Top 13 Things That Make a Great Burger

Accidental Locavore In-n-Out BurgersEverywhere the Accidental Locavore goes these days, hamburgers have transformed conversations into arguments. Everyone has their favorite place/places and whether it’s a fast food burger or a $100+ number from a fine dining restaurant, a debate will likely ensue the moment the b (h or c) bomb is dropped.

Since I got back from a trip to LA, I’ve been thinking about the bi-coastal difference in burgers. This is based on almost nothing (wait, do I hear Fox News calling?), but hey, it’s my blog.

  1. LA has much better fast-food burgers than NY. No competition. In-n-Out or Fatburger vs. _____??? Not even close.
  2. However, NY has better restaurant (bar, etc.) burgers.  This may be because…
  3. There is no such thing as a great burger without great fries and we all know that once you put fries in a bag, they steam and get limp. So eating them in place is the only way to ensure good fries.Accidental Locavore In-n-Out Fries
  4. The downside to NY hamburgers? Ketchup only. It makes them way too sweet, need mustard, always.
  5. There is no such thing as a great “burger” made from grain, seafood, soybeans, poultry, or vegetables.
  6. And a burger cooked until it’s dead is never a great burger. This is why states that won’t let you serve a burger that’s less than well-done should be boycotted. You know who you are…
  7. Or not on a bun (maybe some leniency for a toasted English muffin). Sorry, but lettuce wraps are for Chinese food.
  8. Or on a cold bun. Even a quick run through a toaster makes a world of difference.
  9. Ditto cold fries — actually anything less than piping hot fries is a total waste of potatoes (and calories)!
  10. No lettuce or tomato. It’s a personal thing but it just makes the cheeseburger slide out of the bun and doesn’t add anything to the taste. The rare exception? August, when you might luck into a slice of an heirloom tomato — what a difference that makes!Accidental Locavor Bacon Burger  With Steak Sauce
  11. Pickles. In this case it doesn’t have to be more than the standard hamburger dill, but like getting a great tomato, a terrific pickle will make a difference.
  12. Cheese. Like pickles, decent cheese is usually fine, but good cheese in the right proportion, is a wonderful thing! My preference is cheddar, but there are so many other great options. The way cheese will ruin a burger? Grated and/or not melted on the patty. Cheese needs to ooze.
  13. A proper sized plate. Sorry, PJ Clarks, but if the plate is so small that you have to put the bun on the table to add condiments, you need a bigger plate. And I don’t want to hear that “Chef will only put it on that sized plate.”

What makes a great burger to you? And where is it?



1 thought on “Top 13 Things That Make a Great Burger”

  1. Say Hey Ann

    Right now, the winning burger for me is Shake Shack … They just opend in Harvard Square a few months ago (there’s another out in Chestnut Hill) … Great burger, fries are good, but they have trouble keeping them hot, shakes are good and of course you can get ecletic burgers they have on their menu, or create your own … Mr. Bartlley’s is still the best around, but Shake Shack is the best of those that just opened around here (5 Guys and Tasty Burgers suck, but Tasty Burgers in Harvard Square also sells beer and wine, so they get a crowd …


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