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Burgers: Through Thick and Thin

We’ve stuffed them with foie gras and topped them with everything including bacon and kimchi. Countless blogs the world over are dedicated to this American icon, a testament to our collective obsession. But really, it all boils down to two camps: the big, juicy steakhouse staple and the lacy-edged, caramelized burger-joint classic. Whichever’s your pleasure, here’s our definitive guide to making it at home -- because sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to get right.

The Thick Burger

Oozing with juice and loaded with beefy flavor, it’s a burger connoisseur’s fantasy.

Patty

Eighty percent lean ground beef chuck makes for a juicy but not greasy grilled burger. Form the patty loosely to ensure a tender texture (no slapping or patting), and make an indentation in the center to prevent doming.

Seasoning

Salt draws moisture out of meat. Generously season the outside of the patty rather than the meat mixture so the center stays juicy.

Cheese

You need the sharpness of white cheddar to stand up to the beefiness of this burger. Add the cheese immediately after flipping to maximize melt.

Toppings

It’s all about thick slices of tomato, lettuce, and onion -- dainty slivers would get lost in this mammoth sandwich.

Bun

A bakery roll, rather than a packaged bun, is worth it here; it will soak up the juice without getting gummy.

Get the Thick Burger Recipe

The Thin Burger

Straight out of central casting: a savory, slender patty on a deliciously squishy bun.

Patty

A 70 percent lean meat mix is key for griddle-cooked burgers, which get crisp by sizzling in their own fat. Flatten them with a rolling pin for uniform thinness.

Make Ahead

Thin patties freeze beautifully when layered with parchment in a freezer bag. After an hour at room temperature, they’re ready for the griddle.

Cheese

This guilty-pleasure burger begs for gooey, melty American cheese.

Toppings

Sour-salty pickles, spicy onions, and shards of cool iceberg lettuce are the best counterpoints to this greasy-in-a-good-way patty.

Bun

Martin’s Famous Sandwich Potato Rolls are our choice for their slight sweetness and optimally squishy centers. Butter them before toasting to highlight those qualities, and then add contrast with a smear of sharp mustard.

Get the Thin Burger Recipe