Is a burger “just a burger?”

October 12th, 2010 by Richard Chudy

You tell me. Okay, I’ll tell you, at least to start the conversation. Why start and stop with the burger, might as well ask if a hot dog is just a hot dog, or if a pizza is just a pizza, or whatever fill in the blank food you feel more comfortable with. For me, Mr. Burger Enthusiast, obsessed with finding the best, no, a burger is not just a burger, but you already knew that. We love to analyze here at Burger Blog Central, over analyze perhaps, but hey, that’s what we do. Clearly, not all burgers are the same, in price, condiments, cuts of beef, type of bun, the possibilities are endless, and we haven’t even started talking about quality yet. In many ways, however, a burger is just a burger, many pub burgers are similar, most fast-food burgers are alike, so at face value we’re still talking beef, cheese, a bun and maybe some lettuce and tomato if you’re good. But ask 100 people what their perfect burger looks like and you’ll get 100 different answers. Burgers are funny that way, people order the same type of burger over and over again, at the same temperature. But medium-rare to me might be different than medium-rare to you. Anything that’s not done the way we expect it to be we scoff at, but shouldn’t we be judging it based on flavor? I do think that any chef worth their salt should be able to cook a burger to temperature, and really it’s a badge of honor to be able to do so, but in the end, I want it to taste good, medium-rare or not medium-rare aside. Even with the multitude of different blends of meat, and different types of cheese, it’s still a burger, but of course they are not all created equally. I guess the question is, at what point does it not become a burger? Your thoughts??

7 Responses

  1. fr8d says:

    Burgers are the essence of life !

  2. BBQGuy says:

    Food historian, Elizabeth Rozin, wrote so eloquently; ” The meaning of the burger is as a kind of common denominator of the beef experience, with all the flavor, aroma, tenderness, and juiciness in a cheap and accesible form. The meatiness, the beefiness, the succulence of the fat are all there in the unassuming patty.” It’s all about the seasoned beef patty, toasted bun, gooey melted cheese and some limited veggies (and/or some complementary simple toppings) and anything far beyond that it becomes a specialty sandwich. Let the beef patty shine!!!!!