How to make the best cheeseburger just in time for National Cheeseburger Day on September 18th this year. I happened to grow up eating hamburgers that looked like hockey pucks, only much, much thinner. The only way they even resembled a burger was because they were in between a bun. And not even a good bun, more like a dinner roll, only thinner.
I still have a saved article in an old binder from the Washington Post from 1999 on how ro make the best burger. No recipe, but tips. I saved it because I realized I made all the mistakes in the article when making burgers. Here are a few tips and a recipe for the best burger you’ve ever tasted! Seriously!
Start with Fatty Meat!
I used to think lean meat was better. It was more expensive, so it had to be better, right? Wrong. According to the butcher at Florence Prime Meat Market in New York City, the best choice of meat is 80/20. The flavor and most of the moisture is in the fat. If you are grilling, most of the fat drips off and even of you are making them in a skillet, you can dab up or pour out the fat.
Next, consider the Grind
Not all ground meat is the same. At some large supermarkets, they buy coursely ground meet packaged in tubes and then grind the meat again in the store before it’s packaged and sold. Everytime meat is packaged, it becomes more compact and dense. Some large stores will custom grind meat on request, but not if it’s busy or in the evening. Your best bet is to go to a butcher. You’ll get exactly what you want! We try to buy our meat at Florence Prime Meat Market on Jones Street in Greenwich Village. I found this article in Bon Appétit on Florence Meat Market.
What size should you make your burgers?
We usually make 6-ounce burgers, and I find it helpful to use a small kitchen scale to get them all the same size.
Any larger than 6-ounce and you’re looking for trouble, especially on the grill. I find it impossible to get them cooked without getting a little charred on the outside.
What about seasoning?
I always add salt and pepper before cooking. There’s a myth that salting the meat will make for a dry burger, I don’t find this the case.
Cooking Do’s and Don’t’s
Start out with an idea of how long your burgers will take and set a timer! We typically cook 6-ounce burgers 7.5 minutes per side on the grill. We use a instant-read thermometer to be sure they are cooked properly. Remove the burger from the grill/skillet and insert into the side of the burger to make sure it has reached 160º for a well done burger. This is according to the USDA.
Don’t cook the burgers until you are ready to eat them!
Food will continue to cook even after it has been removed from the heat source. So if you wait to eat it, chances are it will have dried out. Have everything ready to go so when your burgers are ready, you’re ready to eat!
No Squishing or flattening!
Resist the urge to take the spatula and flatten the burger. I used to be guilty of this! Of course I was jut squeezing the moisture right out of the burger. My husband is far more patient than me and only flips once and never ever flattens the burgers!
Consider the bun
A brioche bun is ideal. They used to be hard to find, but now even Trader Joe’s has them. If I’m going to eat bread, it has to be good and you can never go wrong with a Brioche bun.
These are our favorites: spicy mayonnaise, pickled red onions or caramlized shallots. Both go well with cheddar, so personal preference.
Here’s the recipe to make the juiciest burgers ever!Print
How to make the best burger every time!
I’ve been making burgers this way for almost 20 years and it’s hard to find a better burger anywhere! I’m not sure where we saw the recipe, but I do know it was from James Beard. I think it’s pretty close to what I read somewhere 20 years ago!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 14 minutes
- Total Time: 24 minutes
- Yield: 6 1x
- 2 1/4 pounds 80/20 ground chuck
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 teaspoons heavy cream
- salt and pepper
- Place the ground chuck in a bowl and create a cavity in the center.
- Generously salt and pepper over the entire meat
- Pour the heavy cream in the center and grate the onion.
- Fold over the meat combining the cream and onion, but do not over mix.
- Make 6 patties that are 6-ounces each
- Prepare the grill, once hot, spray the grates with cooking spray like Pam
- Cook for 7.5 minutes on each side.
- Add cheese and allow to melt
Keywords: cheeseburger, hamburger, sandwich