The beginning of summer is a fleeting yet glorious time of moderate temperatures, longer days, and an unparalleled zeal to be outside firing up the grill. That’s right, burger time is upon us. While we’d never throw shade at the tried-and-true American cheese, we’ve got a couple suggestions up our sleeves to really spice up your burger game.
Here are seven burger cheeses you need to bring to your next grill-out.
The Melter: Havarti
A mild, creamy Havarti is the cheese of choice for that spicy, barbecue sauce-laden beauty you’ve been dreaming about. Bring it all together with thinly-sliced jalapeños for an extra kick, raw slices of red onion, and some butter lettuce. If it’s not too hot, pair with a smoky stout, or if it’s a scorcher, wash it down with a Corona and lime.
The Alpine: Gruyere
Gruyere offers a salty, buttery, nuttiness that elevates the everyday burger into something memorable. Start with a 50/50 lamb-beef patty on an aioli-slathered pretzel roll. Slice up a ripe avocado and throw a fried egg on there for good measure. Instead of brightening up this burger with the toppings, opt for a citrusy IPA to pair.
The Big Blue: Gorgonzola
Whether melted on top or stuffed inside, Gorgonzola adds just the right kind of tang to your backyard bash. Fire up the grill and throw down these Sirloin Burgers with Fig Preserves for an unforgettable afternoon in the sun. Sip a glass or three of a deep-hued rosé or a Marlborough sauvignon blanc to compliment that salty-sour blue.
The Subtle Softy: Brie
On a cool summer night when you’re craving an ooey-gooey situation, with juices running down your arm and a stack of napkins by your side, lunge for the brie burger. Top this borderline sinful creation with salted heirloom tomatoes, arugula, and a healthy smattering of pesto. Then squish it all between a brioche bun. For sipping, play up the luxe lifestyle with a full-bodied red Burgundy.
The Stinker: Stilton
To truly embrace the funk of a good stilton, don’t fuss over too many toppings. Keep it simple with a well-seasoned beef patty, grilled red onions, sauteed mushrooms, and fresh baby greens to leave you completely satisfied. And when enjoyed with a smoky porter—oh baby! This stinker can’t be beat.
The Classic: Cheddar
The versatility of cheddar allows you to build on the American classic—think lettuce, tomato, pickle, and onion. But for a slight twist, substitute the pickle and onion for raw or pickled radishes and swap your lackluster iceberg for a heap of herbs like cilantro and parsley. Lastly, a tomato chutney will take care of the bland-and-watery tomato problem while acting as an elevated ketchup. If you’re a Miller Lite fan, do you. But you could also try this twisted classic with a bright weissbier instead.
The Trio: Taleggio, Toma, Gorgonzola
This burger puts everything you love about a cheese platter into one beautifully messy package. The sweet, salty, sour, and umami accoutrements are balanced by the stinky, the mild, and the tangy cheeses that are stuffed, spread, and melted in every orifice of this fine assemblage of goodness. And honestly, pair it with whatever beverage you’re in the mood for. You deserve it.