The greasy sizzle of delicious meat on a grill is a staple of Aussie summer. But as everyone breaks out the barbecue grill, paper plates, and "Kiss the Cook" aprons, a debate older than charcoal briquettes rages in the minds of grillmasters everywhere, along with their hungry audience: Do you want a burger? Or a hot dog? ("Both" is certainly an option, but not for the purposes of this showdown.)
Vegetarian? I'm so sorry.
Both burgers and hot dogs can be prepared in quite a few ways, whether by grilling, broiling, pan frying, or in the case of hot dogs, boiling. Throw on some toppings like ketchup, mustard, pickles, and cheese, and you've got yourself a delicious, meaty entree that goes perfectly with an ice cold soda or a delicious beer.
Your traditional burger is a cooked ground beef patty in between two pieces of bread, like a bun or a roll. Of course, you can gussy it up with various accoutrement, including cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and other delicious toppings and condiments. It's hard to beat the flavour profile of a fully-equipped burger, but it might be hard to maintain its structural integrity if you're using only one hand.
Hot dogs are a staple of American culture - but there are plenty of fans Down Under too. A hot dog is a cooked sausage served in a partially sliced bun. Condiments like ketchup, mustard, and relish are traditional toppings, but cheese, pickles, chilli peppers, and bacon are also excellent additions that will supe up your dog. Sure, it's not as filling as a burger, but you're going to have more than one anyway.
Hot Dogs: Engineered to Be a One-Handed Beer Companion
Hot dogs are the more manageable of the two classic barbecue foods. While different types of meat may be involved, the general shape and composition will be similar. The cylindrical sausage shape and long bun make it ideal for one-handed consumption. They're a staple at sporting events, where you'll need a free hand to either hold a beer or make obscene gestures at the opposing team's fans.
Hot dog variations range from the tame to the downright preposterous. Your standard dog is paired with ketchup, mustard, and sauerkraut. More elaborate versions (like the chilli cheese dog) may require a hot dog tray to contain the additional toppings.
Burgers: A Two-Handed Helping of Deliciousness
There's a reason a cartoon show about a burger restaurant exists. They're great. It's hard to find something more mouth-watering to consume during a barbecue than a burger. The grilled beef patty, the toasted bun (if you're doing it right), and the assortment of delicious toppings all add up to a both nutritionally dense and aromatically appealing meal. Where hot dogs are usually grilled in the same uniform manner, you can alter your burger's taste depending on how rare you prefer to eat beef.
The actual components of a burger allow for a wide variety of permutations and variants that will appeal to nearly every palate. Bacon cheeseburgers, burgers with "the lot" and even Luther burgers (a burger with a sliced doughnut for a bun) are just a few of the innumerable varieties you can stuff into your gullet.
A burger's structural integrity is its weakness, and relies on multiple factors. Bun thickness, patty size, and topping thickness all add up to a food that will potentially be too tall to fit in your pie hole, forcing you to compress the burger or take multiple bites, pushing the rest of the meal either out the rear or sides of the bun. Two hands are usually necessary, meaning you'll probably need to take a seat while you chow down. Also, soggy bun bottoms are the worst.
Verdict: Burgers Rule, but Hot Dogs are The Perfect Barbecue Food
No one can deny the appeal of a delicious burger, no matter your dietary requirements. But in terms of outdoor barbecue fare, its composition is a double-edged sword. Hot dogs are the superior barbecue food thanks to the even delivery of both bread, beef, and condiments, all while using a single hand. You might not think it's that big a deal, but when you're walking around the park, beer in one hand, dog in the other, enjoying the beautiful weekend you've been waiting for all summer long, the answer will be undeniable. Throw a burger on the grill, for sure, but save a dog or two for me.