Making the Ideal Cheeseburger (Pizza) – Momofuku Peachy Keen

Making the Ideal Cheeseburger (Pizza)

Duke's mayo is involved, plus lots and lots of shredded iceberg

Nick Tamburo | Executive Chef, Momofuku Nishi

To talk about the perfect cheeseburger pizza, you need to start with the perfect cheeseburger. Here are the components.

First things first, the perfect cheeseburger is thin. We’re talking 4 to 6 oz max. We press ours onto a griddle to ensure maximum crispness. The griddle is key to retaining fat and moisture. If you grill your burger, you’re going to lose all that good stuff.

When it comes to toppings, I think one of the most important things is that it has to have a lot of pickles on it. Good pickles are key. We’re talking all-sour, very crisp pickles. It’s all about texture. This is how you’re going to cut through the fattiness of the burger.

The tomato is less important. You really don’t need a nice tomato—just something thin that adds a little wetness. (Personally I don’t like tomato at all, I prefer some raw or cooked white onion to add a little bite.)

For cheese, American is the standard. I actually like a mix of American cheese and aged cheddar. If you use aged beef on burgers, the aged cheddar really amplifies that flavor.

The last topping, maybe the MOST important, is the lettuce. There’s a lot of disagreement out there about the right kind of lettuce you need on a burger. A lot of people use bibb lettuce. Occasionally you’ll see romaine. All of these are wrong. They’re not hardy enough. It has to be iceberg—the king of lettuce—and in my opinion, it needs to be shredded. If you shred it, you make a bed of lettuce that you can get in every bite. Ideally, it’s also ice cold, so it makes a great counterpoint and offers up a bit of freshness. It provides a cushion to soak up all of the meaty juices.

For the bun, I like a sesame seed bun. We use Martin’s, which a lot of people will agree is the best. The potato roll is most common, but we use the “Big Marty,” which is a little larger and has those sesame seeds. It looks like all the buns you see in a cartoon or a movie.

Then, there’s special sauce, which is pretty much just Big Mac sauce—let’s be real, every special sauce in the world is an attempt to replicate Big Mac sauce. Duke’s Mayonnaise is what you want to use to make it, which in my opinion is the best commercially available mayo, and anyone from the South will tell you that.

A cheeseburger pizza is just all of that on a pizza. People have been putting meatballs on pizza for a long time. A cheeseburger pizza is not that different.