Coast Cooking

Coast Cooking: People will do just about anything for a good cheeseburger

"I'll gladly pay you Tuesday for a cheeseburger today." That's what Wimpy said in the “Popeye” comic strip, right? 

To those of us who really do love cheeseburgers, we will go to almost any length to get one when the mood sets in. Perhaps not panhandling, but close to it. 

If you think about it, an unadorned burger is a pretty sad affair, isn't it? Who would eat one without condiments at least? No one, I suspect, but the perfect crowning for a burger is cheese. 

The real question is what kind of cheese? Almost any cheese would be good, but there are two that stand out to my way of thinking. Cheddar and Gruyere, but not just any variety will do. 

A great American artisan cheddar and a Swiss or French Gruyere are at the top of my list. The best American cheddars are bursting with flavor and the Gruyere is the undisputed king of all melting cheeses. Here is the way I would make it.


1 pound 80-20 ground beef

Best locally baked buns I can find

Sliced red onion

Vine ripe red tomatoes

Two thick slices American cheddar per burger

The burger should be grilled on a wood or hardwood fire, and not overcooked. The buns must be toasted on the same fire, and the burger garnished with the cheese and returned to the fire, and covered so the cheese melts just right and takes on a little smoky flavor. As always, serve at once. 

A special note: If you have the butcher grind the beef you want to turn into burgers, you greatly reduce the possibility of getting sick from rare or medium rare beef.