This should give you something to ponder over Labor Day Weekend. Dare we even say it might help inform your burger endeavors?
First, we asked some of our partner ranchers to paint us a picture of their perfect burger meal, complete with preferred cheese and optimal side dish.
Becky Harlow Weed, Harlow Cattle Company, Spanaway, WA
Becky Harlow Weed, the one-woman-show owner-operator of Harlow Cattle Company in Spanaway, Washington, likes her burger cooked to medium-rare, with sharp cheddar cheese on top; and on the side, a lightly dressed, old-fashioned potato salad “and a homemade dill pickle, of course.” We’re not debating you on that one, Becky. In fact, we strongly support the motion.
Paul and Kristin Uhlenkott, Cottonwood Ranch, Front Royal, VA
The Uhlenkott family is more of the American cheese persuasion, though cheddar will do just fine, too. They’re onboard the medium-rare train just like Becky. And the perfect side to their perfect burger? Baked beans. (You had us at bacon crumbles, Uhlenkott family.)
Megan and Jarett Brown, Tussock Sedge Farm, Bucks County, PA
Megan and Jarett have a friendly disagreement on their preferred cheese to dress the patty. Megan goes provolone, while Jarett leans American. (We're confident they'll survive the rift.) Medium-rare is the name of the game for both of them; and as for the best side, well, that depends on the season. If sweet corn is in, it's burgers and corn, no contest. But when it’s not the season, Megan likes to fall back on fries. Don’t we all, Megan.
And then, we just had to know -- what about our customers? A group that loves burgers so much must have some pretty strong opinions on the matter, right? The curiosity was killing us. So, we took the only logical course of action.
We made a burger survey.
Here are the much-anticipated (at least by us) results.
Medium-rare and medium sweep the floor.
There’s no contest with this one. Crowd Cow Nation likes its burgers somewhere about just shy of medium. (Although this writer is proudly with the medium-well folks. We know what's up, don't we, 11%?)
And as for cheese, cheddar is the winner.
Cheddar wins the cheese game, but the difference here isn't quite as stark as with the cooking level. Members of Crowd Cow Nation clearly have different preferences -- no cheese got left in the dust. That's a pretty reasonable outcome, given the fact that there are so many delicious dairy delights with which to do justice to awesome ground beef.
And worth mentioning: Among our favorite “other” responses: "Creamy-melted blue cheese." Mmm. Keep talkin’, anonymous burger savant.
Happy Labor Day weekend!