If you like your burger stacked, but don’t enjoy its carefully assembled toppings falling out and making a mess everywhere, we’ve got the guide for you.
As resident chef on The Marilyn Denis Show and founder of popular Toronto eatery Hey Meatball, Chef Rodney Bowers is an expert at crafting tasty burgers that won’t ruin your favourite shirt. Here are his tips in our handy-dandy guide for building your burgers the right way (for more in-depth instructions, scroll below the illustration).
(Infographic courtesy of Lisa Walker Creative)
Choose a super fresh bun with high moisture content. Chef Bowers likes a Boulart ciabatta or a soft brioche.
Tip: Steam, don’t toast. Heat the bun on top of your burger during its final moments of cooking; moisture from the patty helps the toppings stick, whereas toasting the bun enables them to slide.
Add sauces to both sides of the bun for optimal flavour, starting with mayonnaise, so the fat can settle into the bun.
Tip: Create a super-sauce mix with your favourite wet toppings; dice slippery ingredients like onions and pickles and add them to your sauce instead of letting them flop out your burger. Chef Bowers uses a mixture of mayo, Dijon, tomato paste, sugar and diced pickles; in a pinch, he recommends the classic “cowboy” mix of ketchup, mayo and relish.
A classic burger needs no more than lettuce and tomato (with lettuce on top, if you took a look at our infographic), but if you prefer a more adventurous array of fruits and veggies, cook them first to enhance flavour, remove moisture and improve sticking power. Grilled pineapple, fried mushrooms and onions, or even grilled tomatoes and romaine lettuce, are all good choices.
If you like extra meats (who doesn’t?), like bacon, place them directly on top of the burger.
Tip: Stick to a complimentary selection of toppings – lettuce, tomato and cowboy sauce on a classic cheddar cheeseburger; fried mushrooms, onions and Swiss cheese on a steak burger; grilled pineapple and diced pickled beets in Sriracha mayo for a nod to the Aussie burger (but go ahead and add a fried egg if you like to authenticity – and mess).
Grill or fry the burger to your liking. Here’s how we do it:
Tip: If cheese is your jam, add it while the burger is cooking so it melts into the patty — this improves its flavour, texture and stick-a-bility.
That’s about it! Promise you’ll think of us when you’re enjoying your perfectly crafted, squirt-free burger.