Hamburgers are a quintessential American food. Though the name comes from the fantastic German city Hamburg, historians believe the hamburger came from German-Americans during the industrial revolution.
The origin of the food and the term don’t really matter. Since its debut over 100 years ago, the hamburger has become a staple of American food. It’s the go-to at diners and fast food restaurants, the perfect choice for a quick meal that’s hard to mess up.
In recent years, gastro-pubs and hipster restaurants jumped through hoops to perfect the iconic dish. Gourmet hamburgers appeared, with establishments racing to create the “best” hamburger.
Many created mouthwatering masterpieces which customers line up to get their hands and mouths on. However, some flopped.
Some restaurants ruined the easy sandwich. A user in the popular r/askreddit community wanted to know how. They asked members to share the things that instantly ruin a delicious hamburger.
You’ll understand if you’ve ever experienced a hamburger with one of these issues.
A perfect leaf of iceberg lettuce adds a satisfying crunch to an otherwise soft hamburger. Adding a fresh piece of lettuce to the bun seems easy after painstakingly crafting the perfect burger, but it’s astonishing how often restaurants mess it up.
“One time, I got a burger with terrible lettuce,” said one user. “It tasted like it came straight out of a lake.. from then, I avoid that place saying “they have lake lettuce.”
“They usually use iceberg, which doesn’t have a lot of flavour — it’s about the texture. If there’s no crunch to it there’s no point. It makes it worse,” added another.
Restaurant owners take note: choose fresh lettuce. The crunch is vital.
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The Wrong Egg
A newer burger trend sees a fried egg atop a burger patty. Sometimes called a breakfast burger or sunrise burger, the egg adds a morning feel to a traditional lunch or dinner food.
One user got a nasty surprise when ordering a breakfast burger at their local burger joint. They expect the traditional fried egg, or maybe even scrambled eggs, but what they got made the burger inedible.
“The monstrosity that came out had a quartered, hard-boiled egg on it,” they shared.
We agree. That sounds disgusting. But people love all sorts of seemingly gross foods, so who are we to judge?
Burgers make eating a meat patty with all the fixings easy. All the goodies are trapped between two buns, limiting the mess when you eat with your hands.
We love the idea of that perfect, easy-to-grasp burger, so getting something with sloppy buns that push that patty out the opposite end is a massive disappointment.
Some pointed out that a pushed-out patty is a user error, and if people knew how to eat and hold a burger correctly, it wouldn’t happen.
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Even worst than the slippery bun is the wet, soggy bun. A toasted bun prevents slippage and gives the sandwich some much-needed structure. It also adds a satisfying crunch to every bite.
However, many users said toasting depends on the type of bun. A brioche bun can hold its structure well without toasting, but a generic bun may need help. Others prefer the traditional steamed bun that creates a softer burger, but it gets super soggy if you don’t eat it immediately.
Too Much Sauce
Sauces like ketchup, mustard, mayo, and aioli are essential to a fabulous burger, but some restaurants seem to serve a sauce sandwich with a tiny bit of meat.
Sauces should complement the meal. When there’s so much sauce that it splooges out the other side or covers the taste of everything else, you have a burger fail. Too much sauce can also lead to soggy bun problems, which most people seem to hate.
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The bigger is better trend isn’t true with burgers. Mile-high burgers look great in photos and on television but are impossible to eat.
“Nobody wants to have to unhinge their jaw to eat a burger,” stated one user. We’re not snakes. If we can’t fit the burger into our mouths as is, it’s too much of a chore. No one wants to eat a burger with a fork and knife!
Most users agreed they’d rather have a wide burger than a tall burger.
A Thick Tomato
Tomatoes are a burger staple, but when the sliced tomato is thicker than the pattie, you may as well have ordered a tomato sandwich.
Thickness is not the only issue users have with tomatoes. Sometimes restaurants give you that hard middle chunk that’s impossible to eat, or the tomato melts into a weird waxy substance leaving only the plasticy skin.
Any of these tomato problems can quickly ruin a hamburger.
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Bits of Bone
Burgers should be made of processed ground beef, meaning they shouldn’t have any hard bone chunks.
Some restaurants either get bad beef or think it’s fancy to include bone in their burgers, but patrons are not impressed.
One user shared a traumatic story of finding a bone in their burger. “I bit into a burger over 20 years ago, and it had a bone chip in it. Biting into that (not expecting it) caused my tooth to crack,” they said.
Most admitted they won’t return to a restaurant if they find bone chips in their burgers.
When morphing a burger into a cheeseburger, restaurants should ensure the cheese flows with the rest of the sandwich.
“Imagine taking your first bite, and everything is warm and fresh, then your teeth hit a f***ing ice block.” exclaimed one user, highlighting how unmelted cold cheese can ruin a burger.
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Artisan burgers try to outdo each other but become overly complicated and too big. Do you really need a beef bun, chicken patty, fried egg, and donut on your burger?
One user said that restaurants that try to do too much with their burgers may be over-compensating for poor ingredients.
The best burger joints stick to the classics and do them well.
What Makes a Great Burger?
Do you agree with Redditors in this thread on the easy ways to ruin a perfectly good burger? On the flip side, what makes a great burger?
Consider the best burger you’ve ever had, picture it in your mind’s eye, hold it in your hands, and taste it. Now describe it so everyone can learn what makes a mouthwatering burger that people will want to eat again and again!
Melanie launched Partners in Fire in 2017 to document her quest for financial independence with a mix of finance, fun, and solving the world’s problems. She’s self educated in personal finance and passionate about fighting systematic problems that prevent others from achieving their own financial goals. She also loves travel, anthropology, gaming and her cats.