One simple trick to avoid a “nothing burger”

I love the presentation of the to-go burger at Country Drive-In. But it’s missing salt.

I stopped in at Country Drive-Inn, a locally famous spot in Clifton Park NY, to pick up some food for a road trip. I ordered their legendary onion rings plus a cheeseburger. Couldn’t resist a nibble of the rings before I hit the road and they were as good as remembered, with a robust yet balanced seasoning. Then an atavistic instinct made me try my cheeseburger. And it was completely devoid of salt.

As a dad, I have often suffered through the bro-speration of watching another dad prepare burgers—on a school camping trip, cub scout expedition or back yard barbecue. The usual practice is to peel pre-formed Bubba’s patties out of a box and drop them onto a grill. How many times was a shake of salt or a proprietary seasoning part of this process? I can’t recall and after today’s experience, I’m thinking never.

Maybe the bro dad/prep team assumes you will season the burger to your liking. And indeed, at Country Drive-Inn salt and pepper shakers were available and I definitely partook. But that first bite is key, and it’s going to disappoint. Plus lifting the bun and digging around in the ingredients spoils the stage management of the burger. I don’t want to know how my sausage or legislation or burger is made, I just want to enjoy it.

I’m not demanding you heavily season your patty as a matter of course (though the fabulous Greek style salt at the original Burger House on Hillcrest is part of its secret). Just a shake or two of salt and a few grains of pepper to establish a flavor base.

Or look at it this way. Would you serve up a steak that was completely devoid of seasoning of any kind, including salt? I have ever had such an item. If you have, please let me know.

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3 Responses to One simple trick to avoid a “nothing burger”

  1. I actually think a lot of people do the same thing (nothing) to their steak before grilling it, and it’s a damn shame–they figure A1 sauce (or, you know, for the real heathen, ketchup) gives them the flavor they want. That said, living down the street now from Country Drive-In is a good problem to have. Those onion rings are pretty amazing and quite the serving size, reminiscent of the heap of fries one receives at “The O” (The Original Hot Dog Shop) in Pittsburgh.

    • Burnt My Fingers says:

      Do you get the standard size for $3.99 or pay $1 more for the large? I did the latter, but thinking it’s not much more onion rings than the standard size I got last time. Like it’s just, if you want to give us an extra dollar we’ll take it.

      • First time we thought, Oh, if we’re going to share we’d better get the large…and then it was like we were swimming in an endless pool of onion rings. So we’ve scaled back to regular since then, an amount that still seems like more than enough for two people. Or maybe we’re just being soft!

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