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2000s Archive

A Burger With (Homemade) Everything

Originally Published June 2009
How to make “The Ultimate Burger” and top it off with your own ketchup, mustard, pickle relish, and bun.

You know who you are: You traipse across town for the best whole-grain bread. You wait in line for cheese that tastes like the rich, green pastures of Normandy. You mail-order bacon. And the artisanal producers of these foods have shown everyone a different way to eat even a burger. Restaurant chefs have turned it into something decadent, but that’s not the point here. Deliciousness is, and that’s where skirt steak comes in.

It has an outlaw, almost bloody flavor—extravagant in its own way despite the modest cost—and if you love steak, that’s what you’re after. The ultimate burger demands the ultimate bun (it’s a matter of respect), one that is stalwart and virtually foolproof. You’ll see that’s not a problem. Now, you can spend a fortune on condiments, whether at the supermarket or at a fancy shop. But there is nothing like homemade. It’s hard to say why, exactly. The flavors are truer and more immediate. They’re also slightly less predictable, and that—along with the surge of emotion that accompanies the words I can do this myself—is exciting. Racy, actually. After all, variety is the spice of life.