A Burger Contemplation

The New York Times article “Turkey Burgers Don’t Count” is a wondrous piece of burger journalism (a field of journalism of which I am particularly fond). 

First there is the title, which makes a very valid point.  While we cannot deny the existence (and even occasional deliciousness) of turkey burgers, one should not make the mistake to think that they remotely comparable to the pure delight that is a real fucking American Burger, which is made from beef, no questions asked.  Why is the beef an essential requirement to the true classification of “burger?”  Think about it.  Back in the dawn of human kind, before we had discovered classier things like indoor plumbing, cable television, and a little thing called agriculture, we used to hunt (and “cough” gather – aka “the lame”) our food.  Now no doubt our ancestors consumed the flesh of Ice Age fowls, but the challenge of killing such birds was no where near as extreme and truly representing humankind’s dominance over the beasts as taking out an giant enraged ice cow.  In the success of ice cow conquering and later cow domestication, our ancestors set I high precedent, which quite simply said “eating beef is bad ass and awesome and turkey, no matter how tasty it may be, will ever compare.”  There you go.

Moving on.  The article has some great quotes from the fellows who do the burger eating.  Personal favorites include”

“Vegetables are to be eaten by rabbits and liberals.”                                                                                                          ~ One of the Weiss individuals (confused as to which)

Now I will admit that I really like my veggies (and am also, in truth quite liberal — I guess his point is made) but there is a truth in his words.  You see it all goes back to the conquest of the ice cows by our cave dwelling predecessors.  We are not discussing the political ideologies of liberalism or conservatism here, we are talking about the the concept of conservative as it relates to how our bad ass Ice Age ancestors knew that cow meat was fucking awesome and made no qualms about it. 

another great quote (well at least in regards to the important point it rasies):

“They wouldn’t put bacon on our burgers even though they had bacon.”~ Jason Beckerman

That is a damn shame . . . no, wait, it is fucking sinful is what it is.  Now I know that there are those that would disagree with me (rest assured that they are wrong), but adding bacon to a burger (which has already obviously had cheese added to it — don’t even go there with the lack of cheese burger) is about one of the greatest things that can be  done.  It is a further statement of that primeval human will to dominate the animals which simple put says, “not only have I conquered the ice cows but I have also made dominance over the tundra pigs.  Fuck yeah I’m the master of creation now!”   The Bacon Cheeseburger, that is what it is all about (note: that while I have referred to them as merely “burgers” throughout this post, I do so with the realization that a lack of cheese is just blasphemous. Burger automatically equals cheeseburger in my book — enough said).  The whole lack of bacon on the burger thing is one of my biggest qualms about Chicora Ally and their burgers.  Sure they are pretty tasty, but their lack, no — wait — refusal, to include bacon is just foolishness.  They have no chance at contending for the best burger in Greenville title until they can remedy their anti-bacon ways.

And what then of additional toppings and condiments?  This is one area where I am willing to accept more variations.  Some people just like their ketchup and/or mustard and I can’t hold that against them in the slightest.  Personally I like me some lettuce, and onion, and tomato.  If it is available I will take mayo too, which I understand strikes some folks as strange, but in truth it is one of the few places where I really find mayo tasty.  Pickles or no pickles?  Either way is okay in my book (pickles are generally pretty tasty).  Relish?  Hmmm.  I am not sure about relish, not just in regards to burgers, but as a condiment in general.  Yes I understand that is is essentially chopped up pickles, but something about it just kind of strikes me as sketchy.  Other various topics?  Marinated mushrooms, roasted red pepper, guacamole?  Sure, whatever you like.

And what about the cheese factor?  What cheese is the appropriate one for a burger?  The guys in the article have a pretty strict guideline for cheddar cheese, which is an admirable, albeit safe, choice.  In truth I am pretty open to a wide range of cheese choices to top my burger.  You will never hear me complain about cheddar, which pairs perfectly with a juicy beef patty.  But I also have fondness for Swiss cheese, blue cheese on occasions, and don’t forget pimento cheese which is amazing stuff.  Also, of course, there is the American cheese so preferred by fast food burger joints.  There ain’t nothing wrong with American cheese, in some context it is pretty much the max of greatness, but if other options exist I recommend stepping it up a notch, even if that is just to the cheddar level.

And what of the burger which is further topped with a fried egg, the legendary Chris Evans down at the Soda Shop (on North Main, other half of The Other Side)?  While I have grown fond of this addition (though truth be told one can only consume such a thing once every couple of months if they hope to live to any degree of respectable age) I am not yet sure of its place in the burger world.  The reason why is that I believe that there are two 9or more) conflicting theories about the origin of such burger.  One is the classic “egg added to burger” theory which, simply put, states that the egg was an addition to the a burger on some occasion and the result was delightful and thus the addition was continued.  The other theory is the “burger added to breakfast sandwich” one, which suggests that in actuality the whole thing started with a breakfast sandwich, not unlike an Egg McMuffin or such, and in place of ham, sausage or bacon somebody requested that a burger patty be added as the meat ingredient.  And yet there exists one more possibility (albeit kind of a cop out) that says that perhaps both other theories occurred at distinct times leading to two independent discoveries of this type of burger.  All around more research into this matter is required.

At this point I am feeling like I am exhausting all that I currently have on my mind in regards to burgers.  I will say that I hope to find some tasty burger somewhere in Boston while I am visiting there this following week.  Also, now I am greatly in want of a burger, and may need to hunt for such for either lunch or dinner tonight.  This is the way things go, can’t write about burgers without finding yourself in want of a burger.  Such is life, and the great things it offers.

~ by Nathaniel on May 6, 2009.

3 Responses to “A Burger Contemplation”

  1. Best restaurant burger I’ve had: Tell-Tale Heart at Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island. Fried egg with applewood smoked bacon and cheddar cheese.

    Best home-made burger, courtesy of Marlboro’s Cook Like a Man cookbook: Hard-chargin’ Blue Cheese Stampede

    2 lbs ground beef
    1/4 cup chopped onion
    3 tbsp hot sauce
    2 tbsp honey
    1 tbsp garlic salt
    1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
    1 tsp black pepper
    6 oz blue cheese
    6 buns, toasted
    roasted red peppers (optional)
    portabella mushrooms (optional)

    – Combine beef, onion, hot sauce, honey, garlic salt, red pepper flakes and pepper in a bowl; mix well.
    – Divide into 6 potions.
    – Form patties around pieces of blue cheese
    – Grill 8 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat
    – Top with roasted red peppers and mushrooms

    I find that blue cheese crumbles work better than the block. The block tends to melt too much and the cheese leaks from the beef.

    Spicy, juicy wonderfulness.

    • I am pretty partial to some spice added to my burgers (as well as most other food stuff . . . except maybe ice-cream and candy). I am also a bit ashamed to admit that I lack much in the realm of my own burger creating ability. I’ve long had a preference for grilled burger patty as opposed to broiled or pan fried, as such, in that I lack both 1) a grill and 2) any semblence of good grilling ability I prefer to let others (aka restaurants) do the burger cooking. I imagine someday I can aspire for some of life’s greater pleasures including my own grill and at that point I will devout a great amount of my time to perfecting burger creation.

      Anyways thanks for the burger recommendations. If I ever make it Sullivan’s Island I will look for the above. And perhaps someday soon I can test this particular burger recipe.

  2. My grill was by far the best wedding gift I received. I would be lost without it. We’ll have to do a burger and homebrew night soon. I’ll make the Hard Chargin Stampede burgers. It will be delightful!

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