HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


Your ideal burger?

With all the burger talk on these boards I just thought I'd see what you fellow chowhounders would want your dream burger to look like? Kill a bit of time at work perhaps? I'll start...

Patty: A fresh ground mixture of dry aged shortrib/brisket/ribeye or chuck....barely worked at all. Smash-style searing on a flat top griddle for a great crust and tons of salt and pepper

Bun: A freshly baked, barely-sweet brioche style

Toppings: A) Crisp bacon, 1 of: sharp aged cheddar/ Roquefort/ American cheese (not ashamed lol), iceburg lettuce, pickles, caramelized or diced raw white onions
B)Roasted and skinned poblano peppers and a really good melting cheese like Oaxaca, and crispy fried onions

Sauce: I'm a mustard and mayo guy(garlic aioli even better) but I'm getting into making my own In-and-out style signature sauce with a few tweaks such as added spiciness

I think that's it! Dang, this ridiculous fantasizing has made me hungry. I'm gonna have to hit the store to make a version of option B before the game tonight. Wish there was a place to get high quality, soft hamburger buns around here...

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Patty: exactly what you said. SEAR SEAR CRUST! Yum
    Bun: Traditional - fresh white with sesame seeds
    Topping: Cheddar and fried mushrooms (hold the raw veggie)
    Sauce: mayo - lots!

    I did pick up some hamburger buns at Glamorgan Bakery. They were fresh and stood up to the burger and did become soggy. But they didn't have any sesame seeds. I liked that I am able to buy just a few. I don't make 12 burgers at once, so why should I have to buy 12 buns?

    1 Reply
    1. re: TSAW

      It can be fresh, it can be frozen...it can be big or small....with or without cheese ......the very first burger of the backyard BBQ season.....over coals of course.

    2. The patty is the star. Freshly ground good meat with some fat in it. Cooked so that it is still rare and juicy inside. I like the idea of a brioche style bun. I like a tart home made mayonnaise, some Dijon, grilled onions, and my homemade chili sauce which is tomatoes, peppers onions, vinegar, brown sugar, cloves, ginger, allspice, and pepper. Sharp cheddar and/or thick pepper bacon optional.

      1. Tips for getting a good 'plank' but keeping the interior medium rare: Half an hour before frying put the fresh made burgers in the freezer. Remove when ready to fry them. Wipe them with a little balsamic vinegar. The balsamic will help form a good 'plank' and add a note of sweet. The reason to put them into the freezer is to keep the inside of the burger from over cooking while the outside is being fried. Of course a smoking hot griddle/grill/pan is essential.
        Try making 'bacon jam'. Finely chopped fried bacon added to caramelized red onions with balsamic vinegar all mixed together spread thickly on a soft bun with mixes salad greens.

        1. In-n-Out double double.

          Or Red Robins California Chicken burger ( I guess they renamed it a sandwich recently)

          2 Replies
          1. re: rasputina

            I second In N Out just get the double double animal style.

            1. re: rasputina

              What was the previous name? Did that replace the whiskey River BBQ chicken burger?

            2. I like a chuck / sirloin mix.
              Salt and pepper only on the outside, just before grilling. I do prefer a live fire - coals or wood chunks to a pan sear. Rare to med rare at the most.
              Thin sliced red onion
              A real kaiser roll. Hollowed out top, if necessary. Mayo or dill pickle slices, if anything else.
              Cheese - no
              Lettuce- no
              ketchup / mustard? - no
              Pretty sure I'll be having a "for real" burger this week now.

              1 Reply
              1. re: gordeaux

                For something a little bit different, I BBQ frozen salmon burger patties I get from Costco, grill the bun outdoors, top it off with a good tarter sauce, lettuce and sometimes a slice of garden fresh tomato..

              2. I saw this on an old Sarah Moulton show...where she had a guest chef who traveled the states for his favorite burger. He took cheap beef (70/30 I believe) threw it in a sizzling pan. Do not shape. Add onion slices on top before you flip, so they grill into the other side. Add pimento cheese (kraft from the jar) on a sesame bun. That's it. No other condiments.OMG is that a good burger.

                1. Patty: well seared on the outside, medium-rare on the inside. Salty enough, smokey, char-grilled flavor.

                  Bun: Cheapo airy and slightly sweet bun that has been seared on the grill in butter.

                  Topping: lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, avocado, jalapeƱos, a fried egg, sharp tasting melty cheese

                  sauce: chipotle mayonnaise, there should be a lot of sauce so that all is well lubricated even with the avocado and cheese and eggyolk. This is a messy burger.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: luckyfatima

                    Wow- yours sounds better than mine. Especially the fried egg and avocado part.

                  2. Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun?
                    Seriously, a home ground thick patty stuffed with herbed chevre, seared almost charcoalled outside but medium on the inside and cheese warm but not melted, sitting on a bed of fresh romaine lettuce, thin sliced Roma tomatoes and sweet onions, home made pickle slices, and home made whole seed mustard. Oh, on a home made fresh crusty bun.
                    I think "home made" is a key here? :)

                    1. six ounces of freshly ground neck and skirt (preferably inside skirt), loosely formed into a 2" high patty.

                      Seared on a hot coal BBQ grill 2 minutes per side, sprinkled with freshly ground salt and pepper.
                      NO Bun, served on a plate with a wedge of crisp iceberg lettuce and a 1/2 sour pickle spear.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: bagelman01

                        Brings to mind the debate over sausage -- NOT to revive it, but the question was "is sausage sausage if not in a link?"
                        Question here -- is it a burger without being in a bun? I say yes, but what distinguishes this from meatloaf other than cooking style?

                        1. re: freia

                          Start with the fact that my hamburgers have NO FILLER. No milk, egg, bread or crumbs, etc. I've never seen a meatloaf made with just gound beef.

                          #1 The OP did not ask about your favorite hamburger SANDWHICH. If so, my hamburger would be on a well toasted poppyseed kaiser roll.

                          #2 Here in Connecticut, a commercial establishment may not LEGALLY use the word hamburger if the burger has filler

                          1. re: freia

                            Growing up, a hamburger without a bun was called a hamburger steak.

                            1. re: sandylc

                              in our area a hamburger steak was a minimum of 8 ounces, cooked on a flat top griddle served with fried onions, mashed potates and brown gravy

                          2. re: bagelman01

                            We used to do something like that....Wrap a piece of bacon around the outside and called it a Chuck Wagon Steak.....

                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Yeah, my folks used to grill thick burgers with bacon around them...i had forgotten!

                          3. Fresh ground chuck....my own grind.
                            Grilled over wood coals...Oak and Hickory
                            Dukes Mayonnaise.....
                            A little yellow mustard.....
                            Home grown tomato.....
                            Cold sliced Vidalia Onion.........
                            Dill pickles Kicked up with Garlic and Jalapenos for a couple of weeks prior.
                            A little lettuce.....
                            A good quality commercial bun with sesame seeds......toasted.

                            1. Patty- any good-tasting ground beef, flame-broiled, a little char, medium inside
                              Bun- white, not too squishy, not too crumbly, sesame seeds are fine, so's the bun grilled a little but not so it's greasy
                              Cheese- cheddar, American, or a nice blue (like gorgonzola)
                              some lettuce, maybe a thin slice of tomato, a coupla pickle chips, a little plain old ketchup and mustard
                              That's the basic one.

                              1. I made some good burgers last night.

                                Made a compound butter with Mexican oregano, salt and garlic powder.

                                Inserted discs of butter into 85/15 ground beef patties that had been healthily seasoned with Castillo habanero sauce.

                                Grilled over smoky pecan wood until almost cooked through.

                                Placed patties on traditional white buns--lightly toasted--added baby Swiss cheese, diced red onion and high quality New Mexico green chile.

                                Mos' delicious.

                                1. I've been preparing my burgers ATK-style, incorporating grated sharp cheddar (along with S&P) into the patty mixture and then grilled to MR perfection.

                                  1. Patty: Flat patty made with chuck and/or other similar cuts (flap meat or steak tips if you're going lux). This means the level of doneness is less of an issue, because flat patties tend to remain juicy without the unpleasantness of cool beef fat. The patty should not have any seasonings in it; its exterior should be seasoned with salt and some pepper (not too much pepper - it scorches on the griddle, so it's best that most pepper be added after cooking, but a bit of pepper can help keep the patty from sticking) - also, a thin wipe of mustard on each side will help not only with a flavor kick but create a lovely crust (most mustard haters will not detect it, either). (For people who prefer ketchup to mustard, you can also use ketchup similarly, but the results are not as good in my opinion. I have no dog in the fight in general, as I find a cold layer of mustard, ketchup or mayo on an already-cooked burger to be repulsive.)

                                    Bun: Seeded potato bun (Martin's), buttered and toasted on the griddle. An old fashioned poppy-seeded NY-style hard roll is lovely, too, but the real thing (the kind that are hand-klopped and go stale within a few hours of being made - a mark of true quality, just like with baguettes and real bagels) is on the endangered species list even in the NY area. An onion roll, including the Miami roll variation, is also a good option. (Very good deli rye is a good option for the venerable California patty melt...)


                                    -American cheese (this is the glory to which it is called), and not too much. The real purpose is to help hold everything in place and give just enough extra unctuousness. The older I get, the more that I realize that more vividly flavored or textured cheeses (Swiss (though this is one area where Jarlsberg is better than Emmethaler), Cheddar, Bleu) take away more than they add to the overall thing.
                                    -Bacon, if crisp and not too strongly flavored
                                    -Thinly sliced sweet onion (Vidalia, for example) or, if unavailable, red onion that has been rinsed in cold water and dried. Can be raw or softened on the griddle, but not caramelized much.

                                    A half-sour (new) pickle on the side. Nothing cold goes on the burger: no cold condiments nor vegetables.

                                    1. Wow! What a lot of great ideas....proves to me yet again that there is always another idea for even the simplest-seeming dish. This is what makes cooking/baking so continually intriguing...

                                      Anyway, I like high quality, grass-fed if available, ground chuck. Some sirloin is good. Fat is necessary. Plain is good, or sometimes I blend in a mix of dijon, honey, and pureed chipotles en adobo - this is amazing in a burger. Slightly pink with a crusty outside is good for me.

                                      Bread? Brioche, or a homemade potato roll with sesame seeds, or a ciabatta roll. Buttered and lightly toasted.

                                      Toppings? Depends upon what I have on hand, what I feel like eating, feel like making, etc. Bacon is always yummy. I don't care for mayo, mustard, or bleu cheeses. Good-quality American (yes, it exists), jack, cheddar...all good. GOOD tomato, shredded, non-limp, lettuce - both are good. Raw onions are a big NO. Caramelized onions and cooked mushrooms can be lovely.

                                      Options are endless! The best part is that I didn't like burgers very much until a few years ago. I ate them, but I wasn't in love with them.

                                      Side dishes come to mind....where did the wonderful onion ring go? They used to be delicious at most burger or steak joints.....now a good one is few a far between......

                                      If I want good onion rings I have to mess up the kitchen and smell up the house making them myself!!!

                                      Fries? Another thread (one that has probably already been done!)

                                      1. We make an aged short-rib and bacon grind at work that makes phenomenal burgers. Salt, pepper and a Brioche bun is all you need.

                                        Going a little more day-to-day; Grass-fed beef is essential. Best flavor, by far. We usually do a blend of meat from the chuck and the round. Salt and pepper. Hard pan sear on a smoking hot cast iron. Turn down to med-low for about 3 mins to a nice medium rare. Again, Brioche bun and a slice of sharp cheddar is all I usually need. Sometimes mayo.

                                        1. I think it was in a John Steinbeck novel, maybe the Grapes of Wrath but I don't remember, that I read an eloquent description of my ideal burger. A cheap chuck patty griddled to a dark crust on both sides, then fry an onion slice in the burger grease with the patty resting on top of the slice. Press the patty into the onion and stack white-bread buns on the patty and cover to steam the whole thing in onion juice. Assemble with dill pickles and optional ketchup and mustard.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: RealMenJulienne

                                            Sounds like a sloppy, old school delight.

                                          2. 1/3 of a pound or better sirloin meat,[basically cup of your hand size] thick fresh hamburger char broiled ,cooked with maggi sauce,cheddar cheese,ketchup,on a lg sesame seeded marties big bun roll,deep fried steak fries with maggi on the side,Delicous!!!!

                                            1. I take 2 beef patties and put blue cheese and a freshly roasted hatch green chile betweeen the patties, pinch the edges together, grill them and when nearly finished put another chile on top covered w/ cheese. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I toast the rolls, put guacamole on the bottom half and mayo, raw onion , tomato, and lettuce (not iceburg) on the top half. throw the double cheese and chile burger on the bottom half of the roll, mash the two halves together and enjoy. This was last night's supper.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                And then you hibernate until spring comes.