I absolutely LOVE burgers!

Having lived in the US, I got very familiar with this delicious dish first-hand: from home-made, on the barbecue, under the Montana starry sky to some of the world’s best unknown burger joints. Eaten at the bar’s counter with a cold beer or on white linen table cloth, the burger was (almost) always mighty.

After I moved back to Europe, I continued the search for the perfect burger…and I have found none! The Brussels burger-scene left me with a sad, unaccomplished, melancholic feeling and always frustrated. Given, I have not tried all burger places in our fair city, but I had my share of burger-tears. The worst I had, no need to be calling names and pointing fingers sounds something like this:

* small white fluffy bun, sad thin dark-brown-grayish meat, one slice of bright-orange cheese…you know, the type where each slice comes wrapped in plastic (advertised as CHEDDAR, btw), onion slices from two days ago, one chunk of tomato with zero taste, some sour-vinegary cornishons, iceberg salad (yuck!) and, icing on the cake (or shall I say on the burger)(hold your breath for this one, I hope you’re sitting down): all drenched in…cocktail sauce. The horror!!!

On top of this, burgers get such a bad reputation, because we’ve been wired to associate burgers with the fast-food industry. And always with fries. Always. I’m not gonna go into the whole fast-foods discussion, I hope everyone who’s reading this text knows better. We don’t need this sort of crap in our lives, just as much as we don’t need a rotten onion for breakfast everyday (come to think about it, I’m actually inclined to raise my hand for that onion…).

So these are the rules of the perfect burger:

Good quality buns: go for dark bread, multigrain, rye or whatever your heart desires…just stay away from the fluffy, white, supermarket burger buns. Buns should always be slightly toasted.

The meat: yes, a good burger is, by definition, a meat burger. Fresh beef from your local butcher with simple seasoning (salt, pepper, a hint of paprika, a bit of ketchup). Charred on the outside, juicy on the inside. I only eat my burgers rare (hence my huge disappointment with our Brussels-burgers), but this is obviously a question of taste. However, if you’re having burgers outside, do check if they CAN make it rare: this means they have fresh, good quality meat.

The bacon: there’s no burger without bacon, just as there’s no morning without coffee. It needs to be crispy and a lot. What I hate the most is when they put a transparent piece of bacon on your burger, that you can barely see even with a magnifying glass. Some of these places even have the nerve to extra-charge you for that, true story.

The filling: well, this is again a personal taste thing or just the theme of your burger (gosh, I feel rather pretentious now…written in a British accent, ofc). Lettuce (no iceberg, please), fresh-cut onion and cheese, lots of cheese (real one, needless to say) are staples. But if you’re gonna have, say, a Mexican-inspired burger you might add some avocado, a hint of cilantro, a bit of corn. You get the point.

The dressing (for lack of a better word): here I like to stick to my basics: ketchup & mustard. But again, barbecue sauce (home-made) is always a nice addition. No mayo (yes, I’ve seen people putting mayo in their buns), no fancy business and NO cocktail sauce.

The side: you’d be tempted to go for fries (the devil’s fingers), but just don’t. The burger itself is enough and it is actually a very healthy and non-fattening option (yes, I’m vain like that) if you skip the fries. Just skip the damn fries!

What I put in these beautiful babies? Multigrain buns, meat from my beloved butcher, bacon, melted Swiss elemental, guacamole (aka crushed pieces of avocado, olive oil, salt & pepper), red onion (lots), charred pepper (accidentally had them in the fridge, so I just thought why not? Major risk taker!), lettuce, (home-made) ketchup & chilies. Pure perfection, my friends…all in less than 20 minutes and +/- 5 EUR per serving.

4 thoughts on “The.Best.Burgers.

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