The anatomy of food: Burger enlightenment. – Declan Bell

Photo by Finn Skagn on Unsplash

The burger is most beautiful coming together of meat and bread, always there for me, never dishonest, a true friend. Succulent, juicy, wholesome; there is no substitute for my good ol’ pal.


First date?

Last meal on death row?

I always have time for a delicious burger.

But… What I can not get my head around for love nor money, is how the holy grail of unapologetic, no-frills foods is so frequently fucked up.

The Problem.

Now, I’m not sure if its because I’m a food snob, or if people just don’t care about my feelings, but a crappy burger is sin; there is no need to ruin my day by serving up unjustified hatred.

Creating a perfect burger should not be a difficult task.

McDonald’s scrap meat-filled bun, complete with plastic cheese, paper-thin slither of Gherkin and off-centre splodge of tomato sauce is, regrettably, better than some ‘gastropub’ burgers I’ve been forced to add to my list of blaspheme.

If a franchise can please billions of people with a Big Mac, I would hope that any restaurant or pub would be able to deliver something that didn’t resemble a microwave slider.

I’m not after gourmet wagyu beef burger with 4 different cheeses, topped with rare breed bacon that’s been lovingly smoked over Ann franks pencil sharpennings.

I just want something that I can eat with my hands, taste some real flavour and sense just a little bit of effort.

The solution.

There is only one way to solve/avoid the crappy burger pandemic and that is to put yourself in the drivers seat.

The best burger is the one that you have woke up craving, shopped for the ingredients, methodically prepared, shaped and executed — a true muse of beauty.

Now even homemade burgers have a habit of flopping more than a jew joke at a barmitzvah, but this is inherently avoidable by getting your affairs in order and having some self-respect.

The components of the perfect burger.


A burger without bun is like a pie without pastry (which is a stew). Watching your weight or pretending to have an intolerance to gluten? Please do not insult the dignity of a burger by dressing one down bunless.

“My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t
My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun”
(Nicki Minaj: Anaconda)

Bun selection can make or break your burger experience

As a general rule, avoid anything too crusty and leave the floured baps for bacon and egg rolls.

Seeded buns are the classic, a more than acceptable vessel. If you want to up your game, however, it has to be brioche. Soft, fluffy and a hint of subtle sweetness; freshly baked with a golden glaze, brioche will hold its form and not disintegrate under the pressure of heavy-handed devouring, meat juices and sauces.

They’re in vogue for a reason.


Chicken burgers are good, lamb burgers a nice novelty. Vegetarian? Well, I’m yet to find one worth mentioning.

I am not in any way one of those people, who turn their nose up at anything vegetarian or the plant-based movement; in fact, I genuinely support it.

But… your Portobello mushroom burgers and cauliflower ‘steaks’ can do one. Quorn mince can also go fuck itself while we’re at it.

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