I think that over time we’ve manage to get burger tasting down to a science. Like real science we have a set of success criteria that must meet a standard to be considered a good burger. So you may be asking yourselves “what does a good burger taste like?” Well, I’m glad you asked. Here I’ll break down what we look for in a great burger.
Ultimately the most important part of the item. Ideally we’re looking for a perfectly charred piece of meat with a pink vein running all the way through the middle. For all you food nerds out there this charring is referred to as the Maillard reaction and is responsible for the browning and complex flavours causing burgers to taste charred.
What we don’t want is an anaemic looking slab of meat oozing with grease, boasting little to no flavour as a direct result of no caramelisation. When this happens it really is a disappointment to eat.
More than just accompaniments the toppings are what set one burger apart from another. It is important that these are paired correctly and cooked through just as thoroughly as the meat itself. One bug bare of mine is undercooked bacon. I insist that bacon should be crispy, well-done, and almost burnt. This brings out the smokey flavour bacon brings to the table. Let me reiterate the Maillard reaction.
The right cheese must also be used. A favourite of ours is the burger classic - American cheese. It may be artificial but damn does it taste good. A cheese that we think does not go well with a burger is sadly Cheddar cheese. When a sudden change of temperature is applied to the cheese, for instance when put on top of a hot patty, the solid milk fats in the cheese begin to separate making the cheese oily and translucent. It suffices to say that it doesn’t please the eye or the taste buds.
Typically overlooked the bun both physically and metaphorically keeps the entire thing together. Like a belt holding up your trousers if it breaks then everything flies out, and you’ll stand there looking fairly silly.
It is important that a good bun is able to retain the moisture that escapes from both the meat and the toppings otherwise if may start to break apart in your hands forcing you to stare embarrassingly at the mess.
Probably the least important part of the burger itself are the sides. Paired perfectly however the sides may help improve the eating experience. When we’re rating burgers sides will hold little weighting but are nonetheless included in our reviews.
When all of these come together we believe a burger becomes grater than the sum of its parts; like some sort of beautiful meat synergy. From this we then calculate or scores that decide our rankings.