We talked all about the meat before, now I think it is only fair that we give toppings a good turn. We are not hot into the middle of burger season and though for some it is the perfect grill and meat that makes the burger for others it needs just the right toppings and bun to complete the ensemble of perfection.
Even those of us who really only care about having good meat might be surprised what a difference swapping up to a higher quality bun or adding a few thick slices of tomatoes at their peak can have. So for some of the most popular, and a few more exotic toppings read on and get the whole scoop.
The bun is an important start, so important that after trying to fit it all into this one blog several times I have decided to go with a overview and give the bun its own blog here soon because the choices are amazing. Some of our top picks to try though were potato buns, sprouted grain buns, and ciabatta bread cut to size for buns. Give these favorites a try for your normal burger and see how they pair up. Each has its own benefits and flavor to bring to the table. Or just see what the deli has made fresh that day, it can really take your burger to the next level.
Cheese please! I love cheese and even if I have no other toppings or condiments at all I want cheese (double cheese is better) on my burger. If serving a party try offering a selection of choices, some of the most popular are American cheese, Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, and Provolone cheese but don’t be afraid to step outside the box and opt for feta, bleu cheese, or even gouda. Pair up exotic cheeses with toppings they will go with and take the same burger in a dozen different directions, give it Italian flair, or Mexican spice, the possibilities are really endless and you can even center your burger around your party theme or vice versa.
Tomatoes are next on our list as one of the most popular toppings out there. If tomatoes aren’t your thing don’t worry, it is fine to skip them but if you are just looking to change things up a little, try grabbing some heirloom beefsteak type tomatoes from your local farmers market or even grow your own! Also there are pink, orange, yellow, and white tomatoes that in general have less acid and therefore less tang as they go lighter in color. Or if you want an even richer taste opt for a purple or green tomato. Something else that can help is to try a different slice thickness, if you feel the tomato is overwhelming, don’t hesitate to cut thinner slices or eat yours on the side.
Many think a burger is not complete without lettuce and I often agree, so long as it is not iceburg lettuce. I personally prefer a leaf lettuce that is deep green and satisfyingly crunchy with lots of fresh flavor to make the taste of my burger really pop. Not to mention it is very easy to top that burger with a full serving or more of vegetables and almost all of us need more veggies in our diets. For an extra special presentation of your burger try red leaf lettuce to make it extra pretty but with all the same great taste.
Onions are a tossup, some people love them and some cannot stand them. Keep your crowd pleased by offering them on the side in their own bowl. For pretty presentation you can serve up thick slices of mild flavored sweet yellow onions or go for a bit more bite with large gorgeous rings of purple onions.
Pickles come in so many varieties and styles these days it is hard to choose whether you want bread and butter or you really want dill and do you want them in slices, spears, whole or stackers? For burgers stackers work wonders as you get a little in each bite without having to put a dozen small ring slices on and you can even get them zesty if you are yearning for an additional kick of flavor.
Less common toppings but worth trying our are grilled fruit, mushrooms, corn, basil in place of lettuce, beet slices and even cucumber slices with bean sprouts. If you are weary of trying something new make it into a slider party so the burgers are bite size and you are not committed to eating a lot of a burger it turns out you do not enjoy.