According to Technomic’s 2011 Burger Consumer Trend Report, nearly 50% of men, women and children eat at least one hamburger per week – and it is proof that, indeed, the American contemporary classic retains its status as the nation’s most beloved food. Younger consumers, however, aren’t content with the usual fast-food burger, as well as they should be considering the range of choices.
The choices can be impressive, if not overwhelming, from vegetarian and vegan burgers to gourmet and deconstructed burgers. These burgers aren’t inexpensive, unlike the McDonald’s burger of your grandparents’ time, because of their high-class interpretation, ingredients, and presentation.
But this begs the question: Are gourmet burgers even worth the dollars paid for them? Yes, of course, they are but you have to find the right ones that will suit your personal preferences and budget. You should also come into gourmet burger-centric restaurants, such as Umami Burger, with your eyes wide open.
Think of Them as Treats
Gourmet burgers mean gourmet prices – and, as any fan of dining out will tell you, it means more expensive prices than the typical fast-food chains from McDonald’s to Burger King. If you’re a cash-strapped college student, young professional, or family man, then Umami Burger, Smashburger, and In-N-Out Burger may not be the best places to take your family and friends for a dinner of burgers and sides.
But this isn’t to say that you can’t treat yourself, perhaps with a few of your family and friends, to a gourmet burger experience once in a while or when your budget allows it. You will love it and think that it’s well worth the money spent. You may even never see burgers in the same way again, even make constant comparisons between the bland taste of fast-food burgers and the balanced flavors of delicious gourmet burgers.
Customized Burgers Are Yours to Enjoy
The more expensive price is also justified by the customization options offered by gourmet burger restaurants. The customization method differs from one restaurant to the next but the ultimate goal is the same: To ensure that the ingredients, even their preparation, in the burger are according to your personal preferences. You may, for example, prefer a medium-rare steak on your burger combined with grilled pineapples, romaine lettuce, and sweet piquillo peppers with mayo and mustard.
With increasingly stiff competition, the restaurants are also offering more creative ingredients in an effort to attract a wide range of customers, especially the adventurous ones. The choices in the meat, for example, range from the more conventional all-beef burger patty to the more uncommon seared strip steak and cow and kangaroo meat combo. The non-meat fillings can include dried seaweed, oyster mushrooms, and fermented fish – anchovies, anyone? – because chefs are constantly seeking way to tickle the diners’ palate.
Indeed, if you’re looking for exciting new ways chefs make burgers, then gourmet burgers are your best bets. At the very least, your palate will be exposed to new flavors – and more often than not, you will love the new flavors and textures. You may be able to make your own customized burgers at home but chef-inspired burgers are another thing altogether.
The Difference Lies in These Things
Beyond the creative ingredients, there are four things that differentiate the best gourmet burgers from the competition.
Highest quality meats are used.
While fast-food chains will not admit it, their patties are made of the lowest quality cuts from cows resulting in bland ground meat that must be heavily seasoned to make it more palatable. This isn’t so with gourmet burgers. Their patties are made from high-quality meats, eve from Wagyu beef, aside from the wider range of meats available like turkey, salmon, and vegan.
The use of high-quality meats will make a difference in the overall profile obviously. The patties are more likely to be juicier, more tender, and more succulent because their meats come from the best cuts.
Fresh vegetables, herbs and spices are usually added.
Wilted vegetables, such as the lettuce and shredded cabbage, and dry tomatoes are common in non-gourmet burgers. But with their gourmet counterparts, the vegetables will be fresh and it will show in the crispy crunch, the fresh taste, and the vibrant colors. Many of these restaurants have local farmers supplying them with organic vegetables and fruits, too.
The buns are the first thing that customers notice about hamburgers so it makes sense that gourmet burgers should have the best buns. The best gourmet burger-centric restaurants make their buns on site according to their own recipes on a daily basis instead of relying on bakeries for the bread.
Burgers may be ordinary food to Americans but gourmet chefs elevate them to extraordinary levels. The proportions of the ingredients are perfect so the flavors come out balanced with the meats neither being overwhelmed nor overwhelming the cheese, vegetables and bun as well as the dressing.
The next time you want to enjoy a burger treat, go for a gourmet burger! You will love the food and the experience that comes with it.