How to make the world's best cheeseburger

Photo by Robin Stickel on Unsplash

Two important food days in September are National Double Cheeseburger Day and National Cheeseburger Day. Burgers are one of the most versatile foods out there. You can load it up, you can have it plain, or you can mix and match condiments to your liking. You could eat a burger every day and never eat the same burger and toppings twice (unless you want to).

There is definitely no shortage of Best Burger categories on the internet. You can find just about any place in the country telling us who has the best hamburger or the best cheeseburger. I'm not talking about fast food chains such as Burger King or McDonald's, I'm talking about celebrating National Cheeseburger day at those local greasy spoon diners or anywhere that serves up the classic burger.

The Food and Wine did an article on the best burger in every state, Food Network gave their take on the top 5 burgers in America, Thrillist gave their input on 47 American Burger Spots, and even Today talked about the 10 Best Burgers in the US. It's hard to not take these publications seriously given their prominence in the food media industry. Maybe you agree, maybe you disagree, or maybe you have your own favorite burger joint, that's ok because I do.

I'm not going to put together a list to rank any burgers because that's already been done time and time again. Instead, I'm going to talk to you about cheeseburger (and burger) components. When you BBQ or grill your own burgers, you need to know what to put on it and how it should be put together.

What makes the perfect burger?

Photo by PK on Unsplash

The perfect burger is what you make of it. Sure there are people that will tell you that you have to have only a few toppings or that the burger should be thick and juicy but what makes a good burger starts with the meat. You can use 80/20 ground chuck but try mixing your ground meat with a little ground bacon or ground brisket. Add different meat for different flavors. For vegetarian or vegan burger lovers, you can go with plant-based burgers that are non-GMO or soy-free. The Beyond burger and the Impossible burger are making great strides in the burger market.

The best toppings to put on a cheeseburger

  • Lettuce
  • Onion
  • Tomato
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Dill pickle
  • Bacon
  • Cheese

When it comes to lettuce, it needs to have that crisp crunch and not be wilted. The onion should be cut thin because they tend to be very strong in flavor, the tomato slice needs to be a little thicker than the onion. I love mayo and tend to slather it on, which is probably bad but I can't help it. The mustard and ketchup are a must-have as well as dill pickles, bacon, and cheddar cheese (sometimes American cheese).

How to construct a cheeseburger

  1. Buns: Toast or not to toast, that is the question.
  2. The top bun always has ketchup and mayo. Sometimes I sub the ketchup for BBQ sauce.
  3. The bottom bun has a layer of mustard.
  4. The burger goes on the bottom bun.
  5. Melted cheese on the burger.
  6. Bacon on top of the cheese
  7. Dill pickle on top of the bacon
  8. Tomato on top of the dill pickle
  9. Onion on top of the tomato
  10. Lettuce on top of the onion

It's all about stacking the ingredients so they don't slip and squish off of the burger, which it usually does. Let's talk about the burger itself though. I do love a good smash burger because it's thin, has a great flavor, and has those crispy edges that add to the crunch. Sure I'll go for a thicker burger if the smash burger isn't available but sometimes it can be too thick. A quarter-pound hamburger is probably my limit because you have to factor in French Fries or my personal favorite, tater tots. Yes, I said tater tots. I still love the tater tots from my childhood and as a man of a certain age, I must have them. It's the crispy crunch outside and the soft mushy inside dipped in ketchup or ranch…but I digress.

Cheeseburger FAQs

  • When is National Cheeseburger Day? For those that don't know or may have forgotten (like me), National Double Cheeseburger Day falls on September 15th and National Cheeseburger Day falls on September 18th every year.
  • Where was the cheeseburger invented? The cheeseburger was invented in 1924 by 16-year-old Lionel Sternberger who was working in his dad's sandwich shop.
  • What type of cheese do you use on a hamburger? This is a big debate in the US. Most prefer American cheese but it is quickly followed by cheddar cheese.
  • What do hamburgers look like? You would think that all hamburgers and cheeseburgers are the same, but they aren't. While most are thick and round, some are square, and some are even hot dog-shaped.

No matter how you enjoy your hamburger, cheeseburger, or even your vegan burger, celebrate national cheeseburger day as often as you can, not just on its national day. Mix up the condiments and ingredients customize it to your liking. Just remember, National Cheeseburger Day can be celebrated throughout the year!

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