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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Burgers: Thick vs. thin

When it came to burgers, I never really understood what all the fuss was about. People were always over-the-moon about them, and Alex would order them at restaurants every single chance he got. I just didn't love them.

But then.

When we were in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I decided to give burgers a final chance. And the burger from Au Cheval blew my mind.

Why? The patty was thin.

It was a revelation. I'd never actually had a thin patty before. I'd only had thick patties, either on friends' backyard grills or at restaurants. They were fine, but sort of hard to eat. But this thin patty with good old American cheese and a squishy bun was mind-blowing. All the flavors combined perfectly. I finally got it.

So, I'm now a #1 fan of thin burgers and plan to devour many more in my future.

What about you? Thick? Thin? Somewhere in the middle? Neither? Martha Stewart Living has great recipes for both.

(Photos by Sang An for Martha Stewart Living)

141 comments:

Emilyluisa said...

Joanna, I'm sure you know but if you like thin patties you MUST try Corner Bistro...

A FANCY DAY said...

I am totally a thin burger kind of girl. I know it's the healthiest to eat fast food but Wendys seriously has a really great thin burger. So yummy!

DeeDee FF said...

I much prefer a thinner burger. I like to load a lot of pickle, onion, and homegrown tomato on it!
If the burger is thicker - then I only want it medium rare.

Kirsten said...

I much prefer thick burgers, as often the thin burgers I have eaten are not real meat.

I LOVE turkey burgers with spinach and feta cheese mixed in. DELISH!

-Kirsten
mylifetintedpink.blogspot.com

Emily said...

Thin burgers all the way! It's why Camellia Grill here in New Orleans has my favorite burgers of all time.

Charlotte said...

THIN! definitely, the thick ones are just a bit too meaty, the thin ones allow for the rest of the flavours to get a chance to shine

ElsaD said...

Hmmm...never thought about it that way! Certainly thinner ones are better...:)

Michelle said...

I like right smack in the middle. Not too thick, but not thin either.

Carly said...

Thin!!!! But is this a ladies' preference, I wonder?

RosieB said...

Thin all the way! Mmmmmm I love a burger, but it's so hard to find thin ones in the UK! Apart from at good old Maccy Ds, of course...:)

www.ciderwithrosiebee.blogspot.com

JeNifer said...

definitely thin! i haven't been to too many restaurants that will serve thin burgers. so when it does happen, i'm like YES! not only are thin burgers easier to eat, but if you like em medium or medium well, then it is much easier to cook than a thick burger. Plus, i feel like with thick ones its too much burger and not enough flavor of whatever toppings u choose. With thin, its perfectly balanced. :)

K said...

Have you never had In n Out when you guys have come to LA? Theirs are super thin and tasty.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree, they are much easier to eat and thus, more enjoyable. Which is why I also love ordering sliders!! Those are the best :)

LatteLove said...

you must not have had In N Out on your trips to California! They changed the way I thought about burgers.

Janssen said...

AGREED! I never enjoy a burger from a sit-down restaurant because they are always huge patties. In Boston, most places have fat patties, so we made it our goal to figure out where to find the thin burgers we liked.

(I discovered, while living there, that sometimes they are referred to as "east coast burgers" when they're thick and "west coast" when they're thin. Who knew?)

Paige said...

Do you guys have Smashburger in NYC? They make a thin burger that will change your life. And you have to have Smash Fries with olive oil and resmary seasoning. They are out of this world.

Carrie said...

Yes!!!! We went to dinner last night with friends and they were grilling burgers. I felt so awful for leaving half of the massive, thick burger on my plate but that's just too much meat for me.

Anonymous said...

I love that you visited places in Chicago that the locals love. Au Cheval is quickly becoming a city favorite and the burger is outstanding. Well done!

Ling Wang said...

That's why I love In & Out burgers so much! I seriously don't understand the appeal of a thick patty.

Manda said...

I'm picky with burger anyway-so thin patties turn me on. :) Less meat and more veggies! Enough to get some of that flavor.
Eat Cake

Melny said...

I second that notion on In'N'Out on the west coast....best thin burger you'll ever eat. Absolutely nothing is frozen, all handmade. Shake shack comes close, but it's no animal style cheeseburger from In'N'Out!!

kaitlin said...

Thin. And slathered with mustard before grilling, please.

Tiffany said...

Thin All.The.Way. I hate how patties are so huge most of the time and really wish more restaurants would go the thin route.

Ash said...

i am veggie, so i only eat veggie burgers- and they are pretty thin! i love them on sandwich thin buns instead of regular meat burger buns- too much bread!

Sarah said...

There is a wonderful chain that started in Denver called Smashburger (they're slowly making their way across the country so stay-tuned!). They literally smash the burgers so they are thin and crispy, but still juicy and delicious. I LOVE them and I go for lunch about every week (guilty pleasure?).

Meadow said...

I absolutely adore Big Macs from McD's. It's my guilty pleasure and my bf and I get them each week as our treat. Yeah there's more than one patty, but the patties are thin and I love it.

I too prefer thin patties. I won't discriminate if the patty is thick because I love burgers in general, but thin is the way to go lol.

Anna said...

thin patty + fresh lettuce, tomato + chevre = heaven....

The Bebebirds said...

I agree! Thin wins. The thick patties are difficult to eat and make for a very unattractive eating experience on my part.

Brooke

Anonymous said...

When your in California and order an In and Out Burger, be sure to order it "Animal Style".

Molly said...

Oh, girl. Thin is in. I found myself having a thin burger craving the other night and the Five Guys up the street satisfied it nicely. Give them a shot! I may or may not also go there because they give you free peanuts. Just saying.

Jasmine said...

Haha your last sentence made me laugh esp 'in MY future'!!!!

AVY said...

I think you have a point, but I like the brutality of a thicker one too.


/ Avy
http://MyMotherFuckedMickJagger.blogspot.com



chic81.com said...

Somewhere in between for me. With cheese and/or bacon or avocado or just with condiments. But, I also love a good tuna burger, a recipe I picked up from a Rachael Ray show one evening.
-Sonya

Heba said...

I think a thick one is better, its nice to have a juicy burger every now and then :)

http://girlynote.blogspot.com

Morgan @ xoxo, me said...

I'm a sucker for thin, but if a thick one is cooked right it can be delicious too!

Katie said...

Pitcher and Piano in the UK have great burgers. I finally ordered my first with onion jam. It was delicious. I don't just eat burgers for the meat. I want the whole package!

Sarah said...

My boyfriend and I made a short documentary about hamburgers called The Burgerlution. So I've had burgers just about everywhere you can in New York in every shape and size.

If you like thin burgers and you're in Jersey, try the burgers at White Mana in Hackensack. They're actually sliders which means onions (delicious) and they're really small so you can have, like, four of them. You'll love it! I'm salivating!

Write to Simplicity said...

Totally agree. Thin burgers are hard to find but I like them so much more. I always ask my husband to try to flatten mine on the grill.

gia said...

Thin! Thick is too much for me.

valerie said...

I saw that Martha piece and got really excited about thin burgers...seems like in Brooklyn, all you can get are the huge, thick ones. Tired of them! Here's hoping for a thin (organic, grass-fed) trend.

Erica Herold said...

Thin and crispy all the way. A la Culvers butter burgers. Best fast food burger :)

Aly said...

Extra thin! thick burgers are disgusting! too much meat!

Christina Marie said...

Thin, thin, thin! Just the thought of having to eat a huge chunk of beef in one bite is not very pleasing...

Christina
www.becauseofmadalene.com

Kate said...

Um, yes. Thick AND thin.

Ruth Martin said...

I agree, thin all the way! Thick burgers are too heavy, too much meat

Tragic Sandwich said...

I'd never thought about it in that way, but I'd have to go with thin, too--I think that must be one of the reasons I love In-n-Out so much!

Anonymous said...

thick! mostly because i don't eat grains, so i need more meat to fill me up! mmmmm HUNGRY!

Daniella said...

Thin is so much better! I agree! Those thick, "sirloin" burgers is just way too much to eat!

themondaybirds said...

THIN for sure! but i think it's because it reminds me of mcd's as a kid?

Marissa said...

In N Out will always be the winner in my book!

Alexa said...

thick, thin, doesn't matter to me :) have you tried shake shack? i'm hooked.

Margaret Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lost in Provence said...

If we are voting and I don't think we are but hey mine goes for the lamb and feta burger at the Breslin every single time. Madness on a plate.

Isabel @alphamom said...

I wonder if you would find the Shake Shack burger patty thin? I absolutely love the proportion of bun to meat to sauce.

Margaret Craig said...

Get yourself (and burger lover Alex) to Husk in Charleston for the BEST burger there is. Seriously. Get there. Cool city, too.

A close second is the burger at Holman & Finch in Atlanta (only served after 10pm and Sunday brunch..brilliant!)

Both do a combination thick/thin. Thin delicious patties but every burger comes with two. Best of both worlds.

Tiffany Taylor said...

I'm with you all the way! Thin is much better-- too much meat throws off the balance of the burger. My all time favorite thing to pair with a burger is a bowl of soup beans, thanks to my rural upbringing!

Joy said...

Thin burgers for the win! My family has this random round plastic lid that we use as a "patty form" for burgers - it makes perfect thin burgers with a bun-sized diameter. That's probably the thin I hate most about thick burgers - all the extra bun around the tiny fat burger. No good. I'm a vegetarian now, and I find that thin burgers work better for homemade veggie patties, too. :)

Aja Lake [the gold hat.] said...

i hate burgers. except thin ones (preferably, with a melty white cheese, mustard, dill pickles and onions)! glad you found your way:)

xx,
Aja Lake
the gold hat.

Meredith Grey said...

Go to burger and barrel in soho. Heaven in a bun.

Marjolein said...

Dear all,
I hate to be a party pooper, but I just want to point out how much water is needed to raise & feed the animal, that will be your burger. Did you know you'd save more water by not eating 1 pound of meat than you would by not taking a shower for 6 MONTHS!?

See the beautiful infographic here: http://www.culinaryschools.org/yum/vegetables/

I don't expect all of you to become vegans, but a meatless monday would help a little to start with.

Malia said...

I like them either way as long as they aren't charred hockey pucks like my parents made them growing up!

bisbee said...

I'm not that much of a red meat eater...BUT I love a good burger! Which, for me, is thick - I want my burger rare to medium rare, which is almost impossible in a thin burger!

Umami Burger in California is fabulous - specifically the Truffle Burger - yummy!

cianne said...

Joanna- I agree with the others, in-n-out is where it's at. Thin all the way! Next time you are on the west coast, do yourself (and Alex) a favor and get a burger animal style. You will thank us! :)

Aria Cole Asher said...

Margaritas AND burgers today?!? Your posts are after my own heart : ) I enjoy both thin and thick burgers as long as they are well-seasoned and juicy. Delicious.

Veritiserum said...

Thin burgers! Definitely!

Audrie said...

Not being from the States, I never understood the allure of burgers either. Then I moved to CT and tried my husband's favourite burger at Shady Glen. Thin patty and beautifully fried (sounds weird but it's soooo good) American cheese. Their cheese is so good that when they changed the cheese, there was a big uproar haha! It's back to normal now, so all is well in the burger world.

RuBee said...

Ive been vegetarian for 16 years but as a child I would only ever eat thin burgers! X

Sara S. said...

Thin is definitely best! I like thinner patties for the texture and nice outer crust. in nyc you'll need to try shake shack, corner bistro, and burger joint, just to name a few that do the thinner type...

Jaime Lee said...

In and Out Burger- Delish

Kipin Alexander said...

Double Steak Burger with cheese from Steak N Shake and you'll never look back!

stephanie said...

I'm a pescetarian so I only eat veggie burgers, but back in my meat-eating days a little over 8 years ago I ONLY ate thin patties. Thick patties grossed me out! A good (veggie) burger or (veggie) hotdog is one of my favorite meals. xo

Caitlin said...

If you're ever on the West Coast, remember these words: In-N-Out!

CortneyLynn said...

If you ever find yourself in Kansas City there is a wonderful gormet burger place called Blanc. I've never really been a burger gal but these... I LOVE these. Not thin pattys but I feel confidant that they will change your mind.

mary straton said...

I like a thin burger, too! You need to try Five Guys! It's a chain, but SO good! Zagat-rated and everything!

kt said...

I am also a big fan of patties of the thinner variety. Next time you're in Los Angeles, check out the Golden State. They have the best "midi" burger: not super thin or thick. It features beef from Harris Ranch off the 5 freeway, and includes arugula plus a couple strips of perfectly cooked bacon. It is quite delicious :)

June said...

I am a big fan of the thin burger - and having just recently moved to Kauai, I was thrilled to discover Bubba's Burgers, which serves 100% grass-fed Kauai beef in delectable, stackable, old-fashioned thin patties. Complete with a mayo-onion relish, onion rings and a gigantic dill pickle. *drool*

hayley said...

if you're ever in california, in and out has the BEST thin patties!

Anonymous said...

Au Cheval is a fabulous place!! The burger is great -- but so is practically everything on the menu -- what else did you eat there???

Kristina @ Sarcire said...

I'm definitely a "thin burger" type of girl, for the exact same reasons you posted! I read somewhere that that's why most people like McDonald's burgers- because it's perfectly sized.

And I agree with those saying that "In and out" burgers are the bomb-diggity!

xo,
Kristina

The Meaning of Me said...

Yes and yes - thick or thin, depends on the burger, the occasion, my mood. There is just nothing quite like a good hot burger. My one rule is always cheese, please!

I don't live anywhere near an "In and Out" and I am sad that I can not experience this phenomenon.

Brittany said...

You must try Shake Shack! Best burger I've ever had and I'm a burger lover. Sooooo delicious!

emkat28 said...

I definitely agree that thin burgers are where it's at (as long as the meat is real!). :)

Shelley said...

Thin all the way! How the heck am I supposed to even fit my mouth around those ginormous burgers?

Jeanette said...

A few years back I had MY FIRST real burger! I was stunned at how incredibly delicious they can be and how long I had thought otherwise.

kendra said...

im obsessed with burgers. i always want one.
there is a place in NC called Bad Daddies. They have the BEST burgers. I get one with pesto,fresh mozzerella and tomatoes. it is heaven.

Lori said...

I love that the burger at Au Cheval blew your mind. I kid you not I thought about it for days and days after I went.

Here's my Au Cheval post. Did you have any of the other stuff that I did!?
http://glorioffood.com/2012/07/02/auuu-yeah/

Jenni P. said...

Thin for me! Thick ones are generally hard to eat and tedious to me. However, the trendy burger in the Twin Cities is called the 'Juicy Lucy' where they put toppings in the middle - it breaks up the burger and totally makes up for the fact that they aren't thin. Several restaurants here have them, but my fave is the Blue Door Pub - especially their Bankok Burger (burger + Thai = surprisingly amazing).

junebug said...

Definitely thin burgers for me, and this summer I am completely gaga for turkey burgers. More flavorful? Juicier? Something. They're delicious.

Jennifer of JennySue Makeup said...

Thin all the way - less mess, full of flavor without being obnoxious to eat;)

Laura said...

Don't laugh but Steak n Shake is great for thin patties! (I used to love them before I stopped eating meat) Glad you liked the one you got in Chicago! :)

Anonymous said...

I know it's already been said but - In N Out burgers are kind of the perfect patty. Thin enough that even a lady with a smaller mouth can manage to snarf down a double-double (double patty, double cheese). And for a fast food place it's amazing how much you can customize the toppings.

Though if we're talking veggie or turkey burgers, I want those thick (thicker=juicier), like from Fatburger.

Keiko said...

Hi JOanna
I like thin patties as they are much easier to swallow. But this weekend, I hosted a small BBQ and we bought some Meat hook ground beef which is good quality patties and made some medium sized patties. It was as well delicious. I think I like thin only because it's easier to eat. I believe White Castle makes reallllyy thin patties but not so good lol

Pics of my the delicious burgers here: nykeiko.com

Sarah Carlson said...

I'm with Alex on this one. Being a tried and true Midwestern, I'll eat burgers, thick or thin. I love them!

R said...

Definitely thin! Although a huge restaurant piled with stuff is super appealing at times, I love burgers that you can eat without a fork and knife and actually just EAT the whole thing! This is probably why I am a Shake Shack devote...

moksha said...

OH MY GOSH! I wish I could have taken you to my favorite Burger place in Chicago! There are a few that I love, but the top are DMK and Paramount Room (an old speak-easy!)...maybe next time!

XO Jmoksha

Erin K. W. said...

I'm the same way! I HATE thick burgers, I don't understand why everyone loves them so much. I like burgers cooked a little more anyway and when they're really thick they're usually not cooked as well. So I love thin ones too!

VintageDanielle said...

Before I stop eating meat, I loved then burgers because then I was able to still taste the bread and other toppings so it was a flavourable bite each time whereas a thick burger bites were mostly just meat.

Clara said...

I'm with you, Joanna! All I want is thin thin burgers. Divine!

Kristen said...

Gross! But at least thin burgers might be healthier...

I have to admit that this post bummed me out, since I'm one of your mostly-vegan readers.

Denise said...

I am all about thin when it comes to my burger, and a little crispy on the outside is great!

Melissa Blake said...

THIN is where it's at for me! I thought i was the only one who had a hard time eating those thick ones...thanks, joanna!!

Anonymous said...

I probably prefer "thin," but I think this is probably because I'm not from the US and in the US it seems to be a thing to make things big and thick (compared with other places I have lived and eaten)! I remember being in Texas once and not being able to believe that I was being served a 16 oz steak as a single meal. :)

TayloreJazmine said...

Any kind of burger works for me, but my burger has to have onions on it, or it just aint the same. Chicken, beef, whatever, just put the damn onion on it.
mmmm burger...
http://missbitchxox.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Joanna! Next time you're in Chicago try the aged striploin burger at City Tavern in the South Loop. It was recently named Best Burger by Chicago Magazine.

Emmy said...

I looooove thin burgers. Jo, the next time you're in the Midwest again, you need to check out Culver's. I don't know if your family in Michigan lives near one, but you've got to go, because they have these things called "butter burgers" that are absolutely to-die-for... and incredibly thin and crispy on the edges!

Anonymous said...

I love all burgers!!

Trina said...

I don't eat red meat very often, but every once in a while (about every month and a half or so) I crave a big, red, juicy burger. If you like thin burgers better, maybe that means you like the char-to-meat ratio to be a little higher.

Kristen said...

If you're in California Bravo Burgers is a must!!! Patties on the thinner side, you will love them.

Anonymous said...

What? You've NEVER had a thin patty before? Was McDonald's never part of your childhood experience?

NosyRosie said...

Burgs are the best! I eat them wayyy more than any woman should. If you are ever in Ohio Swenson's is a MUST!

Stefania said...

Mostly vegan here, so I can't relate. When I want a burger I get Praegers California or Trader Joe's Masala burger.

{Liana} said...

Most definitely agreed! Thin patties make it easier to taste ALL of the burger -- the ketchup, cheese, maybe a pickle, the bun...and it's easier to eat:)

Caitlin said...

Shake Shack.

'nuff said.

:)

penelope said...

me too, thin all the way!

Tiffany and Jim said...

Thin, thats why I prefer In N Out to Fatburger anyday.

Kate Jones said...

I'm in love with In-N-Out, so I guess I choose THIN! http://katejones.me/

gratis total said...

I think is healthier, less meat and more vegetables

labergerebasque said...

PLEASE don’t state that you went to CALIFORNIA and did not have an IN-N-OUT burger?!!! THEY are the best in the WORLD!
IN-N-OUT is an institution, like the beach and Beach Boys, sunsets, the running of grunion, old Chevy Woodys, bonfires, barbeques…CALIFORNIA through and through.
It is what I miss most in France, IN-N-OUT and
Las Golandrinas, my first and last stop ...

Matthew Hoare said...

My mouth is watering at the shire sight of these burgers, for me it would have to be the thick burger. I don't understand thin....you get more meat in thick!

It just makes sense!

Amy said...

I like my burgers sans meat, with tempeh instead. We have the best tempeh in Michigan made by Rosewood Farms in Ann Arbor. The local pub has great tempeh burgers in addition to meat. Lots of onion, lots of mustard please! And a side of sweet potato fries!

Jenn Beck said...

Thin burgers definitely! Its all about that charred crispiness.

Meredith said...

I'm the same way with deli sandwiches- I always remove most of the mountains of meat they load on there so the flavors are more balanced out.
Also, Shake Shack is probably my fave burger!

Marisa M said...

I agree! I never liked burgers until I had a thin one at Five Guys and now I'm hooked! I think we went there at least 2-3 times a week when I was pregnant!

Posh Pearl said...

Speaking of burgers, the exec chef at McDonald's revealed the ingredients in their secret sauce of the Big Mac. Of course they conveniently didn't reveal the measurements of the ingredients.

Dawn, UK said...

As someone else said it's quite difficult to get flat burgers in a UK restaurant that isn't fast food, normally in a pub or sit down restaurant they are 'home made' fat burgers that taste too meaty and very difficult to eat. I have to say I have had soo many nice burgers in America a few i remember, Goodburger in NYC, Johnny Rockets, sliders (which is an american term and we had no idea hat it was first time we seen it) from McCormick an Shmidt (sp). My husband loves fat burgers, the bigger the better and loves Cheesecake Factory and a place in San Francisco that i think was called Wipeout at the Pier. All this talk of American restaurants is making me excited for our trip to Boston in September ;o)

Juliane Glasco said...

Thin! All the way Joanna!

Rachel said...

The skinny burger is definitley my favorite! I'll even settle for In & Out burger. I think the bun has a lot to do with if I like a burger or not.

casadesoria.blogspot.com

Julie said...

Thin burgers all the way. NOTE: if you make them yourself (I love to pan "fry" them in our skillet), put salt on the outside only -- don't mix it in with all the meat. Doing so will keep the inside of your burger nice and juicy, since mixing in the salt just dries it all out. We have homemade burgers and fries almost every week. I love it better than any burger you can buy.

the actor's diet said...

THICK!!!

Unless it's White Castle.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure there are a million recommendations, and maybe this has already been said, you might try Burger and Barrell on Houston. Thin-ish burgers and definitely awesome.

Lindsay @ Darling Clementine said...

Total thin burger fan, are you ready for this...

I slice mine horizontally if they come too big, I sometimes make my husband do it cause I'm such a dork. Oh and we joke that we should order me another hamburger bun!!!

Thin is the best, everyone is gaga over In and Out, they are thin and perfect!!

My 30th is on Sunday, and we're off to Corner Bistro for some delicious thin burgers!

Xx happy you have "seen the light"

Brittany @ The Aubergine Notebook said...

Well you know I love a good burger. ;) Shake Shack is still one of my fave's. Joy burger is pretty great too. I have had Corner Bistro but I found those to be super hard to eat. Delicious but quite massive! I think my next burger place to try is 5 Napkin Burger.

Life Style Loves said...

I don't discriminate! Some days call for a thin burger some a thick burger! I don't want one to feel left out :)

Alaina Buzas said...

Next time you're in Chicago you MUST try DMK Burger Bar. They have thin patties of grass-fed beef and each month they give a portion of their proceeds to a different charity. So delicious and a feel-good meal.

Alice said...

'Cheval'? was it a horse burger?

Hamilton Realtor said...

I'm not sure the thickness of the patty has as much to do with it as the combination of flavours both in the toppings/sauces and the actual construction of the patty.

The BBQ trend these days seems to be "pure" beef whereas my favourite burgers were always home made with loads of stuff in them.

The problem is the flavor of the burger is easily dominated by the toppings, even more-so with thin pattys.

Loris S. said...

I'd like to echo the words of many of us here by saying that it's time for another trip to California for an In-N-Out burger!

Molly said...

Sounds like you'd really enjoy a Dick's deluxe!
next time you're in Seattle you must try! and so cheap!

Lindsey Leitner said...

I prefer thin patties like the one's at Freddy's Steakburgers or somewhere in the middle like at In-n-Out. I love both of their burgers.

H-Burger is also pretty good in Denver!

christian said...

OMG!! I'M CRAVING FOR SOME BURGER,YUM YUM!!!christian women

trinaenriquez said...

Hey, you scooped Bon App: http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/badaily/2012/09/the-burger-at-chicagos-au-chev.html :)

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