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The Perfect Burger

The key is to buy ground beef chuck with at least 20 percent fat, which produces the juiciest burgers.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4

Source: Everyday Food, July/August 2007


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef chuck (80 percent lean)
  • Vegetable oil, for grates
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 4 hamburger buns, split and lightly grilled, or toasted
  • Lettuce, tomato, or other toppings, as desired

For Tex-Mex topping combination:

  • Pepper Jack Cheese
  • Salsa
  • Guacamole or Sliced Avocado
  • Sliced White Onion
  • Sliced Pickled jalapenos

For West Coast topping combination:

  • Soft goat cheese
  • Garlic mayonnaise
  • Flat leaf spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced red onion

For Southern topping combination:

  • Barbecue sauce
  • Coleslaw or shredded cabbage
  • Sweet pickles or pickle relish
  • Cooked bacon


  1. Evenly divide meat into 4 portions. With a light touch, gently form each one into a ball, then shape into a 3/4-inch-thick patty. With thumb, make a 1/4-inch-deep indentation in the center of each (this prevents burgers from getting rounded tops during grilling). Transfer to a plate; cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to cook, up to 1 day.

  2. Heat grill to high (it should be difficult to hold your hand above the grates). Moisten a folded paper towel with vegetable oil; grasp with tongs, and quickly wipe over the grates.

  3. Generously season patties on both sides with salt and pepper. Place patties on grill; cover, and cook to desired doneness, 2 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare. Serve burgers on buns with desired toppings.

Cook's Notes

When making the patties, don't overwork the meat; that way, the burgers will stay nice and moist. Pat gently -- never squeeze or compress the beef.


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