It would be an exaggeration to write, “nothing is MORE frustrating than…” but I think it is accurate to say that it is disappointing to see guests take our red 22oz squeeze bottles of ketchup and empty what looks to be 1/5th of the bottle over the top bun of their burger before taking their first bite. More than 50% of “first timers,” at Bang Bang Burgers do just that. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not trying to be a food snob. I love ketchup. Who doesn’t have ketchup in some form or another in their kitchen? Partly to blame for that is that we tend to think that ketchup doesn’t really go bad so that we keep the ketchup we bought last year in the frig and still use it today, but that’s another story.
The president of my culinary school, Ferdinand Metz was a certified master chef (CMC), had an MBA from Fordham University and reportedly at $750,000 annually was one of the highest paid school presidents in the country. He also had the great distinction of working for Heinz Ketchup Company to produce their secret formula for their crack level addicting balance of sweet, sour and salty flavors.
So this may be where I start to venture dangerously close to that line labeled food snob, but keep in mind folks that I only have good intentions here. Look, I truly believe that the reason many people soak their burgers in ketchup before they’ve even tasted it is because up until that point, most of the burgers they’ve eaten haven’t tasted very good. Ok, so before I go further, I want to sink up our burger expectations just a bit. I demand, (and so should you) that when I take that first bite of my burger, I should experience the following. The flavors I should taste will include buttery, rich, juicy, beefy goodness with some salty, smoky charred flavors that come off an open fire char-broiler. If your burger is going to taste that good, does it really need a layer of ketchup over every single bite, which is the result you get when you put ketchup over the top bun of your burger.
Now I’m not saying, don’t use ketchup. That sweet and sour combo you get from ketchup, once that hits your tongue pretty much instantly makes you salivate, and if you truly want to enjoy your food, it helps if your mouth waters. It has to do with breaking down food and then helping it to dissolve over your taste buds which enhances your ability to taste which is probably more analysis then we need on the subject, so I’ll just stop here.
Which brings me to the point of this whole article in the first place. Yes, make ketchup a seasoning and part of the burger experience but use it sparingly. I would suggest squirting a small mound of the stuff in a ramekin or on your plate/cutting board, and dip the burger into it before you take a bite. Then I would alternate between ketchup, no ketchup, some other sauce etc. and so on a so forth. In other words, vary the flavors that go into your mouth so that you’re not just tasting the same thing over and over again. Eating burgers is pretty much universal and for someone to be arrogant enough to tell people how to eat their burger can come across as stuck up and snobbish, but I do this for a living folks, so in the spirit of adventure and trying something different, I hope you give my suggestion a try. Happy burger tasting and I look forward to speaking with you again in the next blog post.
Thanks for reading.