October 06, 2005 | Category:

Food, part 2: Burger Secrets

It was quite some time ago that, as part of an inebriated challenge, I made it my goal to significantly improve the plain cheeseburger. I have relatively simple tastes. If I’m eating a burger, I have the burger, some cheese and the bun. That’s it. Mayo or other sauces are out, leafy green crap (I believe we’re calling it lettuce these days) is in the bin, and gherkins… well, no sane person likes gherkins anyway. Nice and simple.

Some people don’t like that though. It’s boring, they say. Those people are wrong and missing out on the beautiful simplicity that is the plain cheeseburger. However, I did take them up on a challenge: to find an ingredient, a single addition, to make the plain cheeseburger rival a burger with the works in their eyes. It would be hard work, a lot of burgers would need eaten but, damn, someone had to do it.

I started where any sensible person with a knowledge of junk food would begin: the humble pizza. Yes, pizza. Master of toppings, mixer of random flavours. Ham would be cheating as it’s too close to a bacon cheeseburger. Pineapple was a bad idea on pizza, it wasn’t going to be better on a burger. Smaller. Sweetcorn!

Sweetcorn is an interesting vegetable. A lot of people really like the taste and the texture, the slight squirting sensation as your bite into the main section and the watery goodness inside. It is, however, a terrible idea for burgers. It just makes the taste seem an out-of-date lumpy. Bad.

Another choice: beans. Everyone likes beans. Juicy, tomato tinged and just the right side of “I’ve got some in the cupboard”. The beans were interesting. Although it did work to an extent, some couldn’t understand the bean/burger combo. The beans were dripping out of the side in ways they couldn’t stop, and more ended up on the floor than anywhere.


Another look in the fridge revealed something so simple, so lowgrade, so brilliant that it would have to work. And it did. The secret ingredient was barely noticeable but it tasted fantastic, the perfect counterpoint to cheese and the minced flavourings. What was it? Another kind of beef: corned beef. A slice of that in your burger and you’re set.

Challenge accepted and won.