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Apr 23, 2012 06:13 PM

Cheeseburger All the Way - give me your best!

As far as I am concerned, a well dressed burger is just about heaven. Only trouble is, I need to look over your shoulder to see how you are building your burger so I can get some new ideas.

Share with us what you think is the best burger around...the whole works - starting with the buns & working your way up to the best darn tasting burger around.

Maybe you could share your best sides too. Fried green beans maybe or is it sweet potato fries or grilled onions or some other thing we normally don't associate with burgers?

By the way, we are talking homemade burgers made right there at home on the grill or in the house.

My favorite has been a Green Chili Cheeseburger, smoky green chilies minced fine with other spices that I can't quite duplicate here at home.

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  1. First, gotta make the bun:
    Next, select the best grade of 80% lean ground chuck available.
    Form patty with the hands (loosely packed; just enough to hold together)
    Drop patty onto hot grill and leave it alone until time to turn.
    Turn it, don't squish it, and cook the other side
    Burger patty should be well browned but not dry
    Slice onion (thin)
    Toast the bun and spread with Hellman's mayonnaise on one side, dill plckle relish on the other.
    Lay slices on onion on mayonnaise side.
    About two minutes before patty is done, cover it with grated cheddar cheese (enough cheese to bury it) so that the cheese melts on and around the patty. Use spatula to control the melted cheese and keep it around the edge of the patty (or close to it) until the cheese begins to brown.
    Place the cheese covered patty on the bun (let the melted cheese ooze out the sides) cover and serve along side a good pilsner.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      I can agree with everything todao wrote except...I would lay the sliced onion on the hot grill before the 80/20 beef patty. There are very few foods I don't like - but raw onion is one of them!

      1. re: todao

        OMG! Get out of my head! Lol! This is my go to burger, but I'll post another one seperately for special days....

        1. re: todao

          Todao, thanks for the link to kingarthur flour...will try this. Have you ever tried freezing the buns right before the step to baking? It would be great if you could just get a couple out of the freezer, let them come to room temp & then bake. I have not read all the reviews, maybe they will mention something about freezing.

          I'll have Heineken with burger...very cold with some Clamato Spicy Tomato Juice & a squeeze of lime.

        2. I start with the leanest ground beef. Add kosher salt and black pepper and a few drops of L&P worcestershire, then mix. Then I add olive oil and mix until I get the right consistency.

          I like onion and usually use finely chopped white onion, sautéed in a little olive oil, then mixed in. Unless I have a large sweet onion, especially a Walla Walla, which I would use raw in a thin slice.

          I shape the patty with a short metal spatula, then cook (slowly) in a ribbed grilling pan, starting with just a little oil. I pour off the fat as it accumulates, and remove excess fat from the patty and the pan with paper towels. Turn once, letting it cook partially before adding the cheese. The cheese could be a lot of things, but I am partial to Tillamook medium cheddar as the standard reference. When the cheese goes on, the heat is turned to its lowest flame and the patty covered.

          I used to use ordinary commercial cracked-wheat hamburger buns in preference to other commercial hamburger buns. These were buttered and grilled in a pan. Now I am using the thin style buns instead, to reduce carb intake, and usually toast them (with the "bagel" option).

          The cheese should be properly melted just as the bun is ready. Butter the bun ( if not buttered and grilled), add dijon-style mustard on both sides, and serve with one piece of leaf lettuce, and a slice of onion only if not added to the meat already.

          Mushroom option: these must be finely chopped, sautéed, and added to the meat before cooking.

          Tomato option. This is not essential, although I sometimes add it if it's on hand.

          2 Replies
          1. re: GH1618

            I had to stop reading after the first sentence. ;)

            I like to add fat to fatty cuts when I grind it for burgers...

            1. re: GH1618

              It's best with bison — tastier and less saturated fat. Then upgrade to sharp or extra sharp Tillamook cheddar. Put a thin slice of Walla Walla onion on the patty after flipping it, then add the cheese when almost cooked and let it melt together. Finally, dispense with the bun altogether and eat it with a knife and fork, steak sauce of choice on the side.

            2. How timely. I occasionally go on some or another "kick" and end up making the same thing over and again during a week. We've had burgers three times in 7 days. For the buns, I make killer bread but don't like my homemade buns for burgers, preferring prefer store-bought, "eh" buns. Go figure.

              Option A, patty melt inspired
              Standard 80/20 grind hand-formed into roughly 5" patties, just under an inch thick or so
              pepper (black), parmesan cheese - the cheap stuff
              yellow (not sweet) onions, sliced
              pepper jack or thinly sliced cheese
              mustard, salt, pickles

              Season with pepper and parmesan cheese (yes, I know, it sounds weird) and place patties on a medium-high griddle. Add onions so that they can cook in the juices from the burgers. I like to toast my buns by using the New Milford High School lunch ladies secret weapon: mayonnaise. I just swipe on a thin layer of mayo on the inside only of the bun and let them toast on the griddle. Add cheese to burger if desired, then onions, then pickles somewhere in the mix, and plain yellow mustard plus jalapenos if you are my 14yo daughter and would add them to cereal if you could.

              Option 2: Texas-style
              patties as above, EXCEPT they need to be thinner - about 1/2 inch

              Cook on a VERY hot griddle.This is such a damned mess, but produces the slightly "crispier" crust that I prefer with this style (here's a good time to use that green-can parm again, it gives a killer "crust"). Toast your buns as above, slather with mustard, add burger, and paper thin slices of tomatoes, sweet 1015 onions and pickles.

              Yes, I know, so radical. But so, so good.

              Our go-to is standard old onion rings - batter made from a little less than one 12oz beer, about a cup of flour, and an egg. We like (again) 1015s or a mix of 1015s and plain yellow onions - the sweet can sometimes be too sweet.

              I guess for me, a burger is about its simple perfection.

              1 Reply
              1. re: shanagain

                I think I know the taste of those Option 1 burgers...little hole in the wall down the road makes the best darn burgers. I know they just use the cheapo buns, but they taste so good...they must be using your secret technique....patties were thin though.

                Actually Option 2 sounds great too....had never heard of using "green canned parm"....must try that.

                My 3 favorite meals are a great buger, rare grilled rib eye steak & fried chicken....death by grease. Burgers are really the best meal around for the money...glad to hear there are some burger "masters" out there who take this seriously. Thanks.

              2. I am a minimalist, and adamantly so; I find complexified burgers to be a violation of the very thing.

                But there are key choices:

                The most fundamental choice is the style of the burger patty: flat patty or thick puck. This is such a fundamental choice that the two styles of patty almost need to be considered as if they were two different foods. I've come to realize that the flat patty is far superior, though for many years I yearned for the thick puck to be a thing of wonder. If you use a flat patty and ground chuck or other juicy cut of beef (and I am not even deigning to consider non-beef alternatives as legitimate here), then it actually doesn't matter as much how well done or not the burger is, because it will remain juicy yet be warm through the entire burger - with a thick puck, it's a much trickier equation, one that involves a much higher risk of not so great eats.

                Cooking method: Griddle/pan, grill or steam? Griddle/pan for me.

                Bun: Must be buttered and toasted on a griddle/pan. Can either be a potato roll with seeds (Martin's is good) or an onion roll. Should not be a hard roll/kaiser roll. If it's a patty melt, one of the great glories of the American burger universe, it can be good seeded rye bread. No sourdough or European-style breads otherwise. Period.

                Seasoning: Nothing inside the burger. Nothing. If your beef is good, it doesn't need or benefit from anything in there, and stuff just gets in the way. This is a burger, not a meatloaf. Just coarse salt and fresh black pepper on the outside; one might also add a whisper thin layer of mustard to assist in the building of the crust.

                Cheese: American. Yep. American. Yep. American I say a third time. Cheese snobs, get outta heah!. This is one area where American cheese (Land O'Lakes, please) outperforms its more authentic cousins from elsewhere. The point of cheese is not to add a strong flavor to the burger - again, if you have good beef, get out of its way. American cheese melts beautifully. The point of the cheese is merely to add a final unctuous note and, more importantly, to hold the burger together. That's all. (I will admit undistinctive Jack, Colby or Jarlsberg if necessary; but no cheese with a very noticeably distinctive profile - that includes no Cheddar or Swiss (Swiss can be admitted only in a patty melt), let alone Gruyere or fine blue cheese; I luvs me my fine, strong cheeses; they just don't belong here - the cheese stays in the chorus, behind the star.)

                Onions: Optional, basically only when sweet onions are in season and fresh. Sweet white or red. Sliced wafer-thin. If not a sweet fresh (that is, not storage) onion like Vidalia, then it must be rinsed in cold water and dried. Can be griddled or raw, depending on mood.

                Bacon: I luvs bacon, but if the beef is good, the bacon gets in the way on the burger. Maybe on the side if it's excellent bacon.

                Condiments: None for me, please. Not needed or wanted. I might take a whisper glaze of ketchup in a fitful mood (the whisper glaze of mustard being part of the cooked crust), but that's rare. No mayo.

                Accompaniment on the side: A half-sour, aka new pickle. Not in the burger. (Ditto for bacon, tomato (only very ripe in-season tomatoes need apply), and lettuce.) I don't make onion rings or fries at home, so they are out of the equation for the OP's query.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Karl S

                  Hey, I could definitely eat one of your "minimalist burgers". You have honed this down to a fine art - beef at its finest!!!!!! Thanks for a great burger.

                2. At home, I prefer fast food style thinner patties. Recently, I have been making small slider style burgers.
                  80/20 ground beef
                  cheddar cheese
                  seedless potato roll
                  thinly sliced red or sweet onion
                  sometimes topped with:
                  ketchup, yellow mustard and relish
                  country dijon and hamburger relish
                  boston lettuce and mayo or thousand island

                  I will saute the onions on occasion and use swiss instead of cheddar.
                  I dont eat raw tomato

                  Sides> My favorite is this cheater potato salad
                  Slice up red potatoes
                  Slice some red onion
                  Dice a bit of red pepper
                  Steam the veggies in a basket and when the potatoes are done, drop in a bowl and douse them with bottled zesty Italian dressing (seven seas, wishbone, kraft)

                  damn good I tell ya.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: AdamD

                    Slider burgers.....have not done any of those yet...been thinking about all the "slider" recipes cropping up & now you have got my attention. Only trouble is, is one slider going to be enough for a serious burger eater (like me)???

                    1. re: cstout

                      No. I usually eat three. Which also solves the topping dilemma as you can have each one a different way if you wish.

                      1. re: AdamD

                        Three sliders, three toppings...excellent idea!