Day of the hamburger
Before we get to the burger itself you are probably asking yourself: there is a day dedicated to hamburgers? The answer is yes, but like most of those more obscure “holidays” it is unclear when it started. There are several possible initiators like the White Castle Franchise, the TV Host Rosie O’Donnell or just two students who are in talks that they started the national burger day. Another possible alternative is it originated from the National Hamburger Month which is celebrated through May in the U.S and usually kicks-off the BBQ season.
The only thing that matters is it started in the U.S in the 90’s and is still going strong today. If you are a true fan of the hamburger, a day to celebrate the burger is all the excuse you need!
The biggest question of the burger day: is there a classic recipe? A classic hamburger is quite simple in its composition and includes three main ingredients: the burger bun, a grilled patty of minced beef and condiments like ketchup and mustard. Additional to these must-have’s pickles, tomatoes and onions could also be considered as part of the classic hamburger.
The Burgers New Clothes
One of the burger’s biggest advantages comes from its versatility. Even a classic hamburger shows that this dish has no limits to variations possible. These variants range from a simple slice of cheese over crispy bacon or pumpkin to variations which only resemble a burger in its form. Because of this there is an assumption that 60% of all sold sandwiches worldwide are burgers.
But even if the hamburger is considered a fast food classic, it grew out of this gastronomic niche and its frowned upon reputation. More and more burgers get additional toppings or refined with ingredients in higher quality. Fast food deluxe so to speak!
Like the most expensive burger in the world: the Golden Boy. It was created by the Dutch chef Robbert Jan de Veen to support charity in 2021 and costed $5200. Its patty was made from Wagyu beef and had toppings like Beluga caviar, king crab, Iberico ham and white truffle. The sauce was a BBQ Sauce but was refined with Macallan Single Malt Whiskey and Kopi Luwak-coffee.
But we’d like to provide you more practical ideas for your next burger party. We want to show you which parts of your burger are prime for alteration. But spoiler: the possibilities are endless.
The outer frame - the bun
The easiest way to give your burger a new twist, is to change the bun. Most of the time it is a brioche bun or white bread topped with sesame seeds, but in regard to taste, quite one-dimensional.
To bring a bit of variety to your bun is not really a challenge. Every other bun or bread roll is suitable for this ranging from whole grain, lye bread to ciabatta. You could choose your bun to match the flavors of your other ingredients. Use more rustic bread to savory toppings or patties while sweeter buns are perfect if a lighter note is required.
To use a more visual approach you should try black buns while changing the bun! They change nothing to the flavors, because they are just sepia-colored buns and the color has no taste on its own. But these pitch black buns are a visual highlight accentuating the colors of the toppings of your burger or let it simply stand out.
To the patty's core
If the bun is the framework, then the patty is the heart of your burger. But don’t stress out: changing the patty is not as complex as open-heart surgery. If you don’t want to stray too far away from a beef patty, improve it with spices or incorporated ingredients like chili or shredded cheese. The next step could be a patty wrapped in bacon, an inserted core of cheese or even both! You want to reach peak meat delight? Then consider mincing high quality beef for your patties or put a seared steak instead of a minced beef patty on your burger.
You don’t have to stick to beef as your patty, feel free to explore the other possible flavors. All in all every meat is a possible burger patty, but some are worth mentioning. Game or lamb are recommended if you want to have a patty with a strong flavor on its own. Or you give your burger a maritime twist by using tuna steaks or shredded salmon for your patty. Even vegetarian options are possible and we suggest pumpkin if you want to try it.
The special ingredient - the toppings
When it comes time to choose your toppings, you have endless possibilities. That’s why you shouldn’t always stick with staples like cheese, pickles, and tomatoes or more special toppings like bacon or a fried egg. Always serving or eating the same burger is quite boring so keep an open mind and search for new inspiration. To be honest: If we listed all possible toppings we would be here until next burger. So we want to give you just a bit of inspiration for your next burger variation instead.
If you want to approach change in small steps consider alternatives to well-known toppings. Swap salad with something like baby spinach, vary the type of cheese or top with flavorful ingredients like dried tomatoes. Or try out more refined toppings which need to be cooked separately like red cabbage, coleslaw, or grilled vegetables. Experiment with more exotic toppings like fruity pineapple, sweet figs, or something rustic like bone marrow.
Let it flow - the condiments
The finishing touches for your burger are achieved with the right condiment. In the best case the condiment brings the flavors of the other ingredients like the bun, patty, and toppings together and serves not only as adhesive to hold everything in place. Classics like ketchup, mayo, and mustard do their job, but if you changed the rest of your burger, it may not be the best fit anymore.
Just like the other components of your burger the condiment has no limits. You could use any store-brought sauce or try cooking one on your own. Or you could use other tasteful alternatives like crema di balsamico, guacamole, hummus, or salsa. Each condiment could bring that missing pinch of something to complete your burger.