The Single Ingredient To Make Burgers Restaurant-Worthy

When you think about what makes a burger tasty, a balanced sauce, desired beef thickness, and tasty toppings might all come to mind. People can make personalizations however much they want, but once a burger has textural variation, it's ahead of the curve. After all, it can be highly disappointing to bite into a burger with flat and flimsy layers. That's why burgers require crunch. To get an expert's perspective, Mashed spoke with Sherry E. Cardoso. She is the culinary director of Patti Ann's in Brooklyn, which serves comforting Midwestern food, and 5 Acres restaurant at Rockefeller Plaza.

What's the key ingredient that gives burgers a restaurant-worthy crunch? Cardoso explained, "At Patti Ann's and at 5 Acres we have two different burgers that have a lot of texture. At Patti Ann's, it's a smash burger with shoestring fried onions, and at 5 Acres, it's a Wisconson burger with a thick sliced onion ring." So if you're used to making ho-hum burgers at home, striving for textural balance can boost their quality. According to Cardoso, the onions "provide a lot of crunch and a delicious contrast."

Adding crunch requires creativity

Fried onions are a reliable way to give your burger a crunchy dimension. However, they are only one of many routes the toppings can take. A satisfying crunch and unexpected pop of salt can come from a small handful of crushed potato chips — an ingredient that needs no preparation. So as long as it's thoroughly cooked, bacon is a great source of texture that will enhance the burger's meatiness.

Burgers can benefit from the natural snap of raw onions, crispy iceberg lettuce, or cole slaw, but pickled veggies are another crunchy category to pull from. Pickled cucumbers are among the usual suspects, but to make a burger feel even more like a specialty menu item, opt for a less typical topping, like spicy kimchi or tart sauerkraut. Additions like these can maintain a crunch while introducing an acidity that fresh veggies cannot provide. When assembling your next burger, always remember that crunch makes a difference.