What’s Your Top Topping?By Todd • Jun 5th, 2009 • Category: Burger Toppings
Thanks to society’s infatuation with all things extreme, you can now get a cheeseburger loaded with just about anything you can imagine. The more bizarre, the better. A burger sandwiched between two donuts? It’s out there. Hell, I’m guilty of contributing to the madness myself; my B.C.O.M.L. has two fried eggs and grilled cheese sandwiches on it!
But it got me thinking: if I could have just one topping on every cheeseburger I would ever eat from now on, what would I pick? It’s like picking your “Desert Island” movie list, or deciding between Ginger and Mary-Ann. What’s my Top Topping?
A few ground rules. The “cheese” and the “burger” in “cheeseburger” are givens. Let’s assume a regular bun, too. Leave the Krispy Kremes for another chat. And sort of like the Genie told Aladdin, you can’t wish for more wishes. So no topping your cheeseburger with another cheeseburger. ‘Cos that would obviously be the perfect topping, end of story.
I have also ruled out some of the more exotic choices. Chili, jalapeños, BBQ sauce, guac, ham… I’ve tried them all. But c’mon, I can’t pick one of them as the last topping I’ll ever have. Gotta stick with the classics here.
I now present my Elite 8 burger toppings, counting down to Numero Uno.
8. Pickles – I like cucumbers. I like vinegar. Put them together, though, and the result is simply vile. This is the very first thing I pick off any fully-loaded burger that’s put in front of me.
7. Tomato – Ever notice how on menus, that tomato slice peeking out is always big, bright, and firm… with a smattering of water droplets misted across the edge to show you how impossibly fresh it is? Ever actually have one like that show up on a burger? Me neither. They’re usually warm and limp, trailing that pulpy, jellylike goo all over everything. No thanks.
6. Ketchup – I’m sensing a great uprising even as I type this. But despite the torches and pitchforks some of you are reaching for, I just don’t like ketchup. Never have. Any burger of mine that comes with ketchup already on it also comes with a hearty side order of napkins so I can disassemble the burger and try to mop this stuff off.
5. Mustard – More napkins over here, please. Mustard is a fine addition to a chili cheese dog at places that do them well. But toppings #5-8, to me, just distract from the taste of the cheese and the burger.
4. Lettuce – I dated this girl when I was a freshman in college. She was older. She was a model. I thought dating her would be good for me, maybe make me feel a little bit more sophisticated, a little more grown-up. But it was just so-so. Didn’t add that much. When we broke up, I realized I didn’t even really miss her. That’s lettuce on a cheeseburger for me. You might as well just call it Cindy.
3. Onions – Now we’re getting somewhere. A nice bit of crunch is always welcome (I’m talking to you, Pickles and Lettuce), but at least bring a flavor that actually complements the burger. Personally, I love that slight tang and the way it stays in your mouth long after. My wife? Not so much. If I ever want to get lucky again, I simply can’t make onions my Top Topping. A third-place finish is respectable.
2. Mushrooms – Yes, please. The earthy mushiness of sautéed mushrooms really works nicely with the texture of the cheeseburger. Nothing wrong with a little mushroom gravy dripping down your chin, either. A solid runner-up.
1. Bacon – Seriously, was there ever really any doubt about who would win this thing? I mean, bacon on a cheeseburger is so good, it’s its own sandwich! No one ever orders a Tomato Cheeseburger. You can’t go anywhere that I know of and find a Mustard Cheeseburger on the menu. The Bacon Cheeseburger is its own entity, and rightfully so. Salty, fatty, crispy-yet-chewy meat… on top of more meat? I’m so in. Bacon improves anything you put it on. ANYTHING. You can’t say that about a pickle.
You can put a lot of things on a cheeseburger, and a lot of them are great. You can take most of them away, and it’s still great. But you can have the bacon from my cheeseburger when you pry it from my cholesterol-hardened hand.
So let the debate begin. What’s your Top Burger Topping?