Serious Eats: Talk

How should burgers be cooked?

I got into a little debate last Friday with my friend about burgers that got me thinking. He wasn’t a big fan of Ray’s Hell Burger cooked medium-rare with the au poivre preparation. He went on to explain that he was a “burger purist,” so he’d try Ray’s again without the mish mash - Just a “real burger,” he said “cooked medium well.” “Burgers aren’t supposed to be bloody.”

So I thought about my experience at Ray’s. I hadn’t eaten a medium rare or au poivre burger before then. Usually at bars or other burger institutions if prompted I ask for the burger to be cooked medium. It wasn’t until what I consider my “burger epiphany” at Ray’s Hell Burger that I discovered and appreciated the juicy and bloody goodness of the medum rare prep. After many blissful experiences, I crowned Ray’s as supreme in my books.

I made the trip to Ray’s last Saturday to introduce my dad to the ultimate burger. The convo with my friend made me order our burgers plain instead of au poivre to try the burger in its purest form. Unfortunately like my friend, my dad also didn’t get my love of the juicy medium rare patty as he picked it up, bit into it and the juices just made the patty and bun fall apart.

It made me think about how I loved the burger BUT didn’t like how the bread didn’t hold up so well to the juices of the patty. I had always pointed at the bread as the culprit.

As I watched my dad struggle with the burger it got me thinking – maybe it was the medium rare meat that was the culprit of the almost perfect burger experience! The unpleasant soggy effect does indeed hinder the whole experience.

Don't get me wrong Ray's Hell Burger is still the best burger I've ever had in spite of the bun. But maybe “Ray’s Hell” was wrong. Maybe their medium rare recommendation is just hindering their burger from perfection.

What are your thoughts? How do you like your burgers?

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