Say Cheese!

Aunt Millie's Cheeseburger Buns

On a perfect burger, the cheese inevitably melts into the bun until the two are inseparable. That means you better have a good bun, one that can receive the cheese without absorbing the cheese. You don't want a hard bun that repels the cheese. That just makes a mess. And you don't want a bun that gets soggy at just the suggestion of a burger. That's another mess. 

Enter the Aunt Millie's hamburger bun. First of all, it's tasty. Too often buns are just a delivery vehicle for a burger's other ingredients, but an Aunt Millie's bun brings a smoothness that is a presence on the flavor stage without overpowering its burger cast mates. Secondly, Aunt Millie's buns are just the right consistency: soft enough to welcome the cheese but firm enough to keep your hands clean for the entire time it takes to savor the perfect burger. 

Your bun decision is easy so let’s talk about cheese.

For some people, in the same way that burgers have Aunt Millie's buns, burgers also have cheese, no questions asked, but to make the lines clear, we also have in the English language, the term “cheeseburger” to distinguish this beast from its cheese-less ancestor, the simple hamburger. For the purposes of this moment and the betterment of the human race in general, we will assume burgers have cheese.

The pressing question, then, becomes what cheese?

American is the classic choice, and not just for blind patriotism. Its yellow hue adds a pop of color against the brown of the burger and the white of the Aunt Millie's bun for a visually pleasing view as the sandwich sails toward your mouth, but more importantly, American cheese melts evenly and quickly. You can slap a slice of American on your burger just as it’s almost done on the grill, and—voilà—perfectly melted cheesy goodness spreads evenly over the surface of your burger.

But what if you want a more complicated flavor profile than American cheese can offer? Well, then the field really opens up because you can put any cheese on a burger.   

After American, the next obvious cheeses are Swiss, provolone, Monterey jack, and cheddar. Stepping up your cheese game just a notch, you’ve got Havarti, gruyere, gouda, and basically anything that will slice. Nothing will impress your palette and the palettes of your guests like the smooth yet distinctive flavor of gruyere. They thought they were coming over for burgers, but instead they got burger au fromage.

If you’re feeling confident, try branching out of the “slice of cheese” realm. Maybe put some chunks of brie or camembert on that burger. Maybe consider a crumbly cheese? Wait! Can one put crumbly cheese on a burger? Won’t it just roll off? It’s true that it takes finesse to get bleu cheese or gorgonzola or that wily rascal known as goat cheese to affix to a burger patty, but it’s worth it.

And you have that panache. You’ve mastered grilling the perfect burger, and now it’s time to put some cheese on it.