The history of the humble burger is a fascinating and little known story, which is largely unknown and therefore very infrequently told. Fortunately for you, our lucky readers, as we entered a state that can only be described as burger based nirvana yesterday, we were visited by the ghost of burgers past. Today we can reveal that history, in the format of a bullet pointed list:
- Pre-History: As man emerged from the trees, seeking a more civilised way of living, a cleaner way of eating meat was needed. Urg, an advanced neanderthal man, living far ahead of his time, suggested that sandwiching meat between other meat seemed like a good idea. Sadly, as many ideas are, he was greeted with guffawing and sent to live on the outskirts of the forest.
- Mesopotamia: Skip forwards a couple of thousand years to the first civilised people. Here began the cultivation of cattle and crops and the re-birth of the idea of sandwiching meat between things. This time, Burg, a true forward thinker, suggested that people could slice cattle, so that it was easier to fit between other items. Sadly, due to bread not being invented, he only got as far as suggesting meat sandwiched between courgette, which no one could truly get behind, so the ideas was lost again.
- Roman Era: Fortunately for us, the Romans were a canny bunch, who thought of all sorts of stuff. From roads, to sewage systems and importantly to this story, the ciabatta roll. Mark Burgeris, a keen student of the history of food, looked back to his ancestors, seeking the perfect source of food. He quickly realised that sliced, or pounded meat could be inserted into the newly invented ciabatta roll and the perfect food stuff could be created. Sadly, his testing regime was too rigorous and he died on the toilet, taking his new invention “The Burgera” to the grave with him.
- The 20th Century: Again, many years passed until Ronald Macdonald, a washed up children’s entertainer from the good old U S of A, stumbled across an ancient manuscript of Burgeris’s in a cave whilst weeping into his clown wig. He dropped the a out of a general laziness and the modern burger was born. Queue a race to create the perfect burger, which has taken us through the pancake burger, the triple decker and the Kuro burger, to where we are now.
Nowhere is this history, more keenly observed and studied than here in Bristol, where at least ten thousand burger restaurants all jockey for attention and the keenly fought, but oddly never awarded title of best burger.
It seemed odd to some that nothing had been done about this, so seeking truth and justice, up stepped Natalie Brereton, queen of the Bristol burger and founder of the Big Burger Crawl. This incredible event, allowed mere mortals, such as ourselves, to rove around Bristol eating burgers, hoping to avoid slipping into a food coma, whilst hopefully helping others find their way to great burgers.
Food Type: Burgers, Burgers and more flipping Burgers.
Time and Day Visited: Between the hours of 12 and 6pm, we visited five fine establishments.
With: A lovely bunch of friendly faces, including me, Mr Chris Borrow and Mr Keir Moffat.
Cost: ££ out of £££££ (Incredible value for what we actually consumed, but we did spend a little more on booze on the journey)
Staff: All Wonderful, accommodating and friendly at each venue.
Squeezed = A tiny shipping container of joy, with indoor seats for just two lucky people.
Burger Theory = A large, family sized restaurant with relatively comfortable metal chairs and chunky wooden tables.
Buckland Burgers = A pop up burger stand, that roves around the festivals and foodie things of Bristol and beyond.
Bambalan = A family friendly venue, with an open grill, trendy tables and an awesome sun terrace (If that weather type ever occurs in Bristol)
Asado = A small, smoky burger joint, decorated with bright art work and foliage.
Crockery: A mix of metal plates and cardboard containers.
Thoughts: We throughly enjoyed our day on the Big Bristol Burger Crawl. There were times that we laughed, times that we cried and times that we almost hurled, but every burger brought something different to the plate. If it happens again, then we would certainly recommend that you get involved. Go follow them on Twitter @BigBurgerCrawl or follow Nat on Instagram to keep an eye out for the next one.
Here are our thoughts on each of the burgers:
Squeezed = A juicy, well seasoned beef patty that was perfectly seasoned and complemented by thick garlicky sauce and layers of cheese. Dirty, but glorious. I could have easily eaten a second, but that would have been an error at stop number one. If you go, then try the Reverse Cow Girl, its a strong contender for my favourite Bristol burger.
Burger Theory = Here I went for a chicken burger, the Prairie Girl. The chicken was crispy, moist and super well complimented by the mix of hot franks sauce and cool blue cheese dressing. Proper good. Burger Theory have such a strong collection of burgers that I think you would have to visit at least five times to full enjoy their stuff.
Buckland Burgers = Again, something different and it was a lamb burger. The patty was juicy and well seasoned, the bun soft and yet strong (but not ever so long). The only pity here for me, was the toppings, I felt the onion relish was too sweet to compliment the burger and this slightly distracted from the overall effect.
Bambalan = Oddly, I have never stepped foot in Bambalan, so it was nice to find that its a cool spot, with a wide range of great cocktails and food. They even do kids eat free, which is a massive win in my book. So I will 100% be back. Burger wise, it was a huge slider and the addition of gherkins a great shout, sadly, it was just a little bit too classic for me. My least favourite of the five. having said that though, both my burger eating buddies thought it was great, so might just have hit me at the wrong point of the day!
Asado = I have to admit that I was most excited about Asado. They produce pink in the middle patties that are soft, yet smokey and seemingly top them with joy irrelevant of the burger that you choose. Today, they were a little bit under their best and sadly even a little bit cold. However, I’ve been before and loved it, so gonna put it down to the difficulties of mass production (we were a big group of 25+!)
If I had to pick a winner from the five, then I would vote Squeezed. They are just right in the triangle of great patty, soft bun and expertly chosen toppings that wins the day for me, but all need to be experienced.