What Makes A Burger A Burger?

What Makes A Burger A Burger?

I want to know what a burger means to you.

Photo: Niklas Rhöse (Unsplash), Graphic: Sam Woolley

A “burger” is a simple enough concept – put a ground beef patty on a bun with some vegetables, condiments, and perhaps cheese (just kidding, cheese is always involved), and you’ve got a burger. But, like pizza, people have very strong opinions on what makes a proper burger, and – more often – what doesn’t, and I want to hear yours.

As always, I have questions:

  • Does a burger have to be beef? I’m pretty lax about calling veggie burgers and turkey burgers “burgers” as long as they have a proper descriptor in front of the word. Like, don’t ask me if I want a burger, and then surprise me with a salmon burger – the word “salmon” better be there to let me know what’s coming.
  • What is your favourite “alt-meat” burger? It is lamb.
  • What was the best “stunt” burger you’ve ever eaten? The Ramen Burger is very, very good, as was a burger I made that had doughnuts for buns. (Doughnuts are underrated as buns.)
  • What toppings are acceptable? I don’t go to crazy. Lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles are about as far as I go, but I will add grilled onions from time to time.
  • What toppings are unacceptable? Though I love it on pizza (and in gin), you better keep pineapple off of my dang burger. I also don’t care for avocado on a burger, because it’s just too much fat and all I taste is avocado.
  • What’s the best cheese? American cheese (the bright yellow stuff like they have at McDonald’s) melts the best, provides the perfect amount of creamy goodness, and is mild enough that it doesn’t detract or distract. I also enjoy blue cheese from time to time (when I get a wild hair), but that’s a whole different animal, as it basically is the opposite of American.
  • Which condiments make it on your burger every time? Mayo is always on there, followed closely by tomato sauce and mustard. Please do not put BBQ sauce on my burger.
  • What’s your favourite fast food burger? Though I lived in the land of In-n-Out for many years, I have to admit that Shake Shack is better. I also love McDonald’s because I am a trash person made of trash.
  • What about buns? I adore a steamed, white squishy bun, and find that most grocery store buns – both sesame and plain white – are fine for my purposes. Pretzel buns can be fun if you have a thicc boi and want to get fancy, but I rarely do.
  • Do you like a thick or thin patty? How do you cook it? Thin is in.

Per the usual, feel free to answer all, none, or some of the above questions, or just leave your burger treatise in the comments below. If you wish to get real shouty about burgers, now is your chance.

The Cheapest NBN 50 Plans

Here are the cheapest plans available for Australia’s most popular NBN speed tier.

At Lifehacker, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


6 responses to “What Makes A Burger A Burger?”