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Oct 2, 2010 05:11 PM

Need great tasting american hamburger recipe


I´ve started making burgers from scratch. I use the finest ground meat, but the ingredients I put in, don´t do much for enhancing the flavour. Dare I say they become kinda tastless.

I´ve experimented a bit with Gordon Ramsays recipe, but I got a feeling it´s not quite authentic. In this recipe, theres ketchup, dijon, worchestershire sauce, a red onion, egg yolks and salt and pepper.

But I wonder how do you americans do it in your own homes? When you want to beat the restaurants and create the perfect burger?

Hamburgers is an american dish, and since theres alot of americans on this board, I think its the best place to ask. Can you teach me how to make burgers?

  1. I put NOTHING in burgers. I've noticed that a lot of Aussie and British recipes have you working all sorts of filler/flavoring ingredients in, from bread crumbs to shredded veggies. That, to my mind, makes it a lot closer to meatloaf than hamburgers. And I love good meatloaf, but not when I want a burger!

    The key is to start with good meat that's not too lean (around 15% fat is about right, IMO), keep it cool, and handle it as little as possible. Make the patties larger and thinner than you think you should -- they'll shrink as they cook and you don't want a big round meatball! Salt and pepper the outside of the burgers about 30 minutes before they go on the fire, then cook as briefly as you can, turning only once. I think a burger much beyond medium is a crime against beef!

    Good meat needs little adornment, and too much fussing just makes for weird-tasting, tough burgers.

    1 Reply
    1. I don't go beyond salt and pepper, usually. Perhaps a little bit of dried mustard. Beyond that, I think you get into the meatloaf territory as LauraGrace describes. Don't pack the patty, and don't press them while you griddle (griddled is much better than grilled in this instance). A golf ball sized divot in the top of the patty will prevent curling. Otherwise, what LauraGrace says.


        Or look up CI's version of the Shake Shack burger, it was created by the same guy as the one above. He is a genius!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Becca Porter

          I'm a Burger Lab fan as well. You should read all of Kenji's Burger Lab posts. Burgers come in a variety of styles (slider, thin, thick, turkey, etc.) and he does a good job explaining what effects he's chasing after and how to duplicate them. Once you get all that understood then figure out what style you like and tweak to your taste.

          Personally, I think the majority of hamburger recipes are underseasoned (which explains ketchup on burgers). Some people push 'let the meat do the talking' but I can't get past a few bites of that before being beefed out. Don't mess around with anything more than basic toppings (cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onions, mayo/mustard) until you get the basics down. Enough addons and you can hardly taste the meat. You'll see 80/20 mix mentioned most but I like even more fat, closer to 60/40. Again, get the basics down then figure out what you like.

          1. re: Becca Porter

            Watched the CI program with the version of Shake Shack burger. Could not believe the line of people waiting to have the burger. Where in NY or NJ or elsewhere is the place?

            1. re: Becca Porter

              I happened to see the CI show on the SS burger. Very basic information but key to good texture and flavor. A mixture of flap and boneless short ribs were said to have the best beef flavor and fat to lean ratio. Barely shaping into a burger shape but with little pressure so it's loosely holding together they felt gave it the best texture. I've tried this and it does work well.

              1. re: scubadoo97

                I am a huge believer in the fact that griddled burgers beat grilled burgers every time. Griddled burgers brown in their own beef fat. They are allowed to get brown on a much larger surface area than a grilled burger.

                Plus, the delicate home-ground meat that is barely bound together would never hold up to grilling.

            2. You guys put nothing in it? Sounds very strange to me.
              When I put nothing in it, it doesn´t taste much. Hopefully someone reading this, is a person who has some secret ingredients to hand over! I don´t just want a boring meat taste with nothing added.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Ramius

                Classic American burger does not have anything more than S&P. Make sure you're using good meat. (I like grass-fed ground chuck.)

                1. re: Ramius

                  i chop onions very finely, saute them, then mix them into the meat. salt & pepper. then for an extra treat, when you make the meat into a ball before flattening into a patty, make a small dent in the ball with your thumb and put in a good chunk of blue cheese. Cover up the hole with the meat, roll and then flatten into a think disk, and that's it!

                  1. re: Ramius

                    It's not about "secret ingredients." The Gordon Ramsey recipe you sited sounds like it might taste good, but it's not an American burger. Never, ever put an egg in a hamburger. Ever.

                    Get the basics down. Good quality beef. High percent of fat. This is the most important element. If you beef is not excellent, you don't stand a chance. Salt and pepper. I happen to like Lawry's Seasoning Salt, but that's a personal preference. And don't season lightly. Season it well. I prefer the season on the outside, rather than mixing it in. Grill it over a hot flame that gives you a good crust on the outside while leaving the middle pink and juicy. Serve on a good quality bun. This is NOT boring.

                    A simple slice of cheddar, American, Swiss or provolone melted on top if you want a cheese burger. A slice of tomato, raw or saute onion, lettuce and dill pickle on top. Ketchup. Some people like mayo. Mustard is borderline criminal (save it for your hotdog).

                    If you want to mess with it after you've mastered that, chopped onion and green pepper mixed with the meat is an interesting option. You can experiment. Save the egg for breakfast.

                    1. re: Ramius

                      Boring meat taste? If you think it's boring, I shudder to think what you might do to a steak :) I think beef should taste like...well...beef.

                      1. re: Ramius

                        I agree with all of the above. I'm sorry, Ramius, but if you do't want a burger that tastes like meat, you don't want an American burger. Good, fatty beef and a lot of salt (add as much as you feel good about adding...and then double it. If you're not sure, you can cook up a tablespoon of the beef to taste it. If it doesn't taste good, keep adding salt. If it tastes good, you've added enough)-- that's it.

                        1. re: Ramius

                          Okay, Ramius, I cheat. I mix in a little barbeque sauce (any smoky, slightly sweet kind will do). For each pound of meat, you need just a spoonful, along with some salt and pepper, and perhaps a bit of prepared mustard to give it some tang. Make sure your meat is not too lean and don't press it down. Cook your burgers over coals, not a gas grill, and don't overcook them. if the fire is too hot, the sugar in the barbecue sauce will cause the outsides to burn, but this is less likely to happen if you mix it in well. I think the smoky flavor is really the "American" taste you are seeking.

                        2. When I want a great tasting hamburger, I use bison (aka American buffalo). GREAT flavor every time!