While deliberating the Declaration of Independence, John Adams wrote a letter home to his wife Abigail with his own declaration of sorts, writing that freedom from the King “…ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.” Surely the bit mentioning the importance of eating grilled ground beef patties on such a day was lost from the historical record.

On July 4, I spent the evening celebrating independence as all self-respecting, meat-eating Americans should. I ate a charcoal grilled burger. Considering the lengthy commute to the homeland, I settled on the ironic destination of the UK, specifically Bukowski in East London’s Boxpark, where outdoor seating, fine ingredients and (ususlly) appropriate cooking temperatures collide.

But on that fateful Independence Day, our patties were sadly scorched way beyond our requested temps, robbing them of their characteristic juiciness, an affront tantamount to taxation without representation. It was a sad day for Hereford beef, all meat patties, and indeed all Americans at the table.

When a burger place does me wrong, I am usually in no hurry to return. But for logistical reasons, my next evening’s meeting was moved to Boxpark, where we stressed the absolutely necessity of a rare cooking temp on our burgers. Once again, they arrived overcooked as the autopsy shot below demonstrates.

We found temporary solace in the crispy, streaky bacon and pungent Colton Basset Stilton. But nothing can substitute the flavor and texture of a rare and bloody burger. I believe Thomas Jefferson said that.