Take a look at these six burgers and tell me what they have in common:
They all look delicious, you shouted at the screen. I want them all tonight, you bellowed.
Both may be true, but focus on the buns: The buns in all six of the burgers have been disconnected, severed into two separate entities. The bottom bun shoulders the majority of the weight; the top perches precariously on top. It's shoddy architecture that reminds me of rock balancing, or a jaunty newsboy cap. To keep everything contained, you'll need a toothpick or a confident grip. Ingredients are bound to tumble. Your white pants are in jeopardy.
What's a neater way to assemble a burger and decrease the chances of spillage? Don't slice the bun all the way through. Instead, leave the two halves connected, as if they were a hot dog bun.
This isn't my idea: It's a signature move at Shake Shack, where they leave their Martin's potato rolls hinged. With the bun left whole, you don't have to worry about keeping the sandwich perfectly horizontal to your plate in order for sauces, cheeses, and vegetables to stay in place—when you tilt the burger to eat it, any on-the-run fillings will just fall into the bun cradle. Convenient cleanliness!
We were mistaken when we separated our buns in the photos below:
But it's not only the fillings that'll stay in their seat. In an Eater article on How Martin’s Potato Rolls Became the 'It' Burger Bun, Shake Shack's culinary director explained that the "small 'hinge' of bread [helps] better catch juices from the patty." Resist slicing all the way through!
You can still toast or grill the conjoined buns, but there is, of course, one major disadvantage. Cram a ton of stuff onto the bun and you'll risk breaking that delicate hinge when you fold it over. But burger purists—those adamant about not diluting the sandwich with all the hottest accessories (bacon jam, caramelized onions, potato chips, unicorn dust)—will be satisfied by the required minimalism.
So what do you do? Do you leave the burger buns hinged or slice all the way through? Tell us your preference in the comments below.