What makes the perfect burger? Is it good beef? It should be good beef. Is there more to it? There certainly is. It’s a common question to ask chefs what their number one choice for a last meal would be. One out of two goes for a juicy beef burger. Why? Few things can check the boxes like a good burger can; comfort, satisfaction, and nostalgia. It certainly would be a fitting last meal to a life well lived, for you haven’t lived till you've had a great burger.
My favorite version includes a few essential components. Firstly, let’s talk beef. There is no getting around the need for good grade beef if you are to have a good burger. Too lean, and it can tend to dry out, too fatty, and you might end up with a greasy burger. Ground chuck beef, which comes from the shoulder of the cow and varies between 15% and 20% fat content, seems to win by consensus. Ground chuck is packed with flavor and will give you the juiciest burger possible! Seasoning and a little chili powder and paprika goes a long way to awakening the beef. You don't need much. Second, let’s talk bread. Here there is more room for experimentation, but the essential characteristics are to have rustic, sturdy bread, capable of holding the juices from the beef. My version includes a rich tomato relish, made with balsamic vinegar and sweetened with sugar. Just enough tart, just enough sweet, to greatly complement the rich burger. Finally, a little grated Parmesan lends its characteristic nutty, strong, savory attributes to complete the picture. Look at it, could anything be more beautiful? For my last meal, give me the same, I will die knowing I went out a happy man.