Hamburgers are authentically American, no doubt, and have spread internationally. Where else can you see a McDonalds in places as far as Brazil, China or France? So here in the USA we’ve become somewhat bored with the burger and especially fast food. We are looking at gourmet burgers and good burgers fast, but not fast food burgers. Some things are so simple, they should never be messed with.
Enter, the “Exotic Burger”. This is a burger not made of traditional beef, but anything from Buffalo to Antelope to Elk, even Ostrich. Ostrich? Wow. Wouldn’t that even be considered poultry? I understand turkey burgers, lean, less fat, and I can even see chicken or turkey “sausage” but some things, as I said, should not be messed with. If you are a vegan or non-meat eater and miss the taste of meat, don’t think a turkey patty or seafood or even vegetable sausage will fill your missing culinary desires. Its ok to be a vegetarian, in fact, its probably even a good idea. However, your body does need some form of meat, every month to keep your digestive system in check.
Now, I had the ostrich burger, outside of airline food, it was the most horrible thing I’ve ever tasted. I remember having to kill it with condiments and spices just to eat it. It was the same today when I walked into a Fuddruckers. It was by accident, literally. There was an accident on the highway and stopped me from going where I wanted to go, so I took the first U-Turn and thought I would go there because at that point I was very very hungry.
So, I went in there and see they have these “exotic burgers” and the header “are you game” (as in game meats if you don’t get that reference). However, farm raised animals fed a constant, consistent diet of anything is almost always not going to deliver a unique taste. But, in my moment of hunger, curiosity and adventurous spirit, I said to myself “I am at a chain, a franchise, let me go with something different to make it a unique experience”. Well, I did, and about the best thing about this meal was the pickles from the fixings bar. Thats one thing I’ve always liked, “fix it yourself” – I know this was popular with the Roy Rogers Restaurants, and I far prefer that rather than it all be slapped onto my burger with no care. This way, I can put as many tomatoes, onions or lettuce as I want, and always pickles on the side. Same as sauces or condiments.
The burger was only available in 1/2 lb – more than I can tolerate of anything, but I got it. In my opinion, a burger should be about 1/3 lb at most, but they deliver up to 2/3lb. Its a giant burger and an giant bun and this defies the “ratio” of burger to bun to condiment or toppings. No matter what the case, I took a bite and was immediately ready to trash the rest, eat the “all you can eat fries” and leave. The reason why they are “all you can eat” fries is because they only give you a half order, so if you go up a second time, you get a full order, and if you no self respect to go up a third time, you will basically get a “large” order. But this is just a marketing gimmick. In any case, I got up and went back to the condiment/toppings bar and got some chopped red onion, tomatoes, and a lot of horseradish sauce. This made the burger more palatable, and I managed to eat a little more than half with the fries and pickles on the side.
So with this, I am giving up on all “exotic” type burgers. I will stick to good old ground beef, Black Angus or not, once a meat has been farmed (meaning no outside “wild” elements) and has been ground up or even pulverized, the flavor is not going to be there and what little fat (if any) will be cooked, fried, or broiled away. I understand someone wanting a more lean burger to avoid extra fat. But why not just eat a smaller burger with a little more fat than getting a larger, leaner burger with more fat? Its like the person that goes to the coffee shop and uses skim milk but then puts 3-4 packs of sugar in, or the person that orders a bacon double cheeseburger, large fries but a small diet cola.
As stated in the past, the burger should be simple, we’ve over complicated it and even tried to turn it into gourmet, which is fine. But, when you want a burger it should be the very best fresh beef, hand ground and whatever toppings you wish, as long as it does not dominate the flavor of the beef or burger itself. It should be an equal balance of beef, bun and perhaps a tomato or topping. If you really need a half pound of meat, just order two quarter or 1/3lb burgers instead, this way you can dress one with grilled onions and cheese, and the other plain or with mushrooms or bacon.