The perfect burger: an ode to summer

By Eleni Upah

When the temperature starts rising, nothing sounds better than pulling the grill out of its winter prison and cooking big, juicy burgers. Steaks are great, and hot dogs are a timeless tradition, but a burger is the food that says, “It’s finally summer.”

The hamburger was supposedly created in America in 1900, although it is named for Germany’s second-largest city, Hamburg. However it came to be, the burger has become an American classic.

The Big City Burger with cheese is one of the classics at Big City Burgers and Greens.

The Big City Burger with cheese is one of the classics at Big City Burgers and Greens.

The perfect burger is different from person to person, because there are infinite types, flavors and toppings to consider. You’ve got turkey and veggie, but what constitutes as a traditional burger? Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, ketchup and mustard have long been the standard toppings.

For this tried-and-true main course, step into the clean, white-walled atmosphere of Big City Burgers and Greens in downtown Des Moines. It looks more like an organic health food restaurant than a burger joint, but maybe that’s why you don’t feel quite so guilty biting into the delectable — albeit greasy — sandwich. Is it even possible to have a real hamburger without a little grease, though? Probably not a good one at least.

Cooked “medium to medium-well on a flat-top griddle, the burgers are a special grind mixture of chuck, brisket and sirloin — all Black Angus and hormone-free,” said Jeff Duncan, director of operations for Big City Burger, Dos Rios, Catering DSM and Temple for Performing Arts.

The first bite is what makes or breaks a good sandwich. Each topping should fill your mouth with the perfect combination of flavors. The Big City Burger with Cheese offers just that: a toasted bun adds just the right amount of crunch to complement the perfectly cooked patty, dripping with juice and topped with American cheese, sweet onions, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes and ketchup. The warm sweet onions give a mild but flavorful addition, sliced thin and sautéed to a soft texture that adds to the sandwich without overpowering it. Two special sauces made in-house also add to the flavor variety: the Big City Sauce and Steak Sauce.

And what would a cheeseburger be without its favorite side, the fries? Thin-cut and flavored with white truffle oil, Italian parsley and asiago cheese make an original favorite just a bit fancier — and much tastier. RELISH                 

Categories: The Entree

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