In anticipation of National Burger Day on August 23 we thought we would give you our top tips for assembling the perfect burger; learnt from our MANY trips to the ever increasing burger restaurants around London.
About The Bun
Sometimes the bun is the last ingredient in a burger to get any attention, but in recent years it is finally being treated as more than an edible plate/ glorified patty holder. The added flavour and overall structure it can bring are serious considerations, for those who want to bring their best burger game. So which bun should you buy?
If you are doing things the American way, where biggest is best, then we recommend the Ciabatta roll; its thick crust allows for a sturdy grasp and provides structure for even the juiciest burger. However, it can be too hard, so remember to do the squeeze test in store or at least eat them fresh that day. With an excellent bread flavour, the Ciabatta roll also contributes to the overall taste.
If flavour is your most important criteria then we recommend the brioche. Those Frenchies knew what they were doing when they created the brioche and it mainly involved adding more eggs and butter! By doing so the brioche is slightly richer, sweeter and more dynamic in flavour, but never overpowers the other ingredients. It also makes the bun lovely and soft, but this does not affect the durability as this extra absorbency helps to soak up all the juices.
If you’re a bit of a renegade, but like giving a nod to the past, then you could try an English muffin. We know it might seem crazy, but give this little guy a try and you won’t regret it. Its round shape and sturdy structure makes it quite the neat little treat. You must toast* it first though and why not add an egg to give your burger the breakfast club treatment?
Last, but certainly not least is the Milk bun. Gaining in popularity all over, the milk bun is sturdy so means you can go wild with your ingredients list, but is also light in texture so that it mops up all those juices. This creates a very flavourful experience and one which is considerably more savoury than a brioche, due to the way it is made. However, because of its recipe it is slightly sweeter than a normal white bun and a lot less fatty. Overall we think the balance of flavours in a milk bun is best, but it is always fun to switch the bun depending on what else you’re throwing in…
It is worth toasting whichever burger bun you choose as it makes it much firmer and gives the bun an extra crispness!
Lettuce Call The Whole Thing Off
So now we come to the crucial consideration of how to assemble everything that goes in between the bun. This is where things can get controversial. Remember the debate that raged across the internet when Google released their burger emoji, positioning the cheese beneath the patty, while all other emojis, from Apple to WhatsApp, put the cheese on top of the patty?
Well, if you’re not sad enough to have got involved, don’t worry, because you would probably have said ‘above the patty’ and you would’ve been right. After all, that is how you melt cheese; by putting it on the burger while it sizzles away! Not only do you want to have that cheesy hit in the roof of your mouth so the top of your tongue gets the full experience, but the cheese also holds the other toppings in place.
The ingredient which seems to divide people the most, actually, is the lettuce leaf. Some believe it should be on the bottom, to act as an extra barrier between the burger juices and the bun, while others believe it should sit on top, for pure purtiness. We think the former is certainly a valid option if your burger is hemorrhaging juice, but we would rather recommend the latter, based on the inclusion of tomato.
Tomatoes bring tang, refreshing juice, sweetness and colour to a burger. You’d be mad not to include it and when you do it is best to put the lettuce above it. This way the lettuce is never directly on top of the patty (which is a burger faux-pas as the heat from the patty will wilt the lettuce and make it limp and slimy). Also, having the lettuce on the tomato stops the lettuce from sliding around, especially if you have lots of sauce up there. Another tip here is to put your onion rounds on top of the lettuce to weigh it down. The added benefit of this is how they will also catch the condiments and stop your sauce from spilling out.
So we’ve reached the final furlong; what to put under your patty. First up, it’s the pickles! You nearly forgot about them didn’t you? Well, don’t. They are an extremely important ingredient for bringing an extra dimension of flavour to your burger. However, you are free to include whatever veg you prefer, like salsa, olives, mushrooms. The only rule is that because they are small and irregular in size, they need to go under the patty so they can be weighed down and not fall out of the burger.
Another way to ensure these bad boys don’t fall out is by adding sauce to the bottom bun, but which sauces go where? We believe in dividing them up to avoid it oozing out between your fingers and making a right ol’ mess. Mayo is lighter and more delicate so suits being slathered on the top bun, so we would add our mustard and ketchup to the bottom bun, but we know that some prefer to taste the strong tomato/ mustard flavour first, so swapping your sauces around here is an option.
So there we are. We made it through the gauntlet of which ingredients go where when you assemble your burger. And just to make it super simple for you, here is the order from bottom to top:
Pickles or small extras
Head Chef Tom Cook at Smith & Wollensky London says “Always let your patty sit before stacking to avoid the juices going everywhere. This is because the saturated fats in a beef burger liquify when hot, so if you let the burger cool a little they’ll solidify and stop you dripping juice all over the place.” We wouldn’t be a very good PR agency if we didn’t get a quote from one of our clients now would we?
Now go forth and find your ingredients while we do a sun dance! And in case we’ve had all the sun we’re going to get this summer, check out this PR agency’s review on where to seek out the best burger joints this National Burger Day.