Burgers are as classic as apple pie — easy, comforting, and versatile. And while there's always room for a classic, experimenting with trendy toppings or styles is a great way to make your menu stand out and intrigue diners looking for something a little more worthy of the 'Gram.

Meat, Meet Quality

When it comes to beef burgers, it’s all about the quality of the meat. Wagyu is delicious, definitely, but can be a hard price point to swallow between a bun. The middle ground where the best profit margins lie can be with a blend of chuck, brisket, or even short rib. Instead of using trimmings, Braveheart Black Angus Beef® Gourmade Burgers blend whole muscle cuts of chuck and brisket, with just the right amount of fat for balance and juiciness in every bite.

Say Cheese

For many folks, a burger is just incomplete without cheese! We've all seen enough gooey cheese-pull videos to know that meltable cheese makes our taste buds crave more. While it's tempting to favor artisanal cheeses over melty goodness, a focus-group study by Schreiber Foods found that melty American cheese still wins for craveability and taste: the perfect ratio being 34% cheese per one quarter pound patty (that's two slices weighing in at .67 ounces each).

Going bigger? It's best to layer two quarter pound patties with four slices. Now we're talkin'! Cheddar and Swiss melt best at their early stages, so stick to mild varieties for burgers and save the aged and sharp for charcuterie. Jack varieties are also best for melting; spice it up with a habanero version, perfect when paired with sweet pickles or honey.

Smash Up your Style

It seems like there are infinite ways to cook a burger now, beyond simply the ol' grill. Use a sous vide with a reverse sear, and you can get a perfectly temped middle with a blackened exterior. Air Fryer, smoker, even pizza oven — the Internet has tried them all, but the technique that's taken TikTok by storm is the smash burger. A smash burger is made by taking cold patties and smashing them immediately on the flat top with a spatula, which quickly sears the outside of the meat, locking in juices and creating an addictive crispy crust guests will keep coming back for (that's the Maillard Reaction for you science lovers).

Test the Trends

With so many flavor possibilities, it’s a good idea to try a "Burger of the Month" or another rotating specialty, to test the market and see what really resonates with your patrons. Try the deli-style trend, in which seared burgers are piled with cured meats like peppered pastrami, mortadella, and finished off with grainy mustard and gherkins.

Or find ways to incorporate sweet flavors into your spicy or savory burgers. Bacon and onion jam, grilled pineapple or mango, and maple syrup can all round out the profile of a bite into something extraordinary and unexpected. International flavors are popping up on burgers as well: kimchi with pickled daikon, curry mayo and a chutney slaw, or even a Japanese twist with sake, soy sauce, sesame oil, and miso paste mixed into a beef blend.

Remember, there's always room for a classic, but being adventurous when it comes to burgers will pay off — as long as quality is part of the blend.

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