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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!

                  2. So, I normally HATE seasoning mixes, but the one exception is the steak spice available from the inimitable Barbarian's Steak House in Toronto. It's available online if you live elsewhere. ( It also makes a mighty fine stew. When I lived in an apartment I used to get people knocking on my door all the time to ask what I was cooking when I used this mix. )
                    Mix this into your ground beef or make your patty any way you like. The important bit is the toppings. If anyone remembers Toby's, this is their "strike it rich" burger. Mix cream cheese and sour cream in a 2 to 1 ratio until it's homogenous. Add a bit of finely minced chives and parsley. Thinly slice some mushrooms and cook in butter until golden. Toast the bun. Top burger with cheese mix and pile on the mushrooms. If you're willing to go a little off book, add some carmelized onion. Fab!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: dianne0712

                      Yes, yes to that cream cheese & sour cream...have not put that on my burger, but am certainly willing to kick it up with that mixture & mushrooms AND carmelized onion. Oh my!

                    2. Burgers...it is all sounding great, you folks are masters at this..got it down to an exact science..want to try every one!! Where do I start??

                      1. My favorite is 80/20 blend, formed into thick patties with blue cheese in the middle, grilled medium rare. Meanwhile, saute thinly sliced onions and mushrooms on the stove top. I prefer something like a sourdough roll to a regular bun, lightly smeared with mayo and maybe a dash of dijon mustard. No lettuce, no relish.

                        I also love a cheddar, green chile burger. Sauteed jalapenos added on top.

                        1. Roasted green chiles are very important to a good cheeseburger in my house. Put them on the griddle for a few minutes. Then when the burger is just about done, I add the cheese and cover with a stainless bowl as a dome. After the cheese has melted just a bit add the chile and cover for just a few more moments. I think I got this tip from the Owl Bar -- makers of the best green chile cheeseburger in US by many accounts.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: travelerjjm

                            Bit confused here...do you split the fresh green chilies, roast them & after a while, add the cheese to melt on top of the chilies? Then do you put the chilies whole on the meat or what? Maybe you are working with canned green chilies???

                            I have been working with canned roasted green chilies since I cannot always get the fresh Hatch chilies...but it still does not have the smoky taste I am after, besides the canned chilies are a little too tangy & I don't know what to do to cut that tanginess. The burger I am trying to figure out how to get the flavor had a thick green chilie kinda sauce, with other spices mixed in the sauce.

                            What type of cheese do you use?

                            1. re: cstout

                              I prefer to roast the chiles myself and remove the skins and chop. Then I cook them on the griddle before placing on the burger. Some canned brands are better than others. Hatch brand ones are OK. There is a brand of "fire roasted" ones we get sometimes, but I don't remember the name.

                              I put the chile on top of the cheese (which is on top of the burger and just beginning to melt), or, if I am grilling, sometimes I put it on the bun and the hot cheeseburger on top.

                              I use sharp cheddar because it is the cheddar I have. Some folks like medium cheddar and that is ok, too.

                              I don't use green chile *sauce* for burgers, but it might be really good. I use Huntley Dent's recipe (see here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/287411 at the bottom right now) or something close to it when I make green chile sauce. I *do not* use jalapenos.

                              1. re: travelerjjm

                                Thanks for the roasted chilies lesson. That link had some good info in there too. You are right - jalapenos just don't measure up on a burger. I like chunky chili sauce too, not the pureed kind, & the fire roasted chilies are good. Thanks for the tips.

                          2. Butter the burger! Seriously, if you're not grilling, panfrying with butter is the way to go. I often add mustard to the surface of the burger while sauteeing, too. As for the rest, it's personal taste. I like onion buns, sauteed onions, romaine lettuce, tomato, secret sauce, American cheese, and dill pickle slices.

                            3 Replies
                              1. re: AdamD

                                Pretty much. I think it's kind of the ur-cheeseburger for me. Onion jam, blue cheese, roasted chiles -- they're fine, but they're not really a burger in the way that I usually feel like a cheeseburger.

                              2. re: Savour

                                Never heard of adding mustard to the surface of the burger while sauteenig...do you add it a little after they have cooked or when? Romaine lettuce just kicks the burger up a notch & gives it some crunch. Good stuff!

                              3. Having been in Texas since 1976 I have developed a deep appreciation for the Texas style burger (got to be a Butter Krust bun and Del Dixie pickles), but my real love is a thicker patty of good meat, cooked on a hot grill so it is still pink and juicy, salt and pepper, a tart mayonnaise on one side of a sourdough bun, Maille Dijon on the other, a thin slice of onion, sharp cheddar, and my Aunt Vera's chili sauce which is tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, chilis, vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, allspice, cayenne, and black pepper. I also think back to days as a Yankee when mother fried sirloin patties and served them ungarnished on buttered English muffins...OMG.

                                7 Replies
                                1. re: tim irvine

                                  Gosh, I don't have Del Dixie pickles...but I did have an Aunt Vera in East Tx. That chili sauce sounds wonderful - do you have the recipe?

                                  Sirloin patties on English muffins....must try that sometime, love them both. Thanks for sharing.

                                  1. re: cstout

                                    My Aunt Vera was from SF.
                                    Chop 20-24 large tomatoes, 4-5 large onions, 3-4 large green bell peppers, 3-4 "long hot green peppers" (I like serranos) ... Add 1 3/4 cup of cider vinegar, 1 1/2 ups of sugar (I like turbinado), 2 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. each of ground cloves, ginger, and allspice, 1/4 tsp. cayenne, 1/4 cup salt,, and up to 2 tsp. of whole black peppercorns. (I alter the recipe by grinding the peppercorns and using only 1 tsp.). Bring to a boil then simmer 4 hours and can in Mason jars. Vera was actually my great great aunt and got this from her Aunt Zan. So it has endured.

                                    1. re: tim irvine

                                      Would tomatoes that are getting a little overripe work? Towards the end of summer when veggies are starting to be finished in the garden is the only way I can afford to buy a box of them to can. During the early season they are priced way too high & the drought around here has kept me from growing my own.

                                      I am really anxious to make your recipe...sounds so good...about how many pints will this recipe yield?

                                      1. re: cstout

                                        Really ripe tomatoes would be great. (I have A great recipe for green tomato pickle, too). I am not sure how many pints. Last year I got 6 quarts, but I can't remember if I adjusted it down because of nt enough of something.

                                        1. re: tim irvine

                                          Gosh, I wish I had a box of tomatoes to work with right now. You know better than to dangle a potential recipe in front of us...please give us the green tomato pickle too....I have never tasted that.

                                          1. re: cstout

                                            Sorry to have forgotten the thread. I was busy swilling Evan Williams single barrel and eating cheeseburgers. (Oh yeah, and working.)

                                            Bring to a boil, simmer an hour and can the following: 7 1/2 pounds sliced green tomatoes, 6 sliced long peppers (I use Anaheims), 4 sliced large onions, all of which were salted and left in a bowl overnight, and 6 tbsp of brown sugar, 4 oz. of yellow mustard seed, 1 tbsp. Dried mustard, 3 pints of cider vinegar, 1 tbsp. black pepper, 1 tbsp. celery seed, and two small bottles of horseradish. Amazing on cold roast beef.

                                            1. re: tim irvine

                                              Green tomato relish, I will find some green tomatoes somewhere to make this. Sounds like it would go with just about anything. Thanks so much for sharing. Now get back to work & Mr Williams, not necessairly in that order, just keep your priorities straight.

                                2. My favorite burger bun is a fresh baked Miami onion roll. Then my favorite burger meat: lamb.
                                  Add some nice sharp feta cheese to the raw meat along with a bit of oregano and garlic and grill it to medium. Top with a feta-Greek yogurt spread and some fresh mint and enjoy!

                                  A local take out joint offers a Mac and Cheese burger that consists of a all beef patty, a prepared slab of mac and cheese, cheese wiz served on a Miami onion roll. While the burger is grilling the mac and cheese "patty" is grilled on both sides to heat and crisp it. The crusty-cheesy bite this combo offers is just outstanding. I haven't made it at home yet but I plan to!

                                  Turkey burgers with shreds of zucchini and fresh tomato bits is another favorite. I love Swiss cheese on turkey burgers.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    That Mac & Cheese burger is totally foreign to me, but I think I could I could get used to that combination in a few short bites. Is the mac & cheese part of the burger or served as a side?

                                    1. re: cstout

                                      The mac & cheese is prepared ahead of time in typical fashion and then cut into "slabs". While the burger is grilling, the surface of the mac and cheese "patty" is also grilled quickly to heat and soften. Then it's place on the bun, along with additional cheese spread (Whiz) and topped with the hamburger. The combo is rich, gooey and over the top. But amazin!

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        Got it this time, sometimes it takes a time or two for me to catch on to what is said, you explained it perfectly both times..gosh, Over the top aint the word....my goodness that sure sounds good.

                                        1. re: cstout

                                          one of those killer good burgers, cstout..and it took me by surprise.
                                          now I have to pace myself!

                                  2. I'll just post what I always do on these best burger threads:

                                    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

                                      I don't care what anybody says, back in those days grease made the meal...you name it, there was grease in it....look at those albino looking pork steaks now days....no flavor, no nothing! Anyway, this is a burger thread, so I better just slink off to a corner & rant to myself about the lack of grease.

                                    2. It's a mystery to me why people are still into greasy hamburgers. I used to eat my share of "hot and (greasy)" hamburgers. Nowadays I find them disgusting.

                                      4 Replies
                                      1. re: GH1618

                                        Because greasy burgers, along with Mozart's later piano concerti and DaVinci's Virgin of the Rocks, are humanity's crowning achievements...oh and Levi 501s.

                                        1. re: tim irvine

                                          And here I thought it was dirty martinis.

                                          1. re: tcamp

                                            I am willing to be on the committee to decide!

                                        2. re: GH1618

                                          Well, GH1618, you are right about the greasy stuff....our taste buds change, along with everything else...ahh but the memories!!

                                        3. Here's a couple ideas for ya. My go to toppings are pretty minimal most of the time but occasionally I do either of these.

                                          1) Take your favourite plain burger/bun combo. Doesn't matter which. Add sliced cheese, mustard, onion, chili and creamy coleslaw. In NC and Va. on hot dogs this is called "All the way" or "The works." I saw it on a menu as a Carolina burger. Very tasty.

                                          2) Open faced, topped with chili and loads of cheese. Then, under the broiler 'til the cheese is ooey, gooey. Garnish with finely minced onion.


                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: Davwud

                                            1)....that is an unusual combination...chili & coleslaw....hmm, I am always open to different things, so would like to try it...once I find a decent chili recipe..always looking for the perfect Coney Island Chili sauce...never been there, but tasted it here in TX one time & have never forgotten that flavor.

                                            2) Yes, chili & cheese is good on anything.


                                            1. re: cstout

                                              my favorite recipe for chili is from a very old moldy cookbook.
                                              mom gave it to me after she was ready to toss it and I yelled "NO!"
                                              anyway, it's so simple and so good, contains no tomatoes either.
                                              that's best for my husband with his iffy tummy.
                                              we love chili and it's one reason I don't mind cold weather setting in because I can stick a large pot on and let 'er rip all day long on ultra low.

                                          2. Key factor: I haven't bought store packaged ground beef in ages. Go to the meat department, select a bone-in or boneless chuck steak or roast, and have the butcher grind it -- once, not twice, and coarse if they have that. They will almost always do this for no charge, you know exactly what is in your meat, and it is remarkably fresher, especially if you use it that day.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: nosh

                                              Butcher ground chuck...sounds like a good idea, unfortunately, when I take a cut of meat for them to do something to it, they take forever.....almost like they try to discourage you from asking for stuff like that when they have ground chuck already packaged. Oh well, that is a chain store for you.

                                              I don't have a little hand grinder, wonder if that would work to get a "course grind" blade. Does anybody use those for grinding their own meats on a small scale???

                                              Yes, fresh meat is key to good burgers!!!

                                              1. re: nosh

                                                or if you have a Cuisinart or a good quality food processor, you can stick the steak pieces in there and do it yourself. I do that a lot.........just sayin

                                              2. Grinding your own beef is key, but you have to figure out what grind you like best. I prefer mine ground once, coarsely, but DH likes it ground twice, first on the coarse die and then the fine one. Cuts with plenty of fat work best - I have used short rib, flap meat, skirt steak, brisket and even plain fatty stew meat with varying degrees of success. Flap meat is probably my favorite, but blends work too. Grinding some bacon into the beef makes a delicious burger, but this blend isn't well suited for a rare burger.

                                                I enjoy both thick and thin patties but for indoor cooking I generally prefer thin (about 1/2 inch), cooked on a hot griddle. Plenty of salt and nothing else. Throw them on the hot griddle, let sit for about 1-2 minutes, flip, top with cheese and allow to cook another minute, covered with an aluminum bowl so the cheese melts.

                                                When I make thick burgers, I like to stuff them with a pat of butter, so that it melts from the inside and seeps through the meat. I sear them on each side and then move them to the cool side of the grill to cook to medium rare (or put them in the oven until they're medium rare if I do them inside).

                                                As for cheese, I like things in the swiss family - emmentaler, gruyere, etc. - but I will gladly eat just about any cheese on a burger. DH will eat nothing but American, which I admit has its charms. He also likes burgers stuffed with American cheese (i.e. Jucy Lucys), which I enjoy as well. Favorite toppings are caramelized onions and green olive mayonnaise or chipotle mayonnaise. Sometimes mustard, though DH hates it (he uses barbecue sauce instead). Bacon jam if I have it in the house (DH loves actual bacon with his burgers, but I just find it difficult to eat - bacon jam gives you the flavor without having to actually bite through strips of bacon). No tomatoes, lettuce or raw onion, ever. And NEVER EVER EVER ketchup. When we're in Santa Fe, green chile is a must!

                                                Buns optional. I'm an Atkins girl so I rarely eat a bun with my burger, but when I do it has to be a potato roll (I prefer Martin's, no seeds). I love sweet potato fries (with blue cheese salad dressing to dip) as a side, but again, those are a rare treat. I often make spicy pan-fried green beans to go with burgers, which are always a hit. Oven roasted cauliflower (roasted until it's basically petrified) makes a good crispy substitute for chips.

                                                8 Replies
                                                1. re: biondanonima

                                                  My goodness, you have given us a goldmine in tastes...thanks so much for inviting us for burgers!

                                                  Love the idea of a round bowl to cover cheese so it melts real good on top...think some one else mentioned it too.

                                                  Green olive mayo...that sounds delicious...do you just chop up some green (stuffed?) olives & add them to the mayo or what??

                                                  Will have to look up a recipe for spicy pan fried green beans, do you use fresh or canned? Give me green beans in any shape, form or fashion.

                                                  1. re: cstout

                                                    ooooh, that mayo does sound deee-vine.
                                                    I love olives of any sort.
                                                    I would think it would be easy enough to concoct a great tasting mayo with olives of your choice, heck, I'd just toss 'em all in there and hit pulse. a little lemon juice, a titch of cayenne, specialty sea salt, maybe smoked, garlic and ramps or scallions, all moooshed up in the food processor, I think it'd be a winner. heck forget the burger, I'll just take the sauce

                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                      What I usually do is coarsely chop whatever green olives I have in the house (usually the nice fat ones from the olive bar at the Fairway, or occasionally the small ones marinated with herbs, but even regular grocery store olives will work) and stir them into Hellman's mayonnaise - easy peasy. I get fancier sometimes and make a green olive tapenade (with capers and anchovies, etc) and stir that into homemade aioli, but honestly I like the simple version better - the chunkiness of the olives is awesome.

                                                      As for the green beans, I heat up a good amount of bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, get it good and hot, and toss in a pound or so of fresh green beans and a little salt. Saute until dark brown in spots. Turn off the heat and add Sriracha to taste, stirring so that the Sriracha caramelizes slightly with the residual heat of the pan. It's one of the few ways I can eat green beans - I find the canned type repulsive.

                                                  2. re: biondanonima

                                                    Plus 30,000 on grind your own. I tried mixing various meats, but the flap meat is good by itself. I am getting flank steak at Costco and it is good too. These meats are in the neighborhood of 90/10.

                                                    I got the grinder for the Kitchenaid and it couldn't be simpler. Cut the meat in 1 inch cubes, freeze for 30 minutes or so, grind it up into a bowl. I use the smaller die on the grinder and I grind it once. Use a couple of slices of bread to push the meat out of the grinder and turn it off when the bread starts to come through. Very little waste.

                                                    Weigh out 4 ounces (a small patty) and then add some fresh ground pepper. On a plate, loosely form the patty. Add salt to that side. Flip it with a spatula on the plate so you can salt the other side. Be careful because it might break. You want it loose.

                                                    Heat a stainless steal pan with a teaspoon of oil in it until it is smoking hot. 2 minutes on each side. Let the burger rest on a clean plate for a minute or so. It is ready. There is no pink, but it isn't dry. I tried for 1:45 minutes per side with little difference. If you want it pink or more red, try 1:30. Or just make the burger thicker.

                                                    If you want an 8 ounce burger, you should probably finish in the oven and use a meat thermometer to get the temperature right. I think the general consensus is use a 300 degF oven to sneak up on your desired temperature.

                                                    The bun varies to match your toppings. A Wonder bun is Ok if buttered and toasted if the burger is nearly plain (one or two condiments). The Martin's potato rolls can handle more toppings. Then you progress to the Kaiser roll.

                                                    In my testing, the goal is twofold: when they bite it their brain should send a signal to their mouth to exclaim "this is the best burger I have ever had" while at the same time the brain sends a signal to the teeth to "not stop chewing". They essentially mumble, but you know exactly what they mean.

                                                    Another really good test is if they get juice or condiments on their face, but they refuse to put down the burger to clean themselves up at this time - maybe in another bite or two.

                                                    Those are the only two tests that I can think of that give you true feedback.

                                                    Another feature of the 4 ounce burger is that many people can eat more then one. It is amazing how much more they pay attention to the process once they have had one.

                                                    And on the second one they mumble and allow stuff to be on their face for a few bites until they come up for air. You can tell they really like it.

                                                    One Saturday I invited friends over for burgers. They straggled in which was part of the plan. Everyone that arrived early stayed around to watch the next person eat a burger. They are that good.

                                                    Grind your own. No question about it. I have stuck with flap and flank, and I got no reason to try anything else. Chuck you might grind twice to help break up the connective tissues. For flap or flank, I grind once with the small die with partially frozen meat.

                                                    With the Kitchenaid, it is easy cleanup. $50 for the attachment.

                                                    If the meat is perfect, the condiments and the bun just need to be the right scale.


                                                    People that grind their own meat tell people that don't grind their own meat to grind their own meat to make a better burger. It goes in one ear of the people that don't grind their own meat and then out the other side. The non-grinders think they just need to buy different store bough burger such as chuck or sirloin and either get it fattier or leaner. They don't get "it".

                                                    I made a burger with fresh ground meat and let it sit in the fridge covered in plastic for 24 hours and cooked it with the same technique. The burger was tough. Apparently the meat glued itself back together. I did not salt it. I salted it just prior to cooking.

                                                    It is the sear, the quick cooking of the meat, and the cut of meat that makes all the difference. And grinding your own. Keep the meat loose until you form a patty and then cook it immediately and quickly.

                                                    I live in Manassas VA and if a non-meat grinder wants a great burger, let me know. I would be more then happy to make you a burger just to see your face when you bite it. It is consistently that good.

                                                    Forget topping, if the meat is great, the rest is easy.

                                                    Attached is a pic of the burger with nacho cheese on a buttered and toasted Wonder bun. It is not my preference, but it was good. My son (the kid in the background) loved it.

                                                    1. re: ArtH

                                                      That was a great read, now please tell me what "flap meat" is. I will order a grinder attachment for my Kitchen Aid. Have not been to the web site, will there be seperate blades I order or do you get several when you purchase the grinder - bet not. How many different blades do you have? I am assuming a die is the grinder blade, please correct me if I am wrong. Thanks for all the info.

                                                      I want to taste one of those burgers & get my face all messy too!

                                                      1. re: cstout


                                                        I got the non flip up mixer and I got something called an FGA. I am thinking that means food grinder attachment. I think these are the same for all KA stuff. The same with pasta makers which we will talk about later.

                                                        The FGA is white plastic with two blades (dies) to grind the meat. $42.95 if you are Amazon Prime. And you can have it before you wake up.

                                                        The flap that I have been getting has been butterflied. It is somewhere on the belly. It is a muscle that has been used a lot and therefore has a lot of flavor. It looks like an ugly cut of flank. It looks like the crap that poor people eat. It looks like crap to me. There are other names for it (Wikipedia and other places). I like it so much I am beginning to think that I am poor.

                                                        I got Choice flank steak at Costco and it is good and repeatable. I am assuming that everyone in the world can get flank steak. Costco doesn't have flap which should probably cost $2 per pound but they have flank at about 5 or 6. As best I can tell, flank has a smidge less fat but tastes great too.

                                                        Once you get the grinder, grind something.

                                                        A friend lent me his pasta rollers for the KA. They are a nice thing. It is easy. I am not sure if you had fresh pasta, but it is good. But not with a hamburger.

                                                        You definitely need a good bun.

                                                        When I started making fresh ground burgers at home - and I am not proud to say this - I also made buns and it was too hard. For a burger I made 55 and 60 and 65 and 70 and 75 and 80 and 85 gram balls of dough for a bun. I let them rise and baked them off. The 65 gram ball was the best answer at that time for a bun.

                                                        My suggestion is to get some flank and grind it up. If you can get flap, get it. First you need to try a little piece before you determine what meat YOU like.

                                                        But the meat is also good for taco's and spaghetti and meatballs and chili (grind thick) and hot dog chili (grind a few times).

                                                        If you have a KB&B around you, you could have it today.

                                                        Just saying.

                                                        1. re: ArtH

                                                          My Costco carries flap meat - it's usually $1 cheaper per pound than flank (around $5/pound). If you can't find flap, I would use skirt steak instead of flank (or a combo) - I adore flank steak as a steak, but I think it's a bit too lean for burgers. Flap meat is actually my favorite cut for lots of things - kebabs, stirfry, fajitas - you can even serve it as a steak if you don't care about the shape so much.

                                                          1. re: ArtH

                                                            Hey, lot's of good info you just tossed out, I appreciate it. Please don't knock us "poor folks", we have been eating chicken wings, flank steak, pork hocks & what not way before the rich folks knew what was good eating. Just getting back to your roots is all it is.

                                                            I have been toying with the pasta maker for quite awhile, but don't know if it would be used all that much...such an array out there on the grocery aisles to temp my lazy bones.

                                                            But the grinder attachments will definately be used more often. As far as the buns, I am going to tackle the link from King Arthur flour & if that is a flop, I will just stick to my Artisan bread recipes & buy the buns....can't have everything in life.

                                                    2. Equal parts short rib, brisket and sirloin(if you want really good then dry age at least one). Grind fresh, shape loosely then liberally salt and a bit of pepper and cook on a hot grill or griddle and top with either American, cheddar or blue cheese. Martins potato roll brushed with bacon fat or butter and toasted. Mayo on the bottom bun and ketchup, onion and pickles with the American cheese...avocado, arugula and BBQ potato chips with the blue..and bacon, lettuce and spicy mustard with the cheddar

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: niquejim

                                                        Wow, that sounds like a great combination....how do you dry age meat at home??

                                                      2. not sure about the burger but I agree about a great bun being soooo important.
                                                        now, as with other recipes I've made, this one turned out the best the very first time I made it.
                                                        after that, although all was the same, they were not ever as perfect as first time, maybe has something to do with the humidity, who knows.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: iL Divo

                                                          Homemade burger buns - I have been thinking about making my own & here you come up with a recipe. Yes, first time perfection is oftentimes elusive down the line. I had that happen with homemade tortillas, absolute perfection the first time & then afterwards, had one quirky thing or another happen to throw them a little "off". Thanks for the link.

                                                          1. re: cstout

                                                            freshly ground chuck or short rib blend 80/20. I make patties that are about 7-8 oz. we like them thick and juicy. they are lightly formed. I used to mix in the seasonings, but discovered that made the meat tough. Now i just let the patties be and then season generously on the outside with salt and pepper, sometimes garlic and/or onion powder. I grill on high or inside in a screaming hot cast iron pan. Usually 4 min per side. I add pepperjack cheese or american when the second side is almost done. Buns are whole wheat challah rolls made by our favorite market. toppings are minimal. the burges stay very juicy when done to medium or so. ocasionally I add a smear of mustard. sometimes I add 2 oven baked frozen cheapo onion rings (NY diner style).

                                                        2. Everybody thanks for all the great burgers...all the way, every which a way & then some. I am in complete heaven at what all is popping up here. Burgers rule, as far as I am concerned. Loaded, unloaded, minimalist, whatever, it's all good! You folks sure do know what's good.

                                                          1. Grilled buttered potato bun, spread with garlic aioli, topped with sliced ripe tomatoes and shredded tomaine; burger of ground sirloin mixed with salt and pepper and formed around blue cheese; grilled 'till medium-rare, and laid atop the bottom bun which has spicy mustard and a very thin slice of white sweet onion. On the side there has to be a nice pile of bread-and-butter pickles (or really good dill pickles); steak-cut fries done in duck-fat, and another pile of sliced tomato.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: mamachef

                                                              "shredded tomaine" is an unfortunate typo in a thread about ground beef.

                                                              1. re: hyde

                                                                Gawd, I didn't even see that typo, and now I can't correct it. Sounds deliciously dangerous, eh? Oh well - at least I didn't add the P to it as well.

                                                                1. re: mamachef

                                                                  No matter about the typo, I had a good laugh & I am sure others did too!!! We were laughing with you, not AT you. I have typed some mighty strange stuff myself, things spell check won't catch.