September 18th is National Cheeseburger Day. In an age where there seems to be a day for anything, food item or not, National Cheeseburger Day is one that has truly been ignored, given how important the Cheeseburger was in shaping our culture.
Despite its popularity, nobody really knows how the Cheeseburger was invented. It just seemed to appear in our culture and has now very much become our national food. It is speculated that American consume 50 billion hamburgers per year, whether there is cheese on them or not. The United States population if right around 300 million. The numbers do not lie: It is not difficult to disagree that the Cheeseburger is a symbol of culture in the United States.
What better way to celebrate National Cheeseburger Day than to explore new ways to create a burger that will impress anybody? Read on to take your burger creation skills to the next level.
Using better meat
Burgers use ground beef. Everybody knows this. What they do not know is that not all ground beef is the same and that using certain types of ground beef can alter what the burger tastes like.
Among the three main types of ground beef (sirloin, round, and chuck), ground chuck is the best meat to choose for a hamburger. Ground chuck is taken from a cow’s shoulder and contains 15% to 20% fat. This can enhance the flavor of the meat without producing too much grease.
Toasted buns make a better burger
Burgers produce grease. There is no avoiding this, and anybody who seeks to avoid it is asking to eat a hockey puck instead of a burger. Buns can soak up a lot of grease, but they they do this at the expense of being soggy. Lightly toasting the buns can prevent this. They also lock in a lot of the flavors of the burger.
The top toppings
Lettuce. Tomatoes. Onions. Pickles. Any given condiment. Those toppings, used on almost every hamburger in history, make a burger so boring that one could probably fall asleep after eating one. These are not quality toppings, and they don’t really add to the flavor of a burger in any real way.
Swap these out for some toppings that can bring your burger to life. Grilled pineapples, caramelized onions, sriracha mayonnaise, avocado spread, or even black beans will improve the taste of a burger by leaps and bounds.
A change in cheese
We get it. The traditional cheeseburger must contain a slice of melted American cheese. That’s how the traditional cheeseburger is made. Following traditions with the cheeseburger is nice, but it is also nice to explore breaking the tradition to see if you can make the burger better. This can be done with different and exotic cheeses.
Brie cheese is a good example. Unlike other cheeses, brie is very creamy and can compliment beef, and especially bacon if it is one of your toppings.
Goat cheese is another example. Goat cheese can even be worked with to the point where it can be cooked inside the burger. This is a definite game changer.
Smoked gouda has a rich and smoky flavor that also gets very little attention when it comes to putting it on a burger. But it does make a very good cheese topping on a burger, especially combined with spicy horseradish.
And then there is a cheese that is not made in the United States. That cheese is stilton. Originating from Britain, stilton is a form of cheese that is extremely salty, robust, and bold. Putting this on a burger will give you a burger experience that you will not soon forget.
The burger’s best friend, bacon
For the last five or so years, our culture has developed an obsession with bacon. And there is no better place for bacon than on a burger. Unfortunately, most of the bacon that restaurants use on their burgers is extremely cheap and not really conducive to the best burgers.
Canadian bacon, which is cut from the pork loin, is much more flavorful than the usual cuts of bacon that is put onto a burger, which is often cut from a pig’s stomach. Another form of bacon that will make a burger probably more flavorful than you can handle is gypsy bacon, which is seasoned with paprika and then roasted.
One of the best things about designing a cheeseburger is that almost anything goes and there are numerous options. One of the reasons why it is one of the most common meals in the United States is because of this fact. People are coming up with new recipes daily when it comes to designing a burger, whether they are established chefs or line cooks at a fast food restaurants who decided to experiment during their downtime.
Perhaps that is what National Cheeseburger Day should be about. It should be about celebrating the creativity that goes into one of the simplest food items known to man. And don’t forget to add a nice cold beer for better enjoyment.