Cheese If You Please: Excerpt from Weber's Big Book of Burgers by Jamie Purviance

Chris Allingham

Staff member

Now here’s a topic that really makes us melt. A little dose of dairy can make beef taste beefier, spice tamer, and lean meats more luxurious. As with much in life, you get what you pay for, so shelling out a few more bucks for quality leads to superior results. There are really no bad cheese choices in our book, but below are a few of our favorites.

This no-frills standby is the best for pleasing a crowd. Many of us were reared on these individual slices of cheese ease.
PROS: Good melter; in-expensive; easy to find; mild flavor; will please the pickiest eaters
CONS: Can taste metallic or synthetic; lacks depth and nuance; can be melty to the point of messy
BEST USES: With all-American (that’s no coincidence) burgers and hot dogs to be served at large gatherings

The only thing sharper than a good aged cheddar is the knife you’ll need to cut it. This reliable cheese is frequently our first choice to top a burger.
PROS: Easy to find; universally liked; versatile; a great grater
CONS: The generic stuff can be waxy and flavorless; overheating or reheating makes it rubbery
BEST USES: With beef burgers; with any items that have Latin or South-western undertones

Nutty and sophisticated, this holey favorite is mild enough to delight the masses.
PROS: Great when baked or broiled; affordable; widely available; tones down big flavors; a nice alternative to American and cheddar
CONS: Some mass-produced types are flavorless; can be stubborn melters
BEST USES: With pork, poultry, or lamb burgers; with German-influenced hot dog and sausage varieties

Don’t you get fresh … unless we’re talking mozzarella. Mild and chewy, it’s unmatched
in its ability to melt.
PROS: The authentic stuff is a delicacy worth the price tag; melts beautifully; shredded varieties are easy to find
CONS: The mass-produced stuff is flavorless and chalky, as are low-fat versions; the real deal
is expensive
BEST USES: With anything Italian; with tomatoes or tomato sauce; alongside bold flavors

This Italian formaggio can take the heat, and likes it. Aged varieties can be quite sharp, while supermarket styles are much milder.
PROS: Soft and subtle flavors; great complement to bold meats and spices
CON: Can taste bland and forgettable
BEST USES: With dried Italian sausages; anything with “pizza” flavors (it’s a good change-up from the typical mozzarella choice)

Is it hot in here, or is it just the cheese? Studded with hot pepper flakes, the assertive, spicy pepper jack melts in an instant.
PROS: Packs a flavor punch; widely available; good melter
CON: May overpower subtler flavors
BEST USES: With any burger or sausage under the south-of-the-border influence; with leaner poultry burgers that lack flavor on their own

Pungent and piquant, this mold-injected variety can get the party started, or clear a room.
PROS: Loaded with flavor; varieties vary from sweet to knock-you-on-your-behind strong; complex, creamy, crumbly, and a darling of cheese aficionados
CONS: Can be over-powering; the good stuff is pricey; doesn’t melt well
BEST USE: With beef burgers

This wheel of creamy dreaminess is as indulgent as it gets for cheese lovers. The French long ago dubbed it “King of Cheeses.”
PROS: An instant statement-maker; mild and approachable, but still flavorful; very soft and melts with little effort
CONS: Difficult to slice; usually needs the rind left on to hold its shape, which might be unappealing to some; a little too ooey-gooey at times
BEST USES: On veggie burgers with walnuts; on poultry patties topped with a compote or chutney

©2014 Weber-Stephen Products LLC. Recipe from Weber’s Big Book of Burgers™ by Jamie Purviance. Used with permission.

Eric A

TVWBB Super Fan
My vote is for Blue cheese when I'm laying on the sautéed onions and mushrooms. a nice sharp cheddar cheese for a traditional burger (sliced raw onion, tomato, Pickle, Mayo and Mustard


Not a fan of blue cheese myself but the others are all favorite burger topping is some fresh sliced jalapenos coverd by a slice of monterrey jack then another slice of either cheddar or american. Doesn't get much better, especially since i go with 93/7 meat for my burgers in an attempt to make them a littel more healthy.