It’s All About The Cheese

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by Wisconsin Cheese, in honor of Cheeseburgers Across America

Chatting Cheese and Cheeseburgers with Food Enthusiasts Across America

Name: Michael Ruhlman
Location: Cleveland
Occupation: Writer, blogger –

Favorite cheese?
Old deep, rich, sharp Cheddars, like Wisconsin Cheddars. The high-density fat content, complex flavors of aging, and the crystalline saltiness give aged Cheddar a little crunch and make it perfect to top a burger.

Ketchup, mustard, mayo, other(s)?
I’m actually a fan of ketchup and mayo mixed on top of a cheeseburger.

Grilled, griddled or broiled?
Grilled all the way. Always.

Preferred bun?
A Chef Michael Symon suggestion – the English muffin – the Bays English Muffins – found in the refrigerated section of the grocery store, are the best in the land. An English muffin is the perfect bun.

Tomatoes, iceberg lettuce, red onion. Ketchup-mayo mix in summer. Caramelized onions and mustard in winter. Sometimes a poached or fried egg, or a raw yolk on a cheeseburger straight off the heat.

And how would you like that done?
Medium-rare, or rare if serving with raw yolk.

What is your favorite cheeseburger in Cleveland?
The Fat Doug at Symon’s B-Spot. Swiss is the cheese and it tops not only the burger but also pastrami! A burger topped with pastrami, Swiss cheese and mustard for nine bucks cannot be beat.

What is one thing you learned about cooking cheeseburgers at the Culinary Institute of America?
How to season them properly! Burgers are often cooked with no, or not enough, salt. I like unseasoned meat shaped and salted far enough in advance that the salt dissolves and penetrates the meat.

I also learned to let the cheeseburger rest [after cooking], and commonsense stuff – like make sure the cheese is melted.