awkward to eat. So then it's bun, patty, cheese, bacon, tomato and lastly is lettuce (holds on the tomato and bacon, sometimes I put the bacon on the patty before I throw on the cheese to melt to ensure maximum stickage.

              1. I like them many ways. My only rule is whether the bun is toasted or grilled I let it cool a little before spreading mayonnaise. My standard is a thick patty grilled medium over some applewood on a lightly grilled Kaiser roll. Mayonnaise on one side, Maille Dijon on the other, a thin slice of sweet onion, homemade chili sauce, and a thick slice of sharp cheddar melted on the patty.

                1. Hi, Bk:

                  Lately, I've been grinding Rocquefort or Gorgonzola and bacon into the meat. Bun is grilled. All my toppings go on top, but I cut the tomato, onions, shallots very thin. About 1/2 the time, I add an over-easy fried egg as the last topping before the lid.


                  10 Replies
                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Wow, this idea is genius and guarantees the blue cheese flavor in every bite. I imagine it doesn't ooze it while cooking? Do you have a ratio that you use?

                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                      No guru, no method, no teacher...

                      Small handful, no ooze.

                    2. re: kaleokahu

                      Second the fried egg. My favorite Austin truck is Chilantro, bulgogi burger with fried egg and a side of kimchi fries...mmmmm

                      Fried egg would rock on a chili burger, too. Count on Kaleo to pick the thing that makes me hungry. I think I just rethought my dinner menu.

                      1. re: kaleokahu

                        I was right there with you 'til you flipped the egg. I love the idea of the cheese mixed in. Kinda like the small chunks of butter technique.

                        My version is the "Breakfast Burger"* which is really just a thick (extra) cheeseburger, topped with bacon (or pork roll) and either a poached or fried egg. The yolk must ooze on the first bite so as to mix with the ketchup on the top bun. I wanna try it with scrapple, but have yet to do so.

                        *You see us as you want to see us... In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain....and an athlete.....and a basket case...a princess....and a criminal..." (couldn't resist).

                        1. re: MGZ

                          "You see us as you want to see us......"
                          I love you.

                          1. re: kaleokahu

                            I started this awhile ago. I like to "infuse" my burgers with the different toppings, such as bacon and cheese.

                            If you like this combination try mixing your ground meat with creamed spinach, cheese of choice, bacon and top it with hollandaise.....that's my Burger Rockefeller......good eats!

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              That thing is beggin' to be topped with a coupla fried oysters.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                That's the next step up! My favorite is Cajun Oysters give it all a little kick.

                            2. Basic: toasted potato roll/bun. light schmear of mayo on both top and bottom creates just enough barrier to the bun getting too soggy. tomato on bottom topped with burger topped with sliced raw onion and top bun.

                              Fancy: same as above with sauteed mushrooms that are not wet over burger and then raw onion slice then top bun.

                              Classic: same as either of above and a large ladle full of brown gravy over the whole thing. with extra gravy on side for additional dipping. (yes, this gets soggy, but in such a good way :-)

                              Always: sliced raw onion.

                              Nevers: ketchup, lettuce, roasted red peppers

                              Options: bacon.

                              1. I don't really care to be honest. Although, if a burger does not have cheese on it I will not eat it. I also LOVE raw onions on my burger. I like lettuce on it as well, and a slice of tomato, but only if the tomato tastes good. Ketchup is essential IMO. I can take or leave the mustard, but I hate mayo on a burger.

                                1. Ground brisket, blackened medium rare in butter and Cajun redfish seasoning on a toasted buttered onion roll with ketchup and Seckler' s red pepper relish. Perfect char outside with warm, pink juicy center.

                                  1. I think some just get it as it comes:

                                    1. Toasted buns. Mayo on both, a little ketchup on the top bun.

                                      Sliced raw red onion on the bottom, topped by the cheeseburger (there *are* no, nor will there *ever* be hamburgers at casa lingua). Top bun usually gets a little lettuce leaf and a slice of tomato.

                                      I smoosh the burger down a little before I go to town on it. Sometimes there will be a slippery issue, but most of the time I eat it fast enough for that not to happen.


                                      1. I'm really surprised how many people toast their buns (I saw this in the tuna sandwich thread, too). All my life I've only toasted bread if it wasn't fresh. Soft, fresh bread is one of the greatest joys I know!