The Epic Burger Topping Restaurant Chefs Swear By

What do you top your burger with? Do you prefer plain beef, cheese, and ketchup, or are you the type to deck it out with everything in your fridge? America's favorite toppings were unveiled in a 2020 survey by YouGov America. Of the people who were asked, 74% liked cheese on their burger, followed by ketchup at 65%, lettuce at 64%, and tomatoes at 58%. Furthermore, most Americans prefer their burgers well done.

But sometimes, stepping away from the status quo can pay off, which is something chef Guy Fieri knows very well. At Guy Fieri's Flavortown Kitchen, burgers are anything but ordinary. One example is the bacon mac and cheese burger, loaded with the usual works in addition to the cheesy noodles, crispy pork, and "donkey sauce" with roasted garlic, mayo, and Worcestershire. Elsewhere in the country, chefs are serving up some of the best burgers in the U.S., like a cheesy bulgogi burger in Oregon and a green chile-filled creation in New Mexico.

Whether you're grilling at home or are out to eat at one of your town's best burger spots, it's hard to know which gourmet burger route (of many) to take. If you don't know what toppings to go for, a chef's opinion is a good place to start — and there's an unusual one the pros swear by.

Pork belly adds the ultimate decadence to a burger

In an interview with Eat This, Not That!, Boston-based chef Andrew Whatley revealed the burger ingredient you should opt for anytime it's available: pork belly. "The different textures and flavors mixed with the beef patty is amazing," he said. Former Food Network star Tom Pizzica agrees. Per Biz Journals, Pizzica has served pork belly burgers from eateries in Philadelphia and San Francisco, and according to Pizzica himself, his burger is the only one made of 100% pork belly.

If you'd like to marry the pork belly with traditional beef, though, Redditors prefer going one of two routes. You could sear some slices of braised pork belly on the griddle, cook your beef burger patties in the rendered fat, and place the crispy pork belly inside the finished burger. Or, grind up some pork belly to incorporate into your patty for a gloriously fatty pork flavor throughout.