It’s that time of year, folks!  Many of you are rolling your grill out of storage and preparing for the first BBQ of the year.

Today we discuss 5 simple rules that you must obey when making the perfect burger.

If you ask ten people to describe the perfect burger, you’ll get ten different answers. Some people (weirdos) like their burger well done, others prefer a nice medium rare. Even our own panel of judges is divided; The Yankee hates mayonnaise, the Banker won’t eat tomatoes, The Computer whiz eats his burger “plain” and the Accountant is allergic to onions. We get it, everyone has a slightly different taste.

That said, there are some things we all agree on when making the perfect burger.

1.  Respect the Beef.

The perfect hamburger should taste like beef. It doesn’t need a Ranch dressing packet, A-1 sauce or even Worcestershire. If you’re adding three eggs and breadcrumbs to your hamburger mixture- you’re making meatloaf, not a hamburger. Our Accountant hit the nail on the head when he said “Fancy sauces are designed to mask the flavor of sub-par meat.” We agree. If you add more than just a few spices to your beef- we assume you’re trying to stretch the mixture or hide something. Buy high quality meat and respect the beef, Son.

2.  Avoid Fancy Buns.

We’re not impressed by your Asiago Baguette, Mr. Fancy Buns. “Asiago Baguette” sounds more like an Italian race car driver than a hamburger bun. Today, many Bobby Flay wannabes are trying to reinvent the burger. This means serving a hamburger on crusty french bread, a thick kaiser roll or some other fancy bread not intended as a vehicle for delicious beef. One of the most frequent comments we see on our scorecards is “too much bread.” Less is more in the bun department, folks. Our Engineer had it right when he said “the bun should exist only to keep your fingers from sinking into delicious beef.” A bun should be described as soft, minimal and buttery. Not described as dry, chewy or bulky. If you want to take your buns to the next level, butter them and grill them on a flat top. #nicebuns

3.  Don’t Overthink the Cheese

Much like Rule #2 (Avoid Fancy Buns) don’t be deceived by expensive, hard to pronounce cheeses. Sure, we’ll eat a burger topped with aged Muenster, smoked gouda or gruyere, we’re not picky. Almost all cheese is delicious. That said, there’s just something about a slice of good ol’ American cheese on a hamburger. It has great flavor and seems to melt perfectly on a burger unlike any other cheese. A melted slice of American cheese becomes one with the burger- almost impossible to scrape off. If you really want to step up your game in the cheese department, just add a second slice of American, baby.

4.  Yes, Produce Matters

When you’re putting together the perfect burger, we understand- high quality beef is the top priority. Next you need a great bun. But please, don’t overlook the importance of fresh, flavorful produce. You will absolutely ruin an otherwise great burger by throwing a handful of wilted lettuce and a pitiful slice of tomato on top. Rarely will fresh produce be the star of your dish, but it should complement and enhance the flavors of your burger. Fresh produce doesn’t necessarily make the burger, but bad produce can definitely break the burger. Next time you assemble a burger- Place a crisp piece of iceberg lettuce beneath the patty- it keeps the bottom bun from becoming soggy.

5.  Season Accordingly

If the Burger Tour has taught us anything, it’s that salt and pepper (when used correctly) work together in perfect harmony. Salt and Pepper are a staple in every kitchen for a reason, folks. Salt in particular helps draw out the natural flavor of almost anything; beef, tomatoes, etc. Pepper is the perfect accompaniment to salt. When we said “Respect the Beef” we didn’t mean avoid seasoning entirely. Season accordingly, burger lover.

What do you think?  Is there a rule we left out?  Let us know.

If you agree with these rules, please like and share.

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