How Do You Like Your Burger?

burgers-Chefsteps

Mmmm…burgers.

Here at ChefSteps, we have burgers on the brain. Our kitchen crew has been working hard on an upcoming project that will delve real deep into the matter. One thing we’ve discovered along the way: Everybody has opinions about this most American of sandwiches. Well, we want to hear yours. Do you like your patty piled high with wet and dry toppings, or more minimally dressed? Are you a year-round griller, or do you prefer broiling your burgs in the cold months? What are your feelings about fat content in the beef? Perfect melting cheese? Shake Shack vs. In-N-Out? Whatever. Share your thoughts here, and look out for the ChefSteps Burger class—coming your way soon.

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153 thoughts on “How Do You Like Your Burger?

  1. Big Green Matt

    Home-ground, 6-8 oz short rib patties, grilled over charcoal at 450-500F to 135-140F internal. Coarse grind, loosely packed, seasoned with k-salt and pepper on top and bottom.

    Toasted white bread (strictly a vehicle) with ballpark yellow mustard, maybe some red onion. Pickle (sweet or dill) on the side. Perfection.

    • White bread instead of bun. Interesting!

    • Get your butcher to grind cross rib roast/steak. This cut makes the best burgers.

    • Adam Altmayer

      60 % brisket
      40% shirt rib
      Salt and pepper.
      Seared in a flit top or pan.
      Milk bun
      Vadalia onion
      Yellow mustard.

    • A good burger starts with a good grind for me I like to keep it fifty sirlion and porterhouse that way I got an intense flavor and since it’s meat from a good grind just salt and pepper. Follow the Flavor Bible for a great burger. Make a batter that has club soda and egg whites folded into it and top the burger with the best onion rings ever along with havarti cheese.

    • Don’t grind, but handcut in small dices approx 4mm thick. Add artisan butter or melted beef fat, salt and mix. Form patties and grill. 10 times better than ground beef. Combines the tenderness of a classic ground beef patty with the slight chewiness of real meat. The meat flavor is also more intense.

  2. Currently I’ve been doing smash burgers in a cast iron pan. I’ll sometimes sous vide thicker patties. Only salt and pepper right before cooking. No other fillings or spices, ever. I have ground short ribs a couple of times but usually just use Costco Canada regular ground beef.

    For toppings I prefer a minimal amount. Almost always american cheese and bacon. One or two sauces. Usually ketchup and some mayo based sauce. Never mustard. Modernist Cuisine mushroom ketchup is really good. Shredded lettuce instead of a big leaf. If tomatoes then I slice them paper thin.

    Modernist Cuisine bun recipe is my go to one. Have yet to find a decent bun I can buy so I always make my own.

    Made a bacon, peanut butter, and banana jam one last week that was good.

  3. Jessica Voelker

    Here’s an answer from @MarioMarioper on Twitter
    “the meat has to have some fat on it, classic, let, tom, Swiss cheese, bacon light barbecue sauce, Mr, juice. All year round”

  4. Our current fav is home ground with 1/3 each chuck, sirloin, and pork shoulder. We’ve tried different seasoning methods but have settle on just a little salt and then we season during cooking. Still working on the rolls. Your brioche roll recipe is next on the list.

    • Bill,
      I feel like some people might scoff at the pork addition. Might be living on the outskirts of burgertown. But I love you for saying it.

  5. Micheal Simmons “Fat Doug” is pretty awesome. Sirloin,Brisket and Short rib.

  6. For a long time I had a set of guidelines for what I though the best burger should, and especially shouldn’t, be made of. Some of these guidelines were the burger shouldn’t be too big and especially not too tall, there shouldn’t be too many toppings, nor sauce; and the meat should be the centre piece of the burger. The bread shouldn’t be too soft, I prefer a slight tangy, sour bread for my burger to contrast the sweet flavour of the meat.

    For a long time I was convinced this produced the best burger, and still I agree with the majority of it. For a long time I thought the perfect burger could never be vegetarian, I couldn’t imagine a vegetarian burger matching the texture and flavour of a regular, simple, meaty burger.

    That is, until I tried a burger at a small burger chain in Amsterdam. Burgermeester has an option where instead of one large burger, you can have three little ones. Feeling adventurous, and perhaps to reaffirm my convictions I ordered a vegetarian burger along with my beef and lamb burgers. The result was unexpected, the vegetarian burger blew my mind. Whereas they hadn’t gotten the texture exactly right, the flavour was amazing.

    From that moment on I dropped my preconceptions about vegetarian burgers, and found myself craving them, something I could have never imagined before my visit to burgermeester.

    I have yet to try the CS vegetarian activa burger, but when I do I think that will make me a full convert. A follower of the vegetarian burger gospel if you will. When I can get both the texture and flavour right, a vegetarian burger will definitely rank amongst my list of best burgers, perhaps even top it.

  7. Patrick Lobbes

    A healthy blend of meat to fat, preferably from the tougher cuts of the animal. The burger has to be the same size as the bun, no one wants a bite of bun and no burger. The bun should also be toasted to help prevent it from becoming soggy. The burger has to be cooked no more than medium, any more than that and you start to lose flavor. A good, strong melting cheese is needed for a great burger. As far as toppings goes it’s all on what each person prefers. My final rule for a great burger is that if you can’t get yourself messy with it, it just ain’t worth it.

  8. 80/20 always a juicy burger. My husband like a garlic and Worcestershire sauce brushing before cooking. Brings out the beef flavor. We also marinate steak with this. Snarb sauce. Blue ribbon Mayo with ketchup and I add a McCormick salad seasoning for levels of flavor. American cheese ,of course, and shredded lettuce with very thin slices of ripe tomato.

  9. Big green Matt has the burger part down, but mustard and white bread? We can do better. Martin’s rolls, Carmelized onions and mayonnaise with cracked pepper.

  10. Ground chuck, generous salt and pepper, smashed in a blazing cast iron pan.

    I have been going through a pimento cheese, bacon, and poached egg phase this summer. My classic is american cheese on sunbeam white bun. Temp is 135 F.

  11. Home ground blend of flap/trimmed chuck/top sirloin. Cooked on a cast iron griddle heated by a gas grill pre-heated to ~ 600 f and lightly oiled. Martin’s potato bun with top scooped, both pieces lightly dressed with ghee and toasted on the griddle. Thinly sliced white onion pre-soaked in a baking soda infused water/sugar mix. Plochman’s yellow mustard.

    Techniques:
    Heston’s pre-salting method
    Generic smashed patty

  12. 1. A good crust.
    2. Not “overloaded”. You should get a little of everything in every bite.
    3. Something creamy (mayo and cheese), some salty (meat) and sour and crunchy (pickles).

    Here’s one a friend and me made earlier this week: http://i.imgur.com/qpISeYo.jpg

    Bakery bought bun, mayo, white onions fried in the burger fat, ground chuck (25% fat), “fake” cheddar cheese, pickles and honey-dijon mustard.

    • Jessica Voelker

      “You should get a little of everything in every bite.” Well said. Totally agree. Overstacked burgers are such a chore…but they look awesome on magazine covers.

  13. freshly ground beef with about 20% fat for paddies about 200g weight … grilled outdoor on the roast, or indoor in a heavy iron grilling-pan, only saltflakes & freshly ground black pepper after grilling it to medium… homemade burger buns shortly roasted on the inner side… and for personal choice several options: lettuce, tomato, fried bacon, some slightly brown cooked onions, cornichons, mountain-cheese from the alps… ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard, homemade BBQ-sauce, homemade cocktail-sauce…

  14. Course ground chuck with chopped suet tossed in. Pattied very thin and griddled crusty. Then the veg seals the contrast deal like on a BLT. Got to be iceberg. American cheese. Home grown tomato.

  15. Fat. Salt. Crust.

    Choose cuts to grind to get to the beef flavour you want. Oxtail, chuck, brisket, sirloin. They are all game.

    Style of burger defines what gets put on it for me and what size patty. Mostly simple toppings. For a grilled burger I go with potato bun and different topping – perfectly melting cheese, caramelized onion, pickles, hot sauce, whatever feels good. But as weather changes I prefer pan fried thin patties. Hard sear, major crust. Loosely packed meat. American cheese, pickled, onion, burger sauce, cheap white bun. Excellent, so tasty.

    Really looking forward to the class.

    • I’ve been playing around with chucks and oxtail combo (mincing the meat myself), and the 67-33 ratio of cutsgives a good base case for a tasty burger. I use sea salt only for binding, and form burgers around 2 cm thick and 10 cm diameters (requires around 200-220 grams of meat).

      • also, I’ve been making a blue cheese dressing that has generated good feedback from my friends: 25-30 grams of blue cheese,a tbl spoon of creme fraiche and fresh ground pepper melted together over low heat, constantly stirring (have been using the Norwegian cheese brand ‘Selbu Blå’ due to its melting properties, but sure there are other great alternatives). Gives a great, salty taste to the burger. And it goes brilliant with bacon 🙂

  16. I don’t care what the toppings are as much as I am concerned about the meat, itself. I want it made with a 75/25 blend.

    • Jessica Voelker

      Thanks for chiming in, Mark. Curious: What makes 75/25 so good? A lot of people have commented that 80/20 is the perfect ratio. Would love to know your opinion on what the difference is.

  17. I like my burger with a large patty, well seasoned and medium (pink in middle) a nice soft bun and Cheddar cheese minimally dressed, perhaps mayo, ketchup, pickle, and onion.

  18. Nice and thin with lots of pepper just before cooking.
    Then always serve on a brioche bun, always have to have saucy onions on them

  19. Angus beef burger with 15% fat, at room temp and Monterey Steak Seasoning sprinkled on right before they hit the grill. Grilled at 450 until medium with a bit of medium rare — but not dried out and over done. Then add thinly sliced white onion, yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish and slice of tomato. Maybe some American cheese that has melted over the burger while it is still cooking. Maybe some lettuce if convenient. I grew up on cheese, green chili and onion in New Mexico but it is near impossible to get decent green chili here so I have had to Americanize my burger.

    For store bought there is none better than Whataburger here in Texas. Junior Whataburger all the way is the best around.

  20. I always feel like my palate is ever evolving, so I generally don’t have a set “type” of meat I use for my burger, but it MUST be freshly ground. I often look for a mix of meats like short rib, brisket, tips, sirloin or chuck (only if its exceptional in its marbling). Other than that, I love a good ground lamb shoulder. I never season inside the patty, only kosher salt on the surface. Being a baker, a homemade brioche bun with flaked salt is standard. Toppings are based on whim, really. I tend to be minimal and pick just a couple like onion confit, bitter greens and salty feta….or avocado, heirlooms and burrata. A favorite is goat brie, tapenade, dill-lemon mayo and red onion. The ONE thing that is standard in this equation…and I almost never falter, is it must be cooked in a screaming hot cast iron pan, and it must be medium-rare.

  21. Home ground (70% chuck, 30% sirloin), ground twice through large Kitchenaid die. Sometimes grind in bacon (home cured, 20% of the weight of the beef). Grilled over charcoal, garlic salt and pepper just before grilling, to about 130 degrees. Homemade bun, toasted and lightly buttered. Toppings depending on my mood, ketchup, lettuce, homemade spicy brown mustard, dill pickles for a classic burger. Sometimes go with guacamole and bacon (if not already in the burger), arugula and/or fried onions.

  22. There a 4 basics I look for in a burger:
    1. Good Bun: Whether it is pretzel, brioche or just a classic bun, good bread makes it or breaks it
    2. Complimentary sauce. You can’t have a burger without sauce, but it should never overpower the burger. I don’t want just ketchup or mayo on there either. I want flavor.
    3. Good meat / ratio. I like my burger with a thinner patty, so it is nice and juicy, while still cooked through.
    4. A Fresh Crunch. When there is not something refreshing on the burger I may enjoy the flavors, but I will leave feeling so weighted down I regret eating it. Lettuce, pickles, tomatoes all lighten a burger and leave you craving more.

  23. We use 50% chuck, 25% brisket, 25% sirloin 80:20 fat. Fresh grind. Loosely packed 4 ounce on flat top. Let it sit a minute or two then flatten. Get a good crust, flip, add cheese, serve medium in potato bun with special sauce, tomato and lettuce.

  24. Homemade: Pat LaFrieda Dry-Aged Burger Blend, heavly salted and cooked in a cast iron skillet, potato bun, american cheese, lettuce, tomato, a little mustard, ketchup and mayo.

    Fast Food Burger: 5 Guys Cheeseburger, all the way (mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickles, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup and mustard. ) Add Fresh Jalepenos and steak sauce. Sort of a giant mess but delicious. (dont forget cajun fries.)

    Drunk Burger: White castle cheeseburger sliders.

  25. lean ground beef (6oz), sourdough roll, bread and butter pickles, chopped lettuce, Tillamook cheddar, BurgerVille special sauce & ketchup.

  26. Steven McLoughlin

    Possibly the best burger I have ever had included the leftover trimmings of 9 month old dry aged steaks, this is how they sometimes make the bar burgers at Mario Batali’s Carnevino and it’s sister burger-only spot B&B Burger. For the ultimate gourmet experience vegetables should be at a minimum, lettuce, onions, and tomato are all optional because they interfere with the purist burger experience, but cheese is a must. Condiments are permissible, when chosen I like the inclusion of bacon jam, chianti mustardo, and pancetta instead of bacon (if bacon jam is not used). Gorgonzola may be the best cheese option after countless explorations, but blue cheese is a close second. If included, an egg on top MUST be a duck egg over easy – or just the yolk. MUST be on top, not the bottom… yolks must go top to bottom at all times or the burger experience is ruined ;-). MUST be a brioche bun, unless Taro Root buns are used – that is the only special exception permitted.

    For the ultimate “fast food” experience the best way to go is thin patties, but the toppings are free to be added “animal style”. Mayo is now permissible, mustard should be less spicy and more yellow. Catchup should be more british with a reminder of worcestershire sauce (see Modernist Cuisine for Home’s recipe for a taste profile example). Go to town with lettuce, tomato, etc… the lettuce may be shredded, this is the major textural difference between Shake Shack (my preference) and In&Out which is overrated in my book.

  27. Well I’m from Brazil and here our preferences regarding Burgers are a little different from US. Our main burger is what we call Cheese Salad or X-Salad here like we used to call (meat, tomato, lettuce and cheese), with a crispy bacon, often in slices. I’m going to quote Patrick here for the rest as I totally agree:
    “The burger has to be the same size as the bun, no one wants a bite of bun and no burger. The bun should also be toasted to help prevent it from becoming soggy. The burger has to be cooked no more than medium, any more than that and you start to lose flavor. A good, strong melting cheese is needed for a great burger.”
    Sauce should be Aioli, awesome, and standard Ketchup.
    Caramelized onions are also a good ingredient to add sometimes.

  28. No more overly stuffed burgers! The perfect burger is a delicate balance of bread to meat to toppings ratio.

    No thick patties! Thin or Medium patties all the way, with a respectable blend of fatty quality perfectly cooked meat. If you have to break your jaw to bite into your burger, it’s a gimmicky sandwich.

    I love a couple of carefully chosen toppings (not too many, you don’t want to ruin the delicate balance of bread to meat to toppings ratio). I would argue less toppings over all unless they are really adding something. Like crispy/crunchy bacon or fried onions or a gooey egg.

  29. Griddled and grilled are two different categories.

    Griddled: shake shack style. I grind chuck and smash them. I then use seriouseats fake shack sauce recipe. Lettuce tomato and cheddar in addition to the sauce.

    Grilled I prefer a bigger bun and more toppings. Smoky bacon, roasted jalapeños etc.

    • This is a good point.

      For ‘everyday’ burgers the griddles method using minced chuck is great.

      For larger, thicker (messier) grilled burgers I tend to cook them low and slow in my egg BBQ until medium. They get some bark and a smokey flavour. I crisp up the outside with my weed-burner to finish.

      Also, for variety, lamb burgers with Indian spices are very tasty – cooked either way. Strong flavour and nice fat content.

  30. Sebastian Ullmark

    In Sweden there’s a big wave of burger trending right now. Though I am familiar with quite a lot of burger science, I think the global burger scene would benefit from a little nor elaborating with meat blends. Pork and beef together can create variety of flavours and textures that beef alone can lack. It always seems like a sin, considering beef and burger purists, to blend. Given you want to create an ultimate tutorial on burgers, you should definitely look into it more!

    Cheers!

  31. Michael Karolitzky

    80/20, stuffed, dry rubbed and smoked a bit. Definitely bacon involved at some point.

  32. The perfect burger is BEEFY, with a steaky coarse grind (I like to layer sirloin, which hopefully stays quite rare, between an upper and bottom layer of short rib that gets a v hard sear requiring a flat surface vs. grilling). It is also JUICY/FATTY, I like to add in some bone marrow.
    In terms of accouterments, I do think caramelized white onions are perfect along with a few slices of pickle. I like a small spoon of Heinz below the patty but no mustard or mayo.
    Finally, the bun is critical. I am all about the Martin’s Potato Bun, though it would be perfect if they made it with sesame seeds.
    Here is a pic of my burgers on the fire. http://instagram.com/p/qaEeT0xvF9/?modal=true

  33. BBQ Bacon/Cheddar burger. 80/20 ground chill-no pressed frozen patties. Potato or Onion bun. Pretty simple but always been my favorite.

  34. Our burgers vary by season and mood. We do no like drippy burgers so we use at least 80/20 and mostly an organic 85/15. Light to no seasoning before cooking, hate having burned rub or seasoning! We use a wood fire brought down to coals, grill the burgers very hot and fast to sear and stay near rare, low oven to melt cheese and let rest briefly. We tend towards carb light so sometimes a Texas style pan grilled Italian bread base or no bun at all. Melted cheese is a must (havarti, cheddar, provolone) and the toppings vary. We make and love FireFood so most often we use our own Fiery Hot Red Pepper Relish and no other condiments. Other variations include caramelized onions and/or sautéed mushrooms or a warm crisp bacon pieces and chopped tomato topping or fresh lightly sautéed spinach with goat cheese or boursin or roasted red peppers when they are in season and roasted on the fire before the burgers go on… so many great alternatives! Looking forward to burger class!

  35. Jay Collinson

    First of all the patty has to be perfect ! Made from minced chuck and nice and big. Generous seasoning of salt and pepper (on the outside). Then seared and smoked on my weber with a chunk of hickory. 5 minutes before the end of cooking a nice stong Chedder and some motzeralla. In a nice bun and staked up high with loads of toppings ! Heaven !! God dam it I’m working a night shift now drulling over the thought for that !! I hate you chef steps !! Lol

  36. I’ve done 138F sousvide burgers for the last year, but I think I’m addicted to super crispy smashed burgers.

    Prep 80/20 into 2oz portions. Preheat a baking steel to around 650-700F on top of a grill or propane burner, then place two portions on the steel and smash with a trowel to about 1/4 inch thickness. Wait 30 seconds, then use a 6 inch putty blade (from a hardware store) to scrap up the patties from the steel. Really scrap it, this is critical.

    Flip, immediately season with S&P and add cheese to one patty. Wait 5 seconds then stack and remove to a potato bun.

    The meat is on the steel for 45 seconds max. It’s instant gratification, other than having to wait 30 minutes for the steel to preheat.

    Top as you wish.

  37. First and foremost it should taste like beef, not toppings or bread. My favorite combo is 2 smashed patties, American cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, burger sauce (mustard, mayo, dill relish, paprika) and a toasted/buttered bun.

  38. Umami’s Hatch Burger is a great example of a perfect burger. Quality ingredients, skillfully prepared, balanced flavor profile-nice and simple. Oh, and no ketchup-ever! Hahaha.

  39. The patty should be nothing but beef seasoned with salt and pepper.

    My only constraint for the bun is that it’s fresh and fits the patty. They should be almost exactly the same radius.

    You can leave the most of toppings off and let the beef shine through and I won’t complain. I do enjoy loaded burgers too, but the toppings need to yield easily to the tooth. A thick slice of tomato is no good. And if you put bacon on it, it better be cooked crispy from end to end. There’s nothing worse than biting into a burger an pulling out a whole strip of bacon because it was too chewy to bite through. Also, I think lettuce is overrated on a burger, but if you use it I think shredded iceberg is the way to go.

  40. My two favorites. Both start with 80/20, preferably range raised beef. The first has 10% by weight compounded pork back fat added, thick patty and dredge in corn meal. Pan fry in olive oil. The second has 7% bone marrow by weight, thick patty and grilled. Serve with great sides, who needs a bun!

  41. BURGER – 50 chuck shoulder, 30 sirloin, 20 short rib trimmed to about a 80/20 – course ground and LIGHTLY pressed into disc, (yes using one of those burger press machines) to insure evenness of cooking and not to overwork – keeping it loose. Seasoned with a mix 70 Lawry’s seasoned salt and 30 msg. Searing hot cast iron – right before first flip – drizzle a tablespoon of heavy cream into patty – flip and cook until 125 to coast to finished slightly above 130 – just above rare – right into medium rare.
    BUN – house made brioche if possible – thin layer of mayo on bun then grilled to a buttery golden brown – mayo to make it zing and the fat to keep brioche from going soggy
    GARDEN – ice water kept iceberg for refreshing crunch, your favorite pickle (onion to kraut), tomato when ripe, raw onion for pungency.
    CHEESE – gooey processed government cheese – so cheap it’s white – the kind without any coloring added.
    CONDIMENTS – mayo or ketchup – spread on the beef

  42. 70/30 ground mix of sirloin and short rib
    Slow cooked caramelized onions
    Martins potato roll
    American cheese
    Chefsteps Mayo
    Lettuce and Tomato optional
    If you feel like getting crazy cured, low temp cooked, thick cut pork belly

  43. Meat should be the main focus, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be creatively seasoned. Worchestershire sauce mixed in, along with some garlic powder, salt, and pepper does the trick.

    No skimping on cheese. Definitely don’t accept the packaged slice kind. Get a brick and pile it thick.

    Lettuce and tomatoes should add to the burger, but never should their flavor and volume exceed the beef’s.

  44. I like a grass fed Angus/ Wagyu blend. Double ground with final grind 1/8″ plate. Inch thick hand formed patty Seared hard in cast iron, rested in a warm place at med rare. Classic sponge bun, mayo, heirloom tom and American cheese melted on top (or a mix of cheeses processed with sodium citrate and formed into American slices) perhaps some iceberg for freshness and crunch.

  45. I’ve been playing with a short rib/ pork belly blend that has a real nice juice to it. I think the burger should be thick enough to hold juice but not so thick as to get overly crispy to achieve a nice medium. I prefer cheddar, brown mustard and dill pickles on a grilled potato roll. But the most important thing is nice dusting of salt and black pepper just like a steak.

  46. The focus of the burger must be the patty. The patty must not be diminished by toppings. It must be ground fresh (ideally chuck) after a short term dry-aging to remove unwanted moisture and preferably ground using a hand grinder, as grinding it by hand helps creates “pellet’s” of meat rather than cords (this is important for the texture of the burger). As few ingredients as possible should be added to the meat, the essentials being salt (for taste and its binding effect), pepper, and a dash of olive oil. Care must be taken in handling the ground meat so as not to lose it’s texture. You should be able to see each ground pellet in the patty (not just a big ugly mush). Pan cooked on medium to medium-high with minimal extra fat/oil (let the patty’s fat render and grease the pan). The patty prepared in this fashion will simply fall apart in ones mouth, but not in ones hands. The other ingredients don’t concern me, whatever the consumer likes, so long as it does not distract from the patty. I like some iceberg lettuce for the crunch and a relish of caramelized onions and mushrooms in a balsamic reduction to help cut through some of the richness of the patty. Ciabatta or brioche buns work well.

  47. 1/3 pork shoulder, 1/3 short-rib, 1/3 ground lamb, coarse grind
    Add a bit of fresh, finely chopped cilantro and shallot
    Smoke on the pellet smoker for 30 minutes, then crank it up to high
    Toasted brioche bun
    Top with Sriracha Mayo, tomatoes, charred onions and lettuce
    No cheese!
    No bacon!

  48. Short rib, Brisket and Chuck mixture. Square burger. Kosher salt, fresh cracked black pepper. That’s all it needs. Grilled. Buttered, toasted Texas toast. Cabot Purple Wax Cheddar, Heinz and my club’s charred corn and kirby pickle salad/relish. Medium rare is the right temp to get the wonderful fat melting. Love the ideas posted.

  49. Tim Sutherland

    … with the lot – fried egg (runny yolk), slice of beetroot, caramelised onions, lettuce and tomato (I am not in the pineapple camp as a general rule, but I will not not eat it if the pineapple is there).

  50. First to address the question…
    There are SOOOOOOO many ways to enjoy a good burger. For me, piling high is ok as long as it’s a classic American- leaf lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, AMERICAN cheese, etc.

    But burgers are so good at delivering a focused set of flavors. With that in mind, if the burger is made properly, then why on earth would we cover it up with a bunch of gobbledygook? Keep it simple and let the burger have a voice. Such a great vehicle to deliver a succinct thought.

    My technique…
    For me the right cuts are chuck, brisket, sirloin. Short ribs are, of course great, but the cost… not so much. A great piece of chuck is the “flat” or “denver” cut. I think it’s USDA 116G, often sold as a boneless short rib (lies). I think it does a good job of mimicking short rib in texture, flavor, and fat content. The sirloin is there because I like the flavor. I usually cut extra cap off my brisket to add to the mix- looking for 70/30 or somewhere in that neighborhood. Yeah, a lot of fat.

    I always grind coarse. And only once. Keep everything cold and par freeze the beef.

    I season (salt & pep) my beef mixture (but I also pack VERY loosely, just enough to hold together). My view is that this brings better end flavor. If you add salt to your mix, please treat your burgers with gentle hands and DON’T OVERWORK them. There is a lot of important technique in the forming, but I won’t get into it.

    My favorite way to cook them is tried-and-true cast iron. But if the burger is made well, just about any method will do just fine.

  51. I like my burgers one of two ways:

    1. The elegant: burger patties with k-salt and pepper sitting on a brioche or pretzel bun with dijon mustard (light spread) and a nice, mellow cheese like guoda. All other condiments are unnecessary.

    2. The way I grew up eating a burger living in the Philippines: toasted white bread, mayo and ketchup, burger. Done.

  52. I enjoy a good “puck” once or twice a month.

    6oz – 80/20 sirloin coarse grind shaped in a 3/4″ thick round pattie.
    My own blend of ground pepper corns and sprinkle of smoked paprika.

    Soft white bun lightly toasted on grill.
    Mayo top and bottom.
    Shredded iceberg lettuce with pattie on top.
    Paper thin round of red onion.
    Slice of Swiss. (Optional at end of grill)
    Thin slice of tomato.
    2-3 slices of bread and butter pickles.
    A fine circle of yellow mustard.

    Seared both sides @ 500℉, finished on rack until juices run clear.

    Et Viola. My idea of a grilled puck.

  53. Here’s my current formula:

    100% beef
    33% chuck (ideally eye of chuck)
    33% brisket
    33% oxtail (roughly 66% before deboning)
    (purchase 1 : 1 : 2 chuck, brisket, oxtail)
    5% butter*
    0.7% salt
    0.2% black pepper
    0.01% cayenne pepper (optional. should not be an identifiable flavor)

    *helps bring fat content up to an ideal 20%. it also provides a vehicle for the seasonings that will keep the meat from curing and toughening. incorporating seasonings lets you avoid overhandling the ground meat. be sure to wash grinder immediately after use to prevent corosion.

    -trim any gristle, silverskin, or discolored meat. Remove bones from chuck and oxtail. blot off surface moisture.
    -cut meat into 1/2″ strips
    -chill covered in freezer until frost crystals appear
    -chill grinder in freezer

    -soften butter at room temperature or in microwave
    -measure and thoroughly stir together the seasonings
    -make a compound butter by working seasonings into soft butter
    -place butter onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a roll. seal with the wrap and put in freezer to harden
    -when meat and butter are semi-frozen (about 1 hour) remove from freezer
    -dice butter

    -preheat water bath to 57°C / 135°F (to cook burgers to 56°C/133°F)

    -grind meat and butter together using medium (1/8″) disk. do not regrind or handle the meat unnecessarily.
    -form patties 1-1/4 inch thick. 150g – 200g / 5 – 7oz is a good size range ). work the meat as little as possible.
    -after forming patties, place in ziplock bags (2 to a 1 quart bag) and evacuate air by immersion in water. do not use a vacuum sealer (it will compress and toughen meat).
    -there’s no need for added liquid, but some aromatics in the bag can create interesting effects.

    -cook immediately. 60 minutes for 1” patties, 1 hour 20 minutes for 1-1/4” patties.
    -to pasteurize: hold for an additional 70 minutes

    If serving immediately
    -drop bags into an ice water bath for one minute to chill exterior
    -sear immediately before serving. either shallow fry in 1/4” or more oil in a very hot skillet; deep fry at 232°C / 450°F for one minute, torch with a searzall, or brown on a very hot grill.

    If holding between SV cooking and searing
    -thoroughly chill in ice bath and then refrigerate.
    -rewarm burgers for 20 minutes in warm water (anything under 57°/135°F, including hot tap water, is ok)
    -plunge bag into ice water for one minute
    -season and sear as above

    My previous recipe was 2/3 chuck and 1/3 hanger steak. It was pretty good, but I think this is a bit better, and hanger has started to get expensive.

    http://www.under-belly.org

  54. For my burger, I LOVE it with a good dry aged beef. I prefer a mix of short rib, brisket, and sirloin at a minimum 80/20 up to 70/30. The higher fat content keeps the burger jucier and marries perfectly with the dry aged flavor. I like to make a patty that is thicker with as loose of a pack as possible, but not too loose or you lose structural integrity and it crumbles apart. I add zero seasoning into the beef blend, but I do add a decent amount of coarse sea salt or even a pink Himalayan salt with a bit of fresh cracked black pepper and a light dusting of cinnamon (works beautifully with great beef, try it). I cook the patties in a cast iron skillet only with a bit of butter, olive oil, fresh rosemary, thyme and whole garlic cloves. Just sear the patties with that gorgeous crust while basting it continually with the butter herb mix.

    For the bun, a brioche is my choice and lightly toast it with the butter mix from above brushed over it.

    For toppings I have two favorite ways I like to make them. First is by making a bacon red onion marmalade, and crumbled goat cheese on the bottom bun, with a Dijon garlic aioli on the top bun with baby arugula.

    The second way is with fire roasted hatch chiles, cotija cheese crumbles and or chihuahua cheese (Monterey Jack works as well), fresh salsa verde, and then a touch of guacamole on the bottom bun with cilantro.

    So yeah, that is my take on a burger 🙂

    • Green chile cheeseburgers are pretty popular here, too. I roast poblanos for those, with sliced Jack cheese and onions. I’ve found a sweet- hot chipotle sauce on trips to AZ that is very good on those.

      • Poblano is great as well, also Anaheim chile. But Hatch chiles have the best flavor with a green chile burger in my personal opinion, but they are only available once a year for a short time here in Iowa

  55. My burger tastes change similarly to how my pizza tastes change. Just as I do not always feel like a thin crust margherita pizza I do not always feel like the same burger each time.

    Seldom do I feel that a bun is good to go without being toasted on the grill, or browned on a griddle in butter. I do enjoy enhanced texture from either a screaming hot grill, or flattop on my patty.

    Toppings need to be free of or contain very little moisture keeping the burger and bun firm and without soft spots.

    Sometimes, I want a medium rare, or medium pink color. Others, I adore and admire a medium well done burger if it was cooked fast, over an inferno that brings other flavors along with it.

    Hardwood lump charcoal is my preferred fuel source for direct grilling or evenly heating up a CI pan or flat top. Although I do prefer 80-20 I would love to go 70-30 however it is not offered in my area. The butcher I drive out of my way to go to for ground beef packages the beef so cold that it is malleable but almost too cold to handle without gloves. I suspect they have the fat frozen solid before they grind as it has a unique pellet look to it making it evident, but not homogonized with the beef.

    Lately, I cannot figure out what kind of cheese I enjoy best. Land-O-Lakes white american sliced at the deli was the go to as a youngster but they do not sell that where I am now. Bacon and mayo are almost always a standard if I have the time and extra cash.

    Your article will probably be the inspiration I need to get a grinder attachment for my KA mixer. Regardless, I will have burger on the brain for the near future.

  56. I like it old school and simple:
    1/3 lb 80/20 beef hand pattied with a dimple.
    Lightly salted
    Black pepper to taste
    Heat up the cast iron skillet on medium high to high.
    Cook to a nice medium temp

    The supporting cast:
    Regular white bun small
    Thinly sliced onion
    Tomato
    B&B pickles
    Mayo & yellow mustard
    Cheese is optional usually American.

  57. Brioche bun, carmelized onions, smoked gouda and a beer. Wallah!! (as Raymond Blanc would say.)

  58. 75% lean sirloin, 25% peppered bacon hard chilled, medium ground, log rolled with feed grains inline (see moderist cuisines ultimate burger). Season with course sea salt. Sous vide 132f 27 minutes, finished with a blowtorch edge first.

    From the bottom up.
    Toasted foccocia, herbed cream cheese, patty, thin full slice sweet onion brûléed with worstechersire, portobello strips fire roasted with blowtorch, red miso ketchup, toasted foccocia.

    It takes some prep work, but the cooking is easy. You can’t beat the sear you get from a 2500f map gas blowtorch.

  59. No more than 4 ounces of meat, cooked in a cast iron pan so as to have a nice crust. Pan fried brioche bun. I like it topped with melted cheddar cheese, bacon, mustard, sauted (not caramelized) onions, chopped dill pickles and in season tomatoes. No ketchup or lettuce or anything else.

  60. it just doesnt get any better than a big mac…

    if you like processed pre-made junk of questionable origin, that is… 😉

    meat-wise, i dont have a grinder, so im stuck with store-bought ground. (i dont get the lean one, tho.) i dont always do this, but sometimes ill sautee up some stuff like onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc and mix that into the meat, either chopped small or ground in a food proc. toasted sesame bun (preferably on the grill). usually do ketchup, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and avocado which is surprisingly good on burgers. (and i saw somewhere that it provides a healthful balance to certain chemicals created when grilling, neutralizing their harmful effects.) enoki mushrooms are also great on burgers, did that once, would do again.

  61. Only salt and meat in the patty.

    Ultimate burger shouldn’t have lots of toppings. Should be simple. Each element can be complicated, however should appear simple.

  62. The best burger I ever had was homemade on thin buns with homegrown lettuce and this Monterey Jack cheese with veins of bleu cooked medium rare. Amazing. That said, I love a Whopper with cheese!

  63. B.L.T. Burger
    Wrap your pattie with 4 slices of bacon, cook until pattie is done. Then slice tomatoes, use romaine lettuce. I like to use yeast rolls or potatoe rolls with extra mayo. Season to taste.
    P.S. Enjoy

  64. I have yet to figure out how to cook a proper paleo burger. All these recipe books / cookbooks say to use grass-fed beef… but it doesn’t taste as good as grain finished or grain fed beef… Perhaps ChefSteps can help? My favorite burger comes from BGR in Arlington, VA… they chop up onions or something and put it inside their sliders… then do mini slices of bacon and top it with cheese. But after that, I’m a huge Shake Shack fan. Those taste unreal… the cheese is melted perfectly along with whatever divine sauce they’re doing… That would be my favorite burger to recreate at home to be honest… but I would love to know how to do a Paleo-friendly twist on Shake Shack. After that would be a Five Guys burger with blue cheese if they ever had that. They don’t…

    • michael goldman

      What I would love to see is info on how to avoid the fate of most of my Burgers. That is, while the initial view of the finished product looks great. my first bite results in toppings heading out in all directions. That’s why I tend to be simplistic
      I guess the simple answer might be use bigger rolls but that makes the end product bread intensive
      I give up 😉
      Michael

  65. Heston had it right, the burger should be thin enough so that it fits comfortably in an average person’s mouth without straining.  For the bun I use regular sliced sandwich bread and cut a circle out with a ring cutter, then shallow fry in clarified butter.

    In fact, my approach is to make all of the ingredients into a thin, uniform layer of 4.5″ diameter.  My bacon is a sheet of meat-glued bacon strips, cooked in a combi,  and then circles are stamped out with ring cutter.  Constructed cheese slice is likewise cut into circle.  And so forth with the rest of the toppings like onions (sauteed with star anise) and sauteed mushrooms.

    Mayonnaise and ketchup must both be homemade.  No mustard.  For ketchup, start with canned San Marzanos, and thicken with gellan after cooking/reducing to help prevent absorption into bun.  The burger won’t need sliced tomatoes as toppings-  that has always struck me as redundant.

    Construct the cheese with quality American cheddar (like Beecher’s).   I certainly don’t know why everyone wants to use Frenchy or Swiss cheeses for this.

    Grind 70/30 blend of chuck and short rib (respectively).  Since I use grass-fed beef I also include strips of additional beef fat to put the patty in the 15-20% fat range.  I use a 4.5″ dia. mold to shape patties.  Salt and then cook sous vide in ziplock (or combi, if available)  -no vacuum and no oil- at 133F until pasteurized.  Dunk patty in liquid nitrogen briefly, then sear on charcoal grill for 30-45 seconds per side, spraying clarified butter to encourage flare-ups.  Instead of using a normal grill grate, construct a 3-wire-by-3-wire mesh to hold burgers, use stainless steel wire (0.1-0.2 mm gauge).    This maximizes the surface area exposed to the radiant heat of the coals as well as the flare ups.

  66. Don’t overthink it. It’s a hamburger. Pick a size based on how hungry you are, or how you are serving the burgers: are they part of a smorgasbord of items at a picnic or cookout, or are they the main course of a summer dinner? Season them, or don’t. Either way they’ll come out fine. You can have different cuts ground for you, but decent 80/20 will work for most applications.

    Grill ’em, or pan fry ’em on cast iron. Pay attention, because as much as we all like red meat, it isn’t a good idea for burgers. Get them off when they hit 155, they’ll be both well done AND juicy.

    As far as condiments, what I like varies with how I feel. Dress ’em up, or serve with a slice of onion, it depends how I feel that day.

  67. Keep it semi simple. Get some good beef (Arbitrary) and anything more than 70% lean is pushing it. Salt and pepper is all you need if you got step one right, and nothing beats a fresh made brioche. Use sharp cheeses, jams (yes I said it), and dress your veg in a complimentary vinaigrette. I dont get into perfect fire temps because I cook on a broiler or with charcoal. Know your hot spots, and realize you can smoke and fully cook a full large chicken with less than 15 coals. Burgers need less.

  68. Ricardo Piochi

    In Brazil we cut our beef differently from americans. I think i’ve manage to get the right cuts I like for my burger:

    1/3 center cut sirloin
    1/3 flank
    1/3 rump cap (for me and almost all brazillians, Picanha is the best meat to be grilled – just put some salt), see: .

    This mixture is incredibly moist and tasteful. Grilled with some salt and black pepper is amazing.

    I like it in a grilled burger bun with homemade mayo

  69. Stephen Morton

    If there is one thing I am ALWAYS in the mood for its a big juicy burger! I really enjoy a home ground sirloin burger (I buy a whole sirloin at Sams Club and cut my own steaks and course grind the rest.) Morton Kosher Salt and fresh ground black pepper on the grill. I personally am a purist when it comes to topping a burger but I do enjoy thick cut bacon and a fried egg with pepper jack cheese and fried onion straws, thick cut tomato all on a toasted wheat bun.

  70. We like our burgers done sous vide at 135 degrees, salt only, the deep fried to finish. In fact we do the first cooking and then freeze them for later use. We do like ground sirloin for every day meals. Dressed? Bun must be butter-toasted. American cheese, tomato, sweet onion, iceberg lettuce. I like mayo or a mayo-based “special sauce.” Bacon is not out of place. And sometimes a blue cheese spread and no American cheese.

  71. I’m not saying that Kraft singles are the only way to go. Or that tomatoes have a monopoly on ketchup. But a smoke then sous vide this, 18 month cave-aged Gruyere that, season’s first lettuce, short rib/chuck/cheeks/oxtail/little-bit-of-offal-just-to-be-different burger is ridiculous. The burger is humble. And it deserves respect. But the last thing it needs is some heavy-handed home cook or gastropub-owning white coat to mess with it.

    A burger isn’t a meatloaf sandwich. Keep the patty thin. Cook it medium well. Too many people are grinding into a plastic-lined terrine, keeping the fibers lined up so it melts when you bite into it … blah, blah, blah. They then sear it and serve it red — and in one or two bites, you’re looking down at a pile of mince on your plate. Buy good meat, ask a butcher you trust to grind it coarsely and then pack it lightly yourself into patties at home. Season the outside only with just salt. Pepper is too hot — and nobody needs burnt bits of berry on the outside of their meat. Unless you’re Adam Perry Lang, leave the grill for another night. Grab seasoned cast iron and flip multiple times for a good sear (see: Heston Blumenthal). Just before you’re done, slap a thin slice of Cheddar on and let it turn to liquid.

    The bun should be soft and a bit sweet. Find something with a dense crumb and don’t toast it. It doesn’t need it. I love the flavor of sesame — but I don’t want it anywhere near my burger. Keep it seedless.

    Put some homemade mayo on the bottom bun to help with moisture. You don’t need a lot. I love Sriracha in rice and roasted garlic on a crusty baguette; neither belong in the mayo. Put the patty, complete with cheese, on top. Pickles are next. Not watermelon radishes, candy stripe beets or carrots — OG pickles: cucumber. Dill, not sweet, by the way. Fermented too — refrigerator pickles don’t pack the punch needed. If you have the patience, make ’em. If you don’t, buy ’em. Better that you have them at all than think that you’re too good to support the fine people of Vlasic and their families. A hefty amount of ketchup on the top bun. Close it and you’re done. Sit down and eat with people you’d loan your car to — and don’t ever, EVER talk about the food during the meal.

    Keep it simple. Remember the first burger you ever ate and keep playing in that sandbox. The pectinex and vacuum bags can wait. And the kid in you will thank you.

  72. Use the best ground steak and brisket you can find and yes, with plenty of fat. No seasonings until it hits the grill and then only salt and a little pepper. Patty when cooked needs to be slightly bigger than the bun so you never get a bit that is overwhelmed by bread. It should be nice and thick, too, but not too big as I don’t want to smash it to get a bite. The bun, a simple brioche, should not fall apart in your hands as its central purpose is to hold the meat until you take the bite. Ketchup, yellow mustard and some good old fashioned dill pickles. I want to taste the meat though, above all!

    • I LIKE THE AHMBURGUESAS THAT ARE NOT SO DRY AND DOES SO WET, LOVE THE DIFFERENT TASTE EVERY business hotel room, MEAT IS TOTALLY DIFFERENT DEPENDING ON THE PRODUCT AND BRAND NEW MOTION ANXIOUS WAIT THAT YOU HAVE TO SEE THE DIFFERENCE ALREADY hAVE TESTED, THANK YOU FOR HEAR

    • Ground beef, any mix of beef, as long as the meat to fat ratio is 80/20 to 80/15. I don’t like the flavor of grass fed or organic in a burger, it just doesn’t taste right.

      Patty should be 5-6 oz.

      Salt and Pepper only.

      Grill on hard lump charcoal directly on a charcoal chimney starter. This this will be very hot and will give you a very good sear. I prefer my burgers to be very rare. Cooking time is 2 minutes tops.

      Serve on a large english muffin with a medium thick slice of onion with habenaro ketchup on the side.

  73. I have to separate homemade from fast food. The easy part first; In-n-Out for the best fast food burger in the country. Everything animal style, btw. I live on the East Coast, so when I can’t get to In-n-Out (which is essentially always), a local Boston chain called Tasty Burger does the trick.

    As for homemade, I like to sous vide and then hard sear burgers when I can. I don’t have a meat grinder, so I just buy decent 80:20 ground meat (local, organic, etc) and add fish sauce and baharat (Arabic 7 spice) (sounds weird, but it is good) before forming the patties. In the bag they go, and a hard sear to finish after they come to core temp and are dried. As for cheese, I like American or smoked gouda, nothing too fancy here. I top with some mashed up avocado. As for the bun, a homemade brioche bun is perfect, but that is a rarity due to the time it takes to make, so I usually just put it between some romaine lettuce or store bought buns.

  74. good burger meat cooked med rare, buttered and grilled brioche bun, stone ground mustard, good mayo, and only when the farmers are bringing the good tomatoes in, preferably the oregon star ones from charley

  75. I’d like to discuss top of meat vs bottom of meat “cold” toppings. Why do some people/places put lettuce, tomato, pickle, etc above the meat and others below? Heat rises, but hot juices drip down. I feel I know what I like, but I would like to see this highly debated. 1.2.3…GO.

  76. Gayle Hoffman

    I like my burger without the bun; wrap it in bib lettuce. You can tuck a little tomato, Sliced very thin, if it is in season.
    I know it is a minimalist approach but I cannot eat a huge burger with a big bun and all types of toppings. It is too much. I want to taste the meat, so the meat must be good, moist and medium rare.

  77. About 6 oz. of ground culotte, with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Put it in a hot pan until it gets medium rare, then drizzle with teriyaki sauce at the end of cooking. Put it in a nice pan toasted egg bun with butter, caramelized onions and some guacamole. Ok I’m hungry now…..

  78. Over the years I’ve come to try quite a few different burgers, from the US to Paris to Seoul, and I’ve made a note of what makes a burger work, and what doesn’t, regardless of toppings. We can all agree that the patty should never be overcooked, nor overseasoned. Why kill the animal twice?

    First, keep it simple, keep it mouth-sized. As awesome as any giant burger may seem, if you NEED to use ustensils and deconstruct it then it’s not worth it. You should be able to hold a burger comfortably, and not look like you’re trying to eat your fist.
    Secondly: TOASTED BUN. It should be soft, but not disentegrating in your hand due to sauce/meat juices. (And speaking of juices, they shouldn’t be running down your face, your arm or soaking your plate in grease like a NY slice of pizza to-go. Too much is too much.) I admit enjoying making burgers at home with fresh, crunchy baguette. Very satisfying.
    Thirdly: Order and ratio. Those toppings shouldn’t be sliding around and falling out with each attempt at a bite! If bacon’s involved, wrap the patty and grill it, or grill with cheese to keep it in place. The crispy parts of iceberg lettuce are too watery for a burger imo, lettuce should be in minimal amounts (2 whole leaves, bun-sized, or shredded) and one thick slice of tomato should suffice (1/2cm), onions shouldn’t be overpowering if raw, and caramelized is always amazing if cooked, but that’s a personal preference. Sauce should be placed between the bun and the patty to avoid dripping, and not too much to avoid drenching the bun.

    As far as veggie burgers go, cracked falafel patty, lettuce, tomato and hummus spread on a plain white milk bun is my fave so far. There’s just enough of crunch and smooth creamyness to make you think vegetarianism isn’t the end of the world.

  79. I think the reverse sear method produces the best burgers.
    Make loose patties, only seasoned with salt and pepper.
    Put the patties on a rack on a baking sheet, and bake then low and slow in a 200 degree oven until internal temp of the patties is 155-160. Yes, this takes some time, but you can make some nice thick patties that are fully cooked and juicy.
    This also allows the time to prepare your sides.
    Next, take the patties to a hot grill, and add a sear on each side. It only takes a minute, but adds so much texture and flavor.

  80. I would rather go for lamb loin actually and no additional fat added; it is true that less fat less flavour, however, would not risk all that cholesterol from the condensed mass of saturated fat. Lamb on other hand, is already naturally readily packed with those aroma releasing fatty acids that are mostly with of “good” cholesterol that actually helps with the toxins in the body. Probably brioche ban with less sugar quantity to balance the richness in case someone still needs more fat content. As for the sauce, I believe lamb prefers mustardy flavour; so perhaps mustard-french sauce. For ingredients surely sweet cornichon, sun-dried romano tomatoes, buttercrunch lettuce and sliced onion marmalade. Some people prefer caramelized onions, but the marmalade all together caramel flavour retains the fresh crunchiness in itself.

  81. Dry aged ( =<28 days) beef is a must for me now, once you go dry aged, you don't go back. Cooked medium rare, just salt on both sides.

    I like alot of different blends, this isn't as important to me as the dry aged flavour…

    Semi-brioche bun, deep golden brown burnished top. Fry the bun in a little butter until very dark brown at the edges, evenly toasted and slightly crisp.

    American cheese, steamed onto patty.

    Patty must be same size as bun (or as close as possible).

    Any toppings are good once the above is done correctly, usually incorporating: 1 'ketchup' type sauce, 1 'mayo' type sauce, something pickled and some type of onion (caramelised, raw fine dice, thin sliced etc…)

    No tomato (waters everything down). No cabbage on a beef burger. Lettuce must be iceberg only (finely shredded and lightly dressed with something like a mustard mayo).

  82. It is a very personal thing. In my mind, the perfect burger must be
    simple, yet trashy. I dont go for relish or any of that nonsense and I
    keep seasoning to a minimum.

    I take 1100g of meat made up of 500g shin, 3oog rump and 300g brisket. I
    could go into a long boring monologue as to why i have settled on that mix
    but it is essentially just through trial and error and also a mix gives
    you better depth of flavour. From the shin bone you have left over, scoop
    out the marrow and throw that into your meat before you grind it. The
    marrow bit is my top secret tip. Nonone knows it and are always like,
    “holy shit, this is amazing how come it is so juicy and so flavourful”.
    Well thats why bitch! Its like a buttery stock cube.

    Once you have ground the meat you need to eat the burgers that night. The
    key to a good burger, 100 million % is fresh ground meat. You can maybe
    stretch to the following day but you will notice the taste difference
    from even the previous day.

    So now you need to make your burgers.

    Take a basbeball sized bit of meat from your ground meat and season
    generously with salt and pepper and work the meat with your hands so it
    sticks together a bit. Not too much though. The marrow helps to bind. Then form your patty. You want it a couple of inchs thick. Do this with all the meat. Should make between 10
    and 12. Put on a plate and cover with cling film and put in the fridge for
    30 mins. The reason for this is two fold. Firstly, you will notice this is
    just meat and seasoning, no egg, no flour, no bread crumbs. Who the hell
    wants that? Putting it in the fridge will set the meat a bit but will also
    cool the burgers down meaning the core temperature is nice and low
    allowing you a greater margin of error for the next step.

    Take a cast iron skillet and get it pipping hot. Like 7-10 mins on the gas.
    Then place your burgers into the pan. No oil, no fat, no nothing. As the
    meat cooks, the fat and the marrow will melt out of the burgers slightly
    and give you some nice lubrication, but, only a little bit, you want a
    nice dry heat to get a lovely crust. Maillard reaction, right?!

    While these are cooking prepare your buns. Now, i would go for potato buns
    but you cant get them here so i go for warbuttons small baps. Nice texture
    and also slightly smaller than the usual so you dont feel too bad about
    eating two burgers. FOR GODS SAKE! None of that sesame “burger buns” you
    get from the supermarket. They are like cardboard and they fall apart.

    Onto the bun goes a very very fine slice of white raw onion. Then some of
    mayonnaise.

    By this time your burger should be ready to flip. So fucking flip it and
    whack some cheap as hell plastic wrapped cheese on it, fold the 4 corners
    of the cheese up to the centre so it doesnt drip off and cook for 1-2
    minutes. After that, what a lid on the pan so the cheese can steam. Give
    it 30secs to a minute and remove the lid. If you are into that kind of
    thing, you can take its temp, but you want 50 degrees (rare), i dont
    really temp test it but then i like it raw. The meat is essentially fresh
    steak so no problems there! Now, take the burger out and let it rest on
    the bottom bun that you have put the mayo and onion on. The resting juices
    will soak into the bun and you will thank yourself for not letting those
    juices run onto a plate. It will also cook/soften the onion marginally so
    you dont get an aggressive over onion taste.

    Let it rest for 5 mins. This will be hard but super necessary.

    Then a tiny but of ketchup and a tiny bit of frenchs american mustard
    (sometimes i go without the mustard) and top with the bun.

    Enjoy.

    Sometimes, i make it a bacon cheeseburger and put a piece of streaky
    smoked bacon from the ginger pig on top. I have never had anything like it
    before in my life. The fat on the bacon turns to crackling and is
    ridiculous.

    This is the best bacon cheeseburger ever.

    No frills, no herbs, lettuce, tomotao, eggs or anything. You simply taste
    the meat and its awesome. Just remember you need to eat it that night for
    it to totally rule.

  83. Bottom to top:
    – Toasted white bun
    – Thin layer of mayonnaise (truffle mayo preferred)
    – Raw baby spinach leaves
    – Slices of plump vine tomatoes
    – Ketchup (I use good ol’ Heinz)
    – Pickled red onion (vacuum method, I slice them very thinly, then vacpack with rice vinegar)
    – Burger patty (ground 100% beef, I prefer lean cuts such as flank steak). Medium rare.
    – Melted blue cheese (roquefort, blue stilton, …)
    – Confit onions
    – Thin layer of mayonnaise (truffle preferred), on the bun
    – Toasted white bun w/ sesame seeds

  84. 40% Short rib
    40% Chuck
    20% Sirloin
    Salt and pepper only. Seared on high heat. I prefer to put a pan on them and a bit of weight so they get nice crust. For sauce I use mayo and ketchup with some onion and pickles, white wine vinegar, brown sugar, mustard, smoked paprika,…

    Homemade sweet buns with sesame seeds. And tomato and baby lettuce from my garden =)

  85. As a German I am amazed about the perfectionism Americans are making their burgers. I do not know much about perfect burgers, but as an outsider I think there are many ways to prepare a burger in case of toppings, sauces, meats and flavours. What I think is key is the texture. It should not be big and fall apart becoming a total mess. So the texture should be rather firm (if that’s the proper word for it) and there shouldn’t be too much sauce or watery toppings on it to prevent the buns from getting soggy. Cheers and keep the comments flowing. I’m looking forward to the course!

  86. I love a burguer with one egg, lettuce, tomato and bacon. A sort of creamy sauce is required, like mayonese or mustard, in a soft bun. But the bun weight has to be proportional to the meat weight; not so few, not so much bread.

  87. Love my burger medium and a little on the dryer side. That is, I don’t want it to be dripping wet or the consistency of wet meatloaf, but I do want a few spittle droplets of juice to bead out. You also can’t go wrong with Pat LaFrieda beef, and forget Shake Shack and try a new place in Washington Heights called Burger Heights. It’s the shizz.

  88. I like a soft potato bun. Construction of the sandwich is the key to keeping it intact. Apply sauce, and use a piece of lettuce between the bun and anything else in the sandwich that would leach juices into the bun. Another small piece of lettuce on the bottom bun again serves the purpose.
    Adore a medium hamburger but as a retired microbiologist, can’t risk E. coli 0157.
    As for the blend, Michael Simons Dougie burger blend is the best I have ever tasted. I am on a person who has been tasting and cooking over 40 years.
    I do follow the rule of making a bowl shaped indention into the middle of the burger to keep it from forming a hump in the middle as it cooks.
    Traditionalist. Love lettuce tomato dills, and a sweet onion slice. If I use cheese, it is an aged cheddar. Put the cheese on the warm burger but never spend any time melting it. It softens and room temperature cheese has much more flavor. I like sharp flavors so I use good old French’s mustard. A great meat blend, piquant flavors. A cheese burger is the greatest food in my minds eye.

  89. Good quality ground beef, crispy bacon, raw onion rings, blue cheese and cheddar. Buns smeared with a god mayo with finely chopped chipotle chili. All in a toasted soft bun. Accompanied with a cold beer.

  90. Venison, brisket and chuck, salt and fresh black pepper gentl,y formed 1/2 pound patty seared on a cast iron griddle med rare, pepper jack cheese and hatch green chilis sauted in the burger dripping and toasted Texas toast with a smear of homemade mayo.

  91. My perfect burger is with cheese and green chiles. I do like a good burger with cheese an bacon with lettuce and tomato. Not a big fan of onions on my burger unless they are deep fried.

  92. 80/20
    S&P
    cast iron
    smash
    potato roll
    raw onion
    pickles
    ketchup

  93. I like to use my butcher’s triple mix (veal,pork,beef) and make half pound patties. I use gourmet burger buns that keep their shape instead of the usual retail buns having the top part dome flattening and turn to squishy bread. I try to get the buns that are nicely seasoned with herbs but they are not always available. I will very lightly toast the buns inside parts.
    I cook on the grill, starting at high heat to sear and after a few minutes turn down to medium/ low heat to finish. Using a thermometer I monitor internal temperature to perfect doneness. I sometimes like to use the Budweiser smoked BBQ sauce towards the end of cooking. This sauce is so far my favourite of all the ones I have tried.
    I have yet to find a cooking process indoor, that gives me the same taste as grilling outside, so the winter is not fun.
    Finally i dress it with cheese, sweet dill, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, mustard, mayo etc. whatever suits my fancy on that day. What a treat.

  94. I made one using 80% chuck 20% bacon home ground. Then SV followed by a deep fry for a couple of minutes. Swiss cheese, tomato, lettuce, ketchup, mayo on a store bought brioche bun.

  95. Ground brisket/short rib mix. And I know this is going to sound gross but I like it greasy and salty. Medium rare, a little crispy-charred on the edges. Brioche bun lightly charred with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles.
    Heaven.

  96. Let me feel the meat and it’s texture to determine how to play the game. Fat content is my key on how to play the next hand.

    Will this be a high heat super sear going for a moist inside because of low fat, or will I go the distance on indirect heat and add a tin of wood to add some real smoke in a half hour cook.

    Containers for the sandwich, bread, all derive off of condiments to be applied. Could this be a Southwestern burger with tortilla chips and salsa add on avocado and onion. Or do I go Swiss cheese and sauteed mushroom and spinach?

  97. Aside from the burger and toppings themselves, there might be some room for discussion around the order of stacking. I consistently find that I most enjoy (from the bottom up) protein (burger), fat (cheese and/or bacon if present), texture (lettuce), ending with some combination of sweetness and acidity (tomato, pickle, onion, condiments).

    Lately, it seems like a fair number of places have been stacking lettuce and tomato on the bottom which leaves me wishing the protein was the first real flavor to hit my tongue. Am I missing some virtue to the lettuce first approach?

  98. Agreed on the stacking order above!
    Brioche Bun, grill toasted
    Home-ground (flap meat, short rib, whatever you like), maybe a bit of butter drizzled in and a bit of salt and pepper, charcoal-grilled, maybe a bit of wood smoke
    Cheese! (jack, cheddar, gouda, muenster all good)
    Bacon optional
    Crazy-ripe tomato (e.g. Black Krim– juicy/messy/delicious)
    Pickles (as in cucumber)
    Raw, rinsed/deflamed onion (I like white)
    Beer or dijon mustard
    Smoked ketchup
    Tiny bit of mayo
    (top bun)

    w/ a lager (or two…) of some sort

  99. Thin patties, hard sear, coarse grind, heavy salt. NO CHEESE. I don’t get the cheese fetish; it interferes with the beef flavors and throws off the fat balance. Tangy, acidy and rich sauce in the vein of In&Out; heavy yellow mustard component. Leaf lettuce, no shreds – the shreds feel pre-chewed in the mouth. Pickles if there are none in the sauce. Thin tomato and thin red onion for freshness and piquancy. No caramelized onion – throws off balance of ‘squish’ against crisp. Bun: toasted, preferably flat (not humped on top); some chew but not too rich (don’t like brioche for this). Kaiser roll is just about perfect provided they don’t rise too high.

    And to really make your day better: lamb, not beef.

  100. Try Thomas’ english muffins (sandwich sized) for the bun

  101. I think learning different ingredient combinations and sauces to use with the same burger would be great so we can learn something new.

  102. Ground beef (doesn’t matter where from the cow because I’m about to awesome the beef right out the burger anyways)

    Nice wide burger thin-ish 1/4 lbs
    Piled high with provolone, cheddar, pepper jack cheese, followed by coleslaw (not that sweet stuff.. Yuck ) smash some banana peppers all up in that burgers face, sautéed onion (I’m talking almost French onion soup sautéed. Toss a few firm tomatoes on top of that, a nice (don’t be stingy baby!) plop of homemade hummus and some field greens to top that off.. Let’s add some bacon for looks.. Why not. Toasted bun (stay far away from that horrible “pretzel” bun.

    Grab a beer, a chair and a shamwow and dig on in… Perfect

  103. 70% Ground Sirloin
    30% finely chopped applewood smoked bacon, 75% cooked thru
    Handful of finely shredded sharp cheddar

    Gently mix and season with S&P.

    Sear on a cast iron pan using medium to medium high heat to 135 degrees.

    Finished on a toasted white bun with chipotle mayonnaise and caramelized onions.

  104. I prefer a substantial bun, such as a brioche or a nice potato bun. I absolutely hate a meatloaf-y burger, as only meat should be inside the patty. As for toppings, the patty is best enrobed in cheese, either american or cheddar; I also occasionally like some crisp bacon, and always put some light ketchup, onions, and pickles on top for some freshness, crunch, and to cut through the fat. I’ve found the standard 80/20 fat ratio to be pretty good, though more fat could be nice. Anything to avoid a dry burger.

  105. I like my burger shake shack style except without sauces. I like the potato buns, thin to medium patty thickness, american or chedder cheese (melted orange color is my favorate) without other toppings. Other bun that I really enjoy is the famous fuddruckers buns, perfectly made.

  106. The true beauty of the burger is that it morfs to your every mood. 80/20 beef is the best for moisture & flavor. Cast iron griddle the best to retain that.
    I can appreciate a good ole Dick’s Drive-In cheeseburger to the same degree that I love a “Custom Ground LVR Beef, Triple Cream Brie, Alfalfa Sprouts, Caramelized Sweet Onions, White Truffle Aioli” burger, or an espresso rubbed patty, arugula, fried shallots, candied bacon, peppercorn aioli & gorganzola. It all depends on the mood.

  107. Jessica Voelker

    Love this lively comments board, thanks for chiming in. Since you all are meat fans, wanted to let you know that we’re running a 50% off deal on our Tender Cuts class through midnight Aug 2. Head to Twitter for details (and please follow us if you want to get the first word on such matters) . Much love.
    https://twitter.com/chefsteps

  108. Here are my personal burger tolerances/fetishes:
    – Beef only ground within 1-2 hours of cooking, and it never sees plastic wrap, cryovac, or other covering, as I don’t want to draw out any moisture

    – Min 20% fat, but less than 30%. At 30% or more it starts to eat more like sausage than burger. Sausage is not burger. I’ve never dug into the effect of different cuts of meat, although, I’d guess that any kind of flavorful cut would work well (i.e. not tenderloin). Most of the time it’s chuck as the base, brisket if it needs fat, and dry aged trim for flavor. This is not the place for wagyu.

    -120g max for the patty if you want to put any toppings. Larger is only okay if
    a) your bun is proportional
    b) you don’t put any toppings, because now you’re making a steak burger rather than a hamburger

    Really though, there are very few burgers of 120g that turn out well, most are way out of proportion.

    – Only salt after the burger is already cooked and briefly rested…Salt way too early and it’s corned beef, salt just too early and you draw out moisture which affects the crust. Salt just after it’s cooked, and you draw out juice. Salt it when it’s like a perfectly rested, fresh baked chocolate chip cookie….and it’s heaven

    – If you want to put anything other than beef into the grind…you’re taking it to somewhere outside of American Burger land. Marrow’s fancy but acceptable, bacon’s indulgent but it makes me want to have it with an onion ring and bbq sauce, other pork makes me think Asian, and lamb…is a lamburger

    – Cooked med-rare or medium only. Less than med-rare and it recalls tartare, which is delicious, but not a burger and the wrong texture. More, and you squeeze out all the juice/flavor. Coals are great as is cast iron or steel. One flip only.

    – Bun must be soft, white and enriched. Sponge is ideal, while brioche and crusty buns are a no-go. Crust squeezes the juice out of your patty as you bite down. As for brioche, someone once said…’eating a burger on brioche is like eating a burger on cake’. Special exception made for burgers on cheap commercial sourdough bread sliced thinly, while burgers on levain are a non-starter (seewhatididthere?). Pretzel buns are often too pretzely. Light toast. Burgers are total divas and don’t like sharing the spotlight with the supporting cast.

    – If you do go for cheese, it needs to melt well and have a mild flavor. Anything more flavorful than “sandwich cheese” and the focus moves to the cheese over the beef. Also, non-American cheeses are out (sorry!), since they take away from the American-ness of the burger.

    – If you put anything green on a burger, it can only be iceberg lettuce….it’s nearly flavorless, yet crisp and refreshing. Arugula? Spring mix? I’ll just shake my head.

    – Tomato – Probably the only acceptable place for a flavorless tomato since it adds temperature contrast and savoryness, although flavorful tomatoes are certainly welcome. Salt that tomato!

    – Ketchup – Heinz if you want to complete the sweet-savory circle, or Muir Glen if you want something that actually tastes like tomatoes and will make up for the slice of flavorless tomato in your burger.

    – Onion – Raw for bite, but not too much nor too thick

    – Mustard – If you do, only yellow will do…the rest take away focus from the meat.

    – Sauce – Mayo or a mix of mayo and ketchup. Not too much! (The #1 issue I’ve run into with burgers in the EU is too much sauce)

    – Fried Egg/Bacon/Foie/Avocado etc. You worked so hard already to make the lean/fat/bun ratio perfect, adding extra fat/protein on top of all that only throws off the ratio.

    Really though, rarely do I ever go all out and follow every single rule here…because in the end, burgers are simple and fun! Too much fussing and fancying, poking and prodding and the burger strays too far from its everyman roots.

  109. I generally like a good mix of pork and beef, usually 50/50 with a good amount of fat, with the patty not too thick. I usually cook mine on a good bbq grill.

    I tend to stick with regular mayonnaise with a spicy tomato sauce (good sweet,sour spicy flavour). The sauces go on the bottom of a light, slightly sweet bun (brioche or similar) topped with a patty and then cheese. I like a fairly mild cheese, and not the American kind I keep seeing (as an Aussie it’s a little weird for me!). Top that with some good, crisp gherkin slices and caramelised onions. Then some tomato, followed by a fried egg- the yolk still runny (it drips down the burger as you eat it), some pickled beetroot and iceberg lettuce to hold it in. The former two additions seem to be pretty Australian, especially at takeout stores-along with grilled pineapple which never really took my fancy. I sometimes include a good smokey bacon that’s been cooked on the bbq as well. Bit of a mouthful but it eats well.

    I dislike burgers where the bun is too dense- it’s always too filling and I can never manage to eat the whole thing. I love a good pickle- whether it be beetroot, spicy/garlic-y gherkins or even pickled carrots and radish. Fancy burgers don’t really interest me, but I do love a good pulled pork/southern fried chicken burger with a fresh, tangy coleslaw. Not a huge fan of really thick patties which- unless carefully made- I tend to find dry.

  110. I’ve had pretty good results with:

    50% chuck
    25% brisket
    25% clod
    + salt and pepper

    Cooked sous vide at 50-52°C depending on mood/guests and then seared on the grill. I also tend to go to the trouble of aligning the strands of ground meat as per Heston Blumenthal’s suggestion.

    This goes well with a nice fluffy white burger bun, tomato sauce, rocket salad, cucumber, portobello mushroom and Parmesan cheese.

  111. We put five spice power and breadcrumb into it

  112. Since i have read all the comments and the delicious thoughts on burgers i think its really hard to get the “one”. i’d love to sit on a table with a whole bunch of bowls where you can choose your toppings and addings. Maybe a smaller version of a burger where you can eat more than just one and be able to eat trough a variety of sauces, pickels and toppings would be great.

  113. Colby Cheese for melt and flavor.

  114. I like my burger in a good fresh, soft and warm brioche style bun, lightly roasted on the pan I fry the patties on.

    The patty should be 100% ground beef, with just a hint of salt & pepper. Heston Blumenthal shows how to grind it perfectly, on youtube. It should be a good inch thick, and cooked sous vide for about 3-4 hours at 55C, and then seared in a very hot pan or grill 15 seconds on each side.

    I like it fairly heavy dressed with melted cheddar, fried musrooms, a few strips of crispy bacon, lettuce, pickled cucumbers, a tomatoslice, mustard and aioli.

  115. Dang. I forgot the onions!! You can’t serve a burger withouy a couple of raw onionrings.

  116. Keep it simple and classic. Timeless counts

  117. Hey! Thanks for all inspiration i’ve got! You guys always step it to the next level!

    Just so you know, I’m a healthy guy. Believe it or not, burgers can be healthy as well! So what about to post a yummy recipe who are rich in protein and healthy at the same time. That would be something different.

    Big fan from Norway!

  118. Zeus Miranda Felix

    I created this burger during culinary school, still don’t have a name for it… but my God was it lip smacking good. I didn’t have any exact measurements, just eye-balled everything to my liking.
    Patty:
    1:1 pork and beef, ground
    cayenne pepper
    paprika
    minced garlic
    minced onion
    Dijon mustard
    salt/pepper
    stuffed with Munster cheese

    Spread:
    Bleu cheese spread

    toppings:
    arugula
    tomato
    sauteed onions
    Swiss cheese

    Buns:
    sour dough

    served with sauteed parsnip, white and green asparagus, and green beans tossed in salt and pepper and drizzled with lemon juice

  119. Dry aged beef burgers! I like beef aged for 45-50 days. I prefer a coarse-ground blend of prime rib (25%), short-rib (25%) and chuck (50%). I cold smoke the meat with a smoking gun for 10 mins or so (Pecan and Maple). I then make a thick burger and season it with fish sauce; salt; pepper and ground, dried Porcini mushrooms. I cook my burgers on a steel sheet on my Big Green Egg and cook to a medium rare (I use the flipping every 10-15 seconds method for an even cook with a great crust). I like to top with blue cheese and fresh, squeaky cheese curds; mushrooms sauteed in red wine with rosemary and garlic; caramelized onions; heirloom tomatoes; butter lettuce; mustard and truffle aioli. Served on a rich-man’s brioche.

  120. Does anyone have an opinion about potato rolls over regular brioche buns. I heard shake shack uses the former .

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