Does it matter where the tomato and the lettuce is placed, does it matter if the lettuce is placed above above or below the patty, where does the chutney work best? For years we have layered our burger with a buttered and toasted bun, ice berg lettuce, aioli followed by the tomato followed by the meat, then caramelised onion, followed by a great cheese and finally some chutney with a buttered and toasted sesame bun on top. We asked the question as one bites through the burger, layers of flavour is exposed and pop one by one, releasing moments of happiness as this happens. We needed an experiment. It is time for change!
I ask these questions after we did a trip to Stellenbosch last week, where I possibly had one of the best burgers to offer in the Western Cape, possibly one of my top ten burger experiences. Bertus a good friend of mine at opened a small burger joint, De Vrije Burger. I studied the assembly of the burger, with a burger patty at the base, followed by cheese, leaves, tomato and thin slices of red onion with slices of cucumber pickle. The sauce was a smoky chili sauce. I liked the idea, as the salad does not get squashed by the patty, the juices do not spoil the salad.
Need to consider a possibility……we did a trial with everything in reverse to what we normally do. After cooking and eating, we like the way it eats, like the look. But the biggest down fall is the juices running into the base making it soggy. This will still need further thinking and tests.
Maybe a burger should be presented in two halves with fresh ingredients on the cap and the remainder on the base, leaving the guest in charge to assemble. This is an option. Perhaps we can leave the lettuce in whole pieces.
In the end of our debate and experiment we walked away only with two things, the possibility of adding red onion and changing our basting for now.