This week I’d like to take a moment to discuss a topic that doesn’t get a lot of attention – burger toppings. We here at the burger club take toppings VERY seriously, it’s one of the main factors that we vote on to determine the value of a burger. Toppings can range from predictable to outrageous and everything in-between. For a restaurant that might want to try out a new burger, trying to decide what kind of toppings to offer may be harder than one might expect. Do you offer a bunch of options like cheeburger cheeburger (pictured below)? Or do YOU determine the combination and theme for the customer? There are almost too many options!
When I’m looking at a menu the burger toppings are what I think of first in my mind (and in my mouth). Am I going for a meat on meat? Do I want a lot of cheese? Would I rather something light and natural to balance out the fatty mcfatterson burger? There are just so many different combinations, it’s important not to get into a rut of only ordering the same toppings all the time.
When I was a bit younger I would exclusively opt for a bacon & blue cheese burger wherever I went. Lately I’ve been much more interested in the variety of toppings that this burger world has to offer. Lately I have seen many places (Spiga, Red Owl, PYT) making VERY sweet topping combinations. The house burger at Red Owl (pictured at left) is so sweet it even has raisins in it. Many folks from the burger club found the sweetness of this burger to be too much, but I think they need to just open their minds (and hearts) a little. The sweet topping from Spiga consists of an onion Mostarda which is so nicely paired with herbed goat cheese and applewood smoked bacon. I found this flavor palette to be near perfect. The sweet, salty, creamy topping paired with the richness of the burger is simply unbeatable, IMO. I see this sweet topping trend to be something we’re going to see a lot more of in the future, but is the American public ready for it??
I studied abroad in Sydney, AU and while they don’t really seem to have a national food or style of cooking (other than BBQ) they did put a little twist on the classic burger that I haven’t found anywhere else. I’m sure other parts of the world do this but I haven’t found it – they put a big slice of beetroot on their burgers. I know what you’re thinking “EWWWWW BEETS????” but let me tell you, once you’ve gotten over the idea of it you’ll want it on every burger ever. The beet has this rich, sweet, subtle flavor that compliments the meat in the best possible way. I wish some American burger joints would try this out.
Lastly I’d like to pass along a little vote from the burger club about toppings. I only proposed the question to the group YESTERDAY but I think their findings are nevertheless important. Apparently everyone likes cheese. Duh.
I hope that in the future we see many more creative burger combinations of toppings. I think this is what will really bring the burger into another category of food. Many posts ago (after a burger & wine tasting event) I prophesized that the burger is becoming the new “it” thing, more of a luxury item than it ever has been – and I think that with the new trend in toppings this is becoming more of a reality. I hope to see more of this and one day the BURGER will rule all! Till then, my burger friends!