How to Honor the American Burger


While visiting a local grill with a friend this weekend, I ordered up what has become my favorite “eating out” entree… the burger.

It used to be that the steak was my first choice when eating out. It always seemed the manly thing to do. A good steak had always seemed the most elite of the meats – after all, it always costs the most.

After years of being disappointed in medium-rare steaks that never tasted tender as those I cook at home, I started ordering steak far less often. There was the chicken and shrimp phase.. since I rarely ate shrimp at home, and the occasional quesadilla, which has always tasted far less appealing than the picture on the menu suggested.

My conversion took place while eating out with my wife one night. Nothing on the menu looked enticing… until finding that very last page. It was all burgers and they all looked fantastically delicious – but I didn’t dare order a burger on date night, did I? The burger meals were all $10 or less and my wife was fixated on an $24.99 order of steak and shrimp. Ordering the high-priced entrees had become customary for Saturday night out with my wife.

Not this night. I hit the cheap food section and my burger epiphany was realized. I had spent far too many nights of trying to find the perfect menu item because I had believed the lie that the burger was somehow inferior – simply because it was the least expensive menu item and the more common food I indulged in at home.

That burger was sensational. There wasn’t anything on the menu that would have tasted any better. I informed my wife that I had foolishly neglected burgers while eating out for all the wrong reasons and I was going to get in the habit of ordering them everywhere we went. She gave me the all-expected “I could care less” shrug but I’ve been doing this ever since.

The burger, unlike a steak, is something that most restaurants get right. It’s rarely ever not tender and juicy and your options are unlimited. Want to add some bacon, cheese, onions, jalapenos, mustard, ketchup, onions or onion straws? Whatever you desire, it gets added to the burger and that ensures a fantastic meal almost every time.

If you eat out with The Mrs. a couple times every week, compare the cost of eating burgers with the cost of eating steak every time. You’ll soon realize that you aren’t just getting the best meal on the menu, you’re saving about a hundred bucks a month. That’s almost what I pay for gas in my car every month.

Eat more burgers while dining out. You’ll rarely ever regret your choice.

Making Your Own Burgers

The other wonderful thing about the burger is that it’s so easy to cook at home. You can make a manly burger in just minutes and they’re healthy!

Grilling a burger is the great American tradition. It’s not just the finished product but the whole experience of cooking outdoors that makes the cow patty the perfect meal meal. Soak up some fresh air, warm sunshine and watch the kids and dogs run around the yard. Life doesn’t get much better.

potato masher on a spatula flattening a burgerIf you’re home-cooked burgers don’t taste as good as restaurant-style, you haven’t learned how to cook a burger. Don’t be afraid to get a fattier cut when choosing the meat. You can always wash the extra grease off but it sure adds to the overall finished flavor if you cooking in it.

Don’t forget to flatten those burger patties out when you’re grilling them up. It adds taste. The puffed-up baseball burgers are never quite as tender and juicy. If you have trouble flattening your meat out, use a potato masher on top of your spatula. It works marvelously.

At the end of the day, the burger is still the great American meal. It’s perfect for casual lunches, sporting events or social gatherings. It’s filling, healthy and easy to fix. It’s easy on the pocket-book and quite frankly, I hope those restaurants keep thinking of it as the cheap alternative.

It’s time we gave proper respect to what is arguably the most delicious meat in the world. It’s time to honor the American burger.

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