Welcome, dear readers, to The Takeout Draft, our recurring feature that combines our love of food, fantasy sports, and arguing on Slack.
Every week, we will select a topic of conversation from the food and drink world. Takeout staffers will then field a team via the snake draft format. After five rounds, The Takeout commenteriat will vote on who they believe was victorious in that week’s draft. At the end of the year, the staffer with the most weekly victories will select a charity of his/her choice that The Takeout will make a donation towards.
The winner of last week’s inaugural Takeout Draft, as voted by readers: Gwen Ihnat!
For our Week 2 draft, we have selected a topic close to our hearts: Best burger topping.
We randomly assigned an order for the draft via random.org, and the draft order was determined to be:
- Kevin Pang
- Gwen Ihnat
- Kate Bernot
- Allison Shoemaker
Kate Bernot: Let’s get ready to rumble
Kevin Pang: Ooh, first pick! I choose... American cheese. We don’t even order hamburgers anymore. We order cheeseburgers. And the perfect cheese is American cheese. It’s not as forward as say Cheddar, it melts well, it’s rich, it goes really nicely with beef. You can’t have a burger without American cheese.
Allison Shoemaker: Hard to argue with that
KB: Unless you’re a cheese snob.
KP: You’re up next, Gwen, with the second overall pick.
Gwen Ihnat: Lettuce
KB: WOAH, did not see this coming.
KP: LETTUCE IN THE FIRST ROUND?!
GI: Lettuce brings a delicate crispy crunchiness to your burger. Raises it to the next level. Adds a nice freshness and may be the only green thing on your plate. Interesting delightful texture. Lettuce is my go-to.
Also, I may be bad at this.
KB: It doesn’t taste like anything!
GI: It tastes like summer!
KB: Crunch is good, though. I will give it crunch.
GI: Think of what is going to add texture to your burger. Lettuce, man.
KP: Gwen, there’s nothing you’d want on a burger more than lettuce?
KB: No coaching, Kevin!
GI: As toppings go, it’s my number one
I mean, after cheese
AS: Lettuce is a utility guy pick, into it
KP: Kate, you have the next pick. I’m intrigued how you’re tackling this surprise development
KB: Yeah wow, my game plan is entirely altered. OK, I chose... bacon jam!
It’s both sweet and salty, fatty and acidic. Spiced, nuanced, glorious. And it doesn’t slip off your burger like bacon does.
AS: Man, that was going to be mine.
KP: Well Allison, you have the next two picks. Snake draft rules. Let’s hear your first pick.
AS: Well speaking of things we’re on record for loving
I pick mustard
I love a fancy-ass mustard
I love yellow mustard
Mustard is an indispensable condiment
KB: I’m learning so much about all of us, truly. Burger toppings are a window to the soul.
KP: What does mustard add to your burger experience, Allison?
AS: I mean, it’s mustard. It adds mustard to my burger experience.
Mustard is a wonder.
And in general, I like sauces/condiments on burgers because they also sort of act as a glue.
I don’t care for a sloppy burger
GI: With me, every burger is a sloppy burger. I have to cut them into eighths
KP: And your second round pick, Allison, is...
AS: Let’s go with onions, and if we need a specific onion type, I’ll go with raw white onions.
I love a nice pile of caramelized onions but like Gwen, I also like some crispness
GI: Whenever I have raw onions I feel like I can’t talk to anyone for at least a week
AS: Even better, people are terrible
KP: “window to the soul...”
KB: Nice little cronch there.
KP: Okay Kate, you’re up.
KB: OK, I choose... mayo!
GI: I approve this pick with my whole heart
KB: Little tangy, little rich, little creamy, a lot fatty.
You could argue my bacon jam burger needs no further richness, but I will hear none of it.
GI: No matter what that Drew Magary says
KB: Drew’s never attended one of my burger parties, so.
WHY DO YOU KEEP TURNING DOWN MY INVITES, DREW? Oh, it’s because of the mayo.
KP: Gwen, you’re up!
GI: Okay, back in the mainstream: BACON
KP: I can’t believe bacon fell to the 7th spot
KB: I would have chosen bacon even after choosing bacon jam.
GI: Like lettuce, bacon adds a nice texture to your burger, along with some solid deliciousness. Not enough meat on that burger for you? Just add some nice bacon, preferably black pepper-crusted, maybe some maple-izing, That’s a gourmet burger right there.
KP: For my next pick, I say: grilled onions
Caramelized into soft tangles, a nice golden color, sweet.
I think there’s no greater combination than cheese and caramelized onions on a burger.
KB: Aside from the fact that they take a long time, I am pro-caramelized onions.
GI: I can actually talk to people after caramelized onions, so: pro
KP: That being said, I really hoped bacon would fall to me, then I would’ve gotten the American cheese + bacon + caramelized onions trifecta, at which point I’d shut down the draft because I would’ve already won.
I also have the next pick. I choose mushrooms.
KP: It adds a different type of meatiness to the burger.
It’s got umami savoriness, it adds texture, it’s mushrooms!
A mushroom cheeseburger is delicious, too.
Gwen, back to you
GI: hmmmm, I am so torn
But I got to stick to a basic: ketchup
KB: Ketchup is nice in conjunction with other toppings
It sort of needs to be a supporting actor
GI: I find it really hard to eat a burger without ketchup. Even at White Castle, I ask for sliders with ketchup
I feel like as a Chicagoan I’m not supposed to like it but I can’t help it
This concludes my ketchup feelings thank you for coming to my TED talk
KB: As long as it’s not artisan ketchup...
GI: oh hells no
KP: Kate, your pick...
KB: Can’t believe we picked two types of onions already but only one cheese. So... Cheddar.
KB: It stands up to bolder toppings like bacon and barbecue sauce, whereas a more delicate cheese like Swiss would get lost.
It is also sort of glue-y, if you’re trying to keep toppings together.
AS: A very valuable quality in a burger topping
KP: Allison, you have the next two picks
AS: Okay, so Kate snaked my cheese choice, but I’m going to stick with the category and go with a nice crumbly choice: goat cheese!
I am fully aware that I’m going to lose, that’s fine with me
But I love goat cheese on a burger.
GI: I have never had that: too crumbly?
AS: Creamy, melty, tangy
Like blue cheese but not as aggressive
KB: Goat cheese on a lamb or turkey burger especially is A+
AS: Sometimes it’s spreadable, which is handy, but it works in crumbles too
GI: Could you do a boursin? so many thoughts for grill season
KP: Allison, what’s your round 4 pick?
AS: I’m really torn for this one, because there are a few classics still on the board, but I’ve got to go with another saucy selection and pick... barbecue sauce
KB: I was surprised that didn’t go earlier, honestly
AS: You can instantly make a lackluster burger taste a thousand times better with a good BBQ sauce.
KB: But so many good condiment choices
GI: always seems like a strange add to me, like the burger is asking, “hey, why are you not ketchup?”
I love a good bbq sauce, don’t get me wrong
KP: I love me a good Western BBQ burger (bacon + fried onion rings + BBQ sauce + cheese)
KB: TIL how much Gwen loves ketchup
GI: And yet, I don’t put it on fries. I contain multitudes!
KP: Kate, you’re up.
KP: I choose: pickles
AS: DAMN DAMN DOUBLE DAMN
KB: Necessary crunch, tang, tiny bit of spice and sweetness
Also, I could just eat them straight out of the jar.
By “could” I mean “do,” frequently.
GI: My son always takes his pickles off his McDonald’s burgers and I’m like, “gimme”
KP: Gwen, you’re up.
GI: Okay! Tomato
Like Harriet the Spy with her tomato sandwiches, I adore a tomato slice on my burger. In fact, my ideal lineup is ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato, cheese, pickle, bacon, done.
Without tomato, this lineup would be unfulfilled.
KP: Your “team” is essentially a BLT
GI: WITH A BURGER IN IT
KB: Two tomato products, bold.
KP: Okay, I have my last 2 picks.
I will go first with: Special Sauce
That’s right, McDonald’s Big Mac sauce. Thousand Island, but a bit creamier. Hits all the notes—creaminess of mayo, bite of pickles, sweetness of ketchup.
It’s an all-in-one condiment.
And for my last pick, I’m gonna throw a curveball.
We wouldn’t be acknowledging our site’s Midwest roots if I didn’t go with... butter
GI: oh lord
KB: A la Culvers?
KP: Culver’s is fine, but if you really want a butter burger, you go to Solly’s in Milwaukee
It’s an ice cream scoop of butter that melts onto the plate, creating a moat around the burger.
KP: Okay last pick for Gwen!
GI: Just trying to get that image out of my head, sorry
I am also going the curveball angle: onion ring
AS: A really solid pick. One of my favorite burger-as-excuse-for-toppings picks
GI: Who doesn’t want a nice crunchy onion product on top of their burger? Not me, brother
KB: For my last pick... Fried egg!
GI: YES! Bringing it all back around
KB: Sometimes I like a good brunch burger... get that bacon+egg combo going, oooo boy.
KP: Oh Kate.
KB: There is an unctuousness to the egg that no other ingredient can replicate.
KP: Allison, you have the final pick of the day! And it goes to...
AS: A-VO-CA-DO clap clap clapclapclap
AS: NICE AND CREAMY clap clap clapclapclap
GI: I was thinking about that one very seriously
I like that it has a cheer also
KB: Your song is convincing.
Your vote matters! Who won?