6 burgers

The steps to making a perfect burger start out with ground meat and buns; the rest is up to you. Set up a toppings bar with all your favorite fixings and let everyone make their own burgers.From the book "Mad Hungry," by Lucinda Scala Quinn (Artisan Books).


  • 6 buns for hamburgers

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

  • Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 pounds ground beef, formed into 6 patties

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)

  • 6 slices mild cheddar cheese

  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced (about ½ cup)

  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise

  • Ketchup, (optional)

  • Mustard, (optional)

  • 3 lettuce leaves, cut in half

  • 3 dill pickles, thinly cut horizontally


  1. Preheat the broiler or preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the buns in half and place them cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Spread with the butter.

  2. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Generously salt and pepper the beef patties. Space the patties in the skillet without touching, and cook, without turning or flattening, for 4 to 6 minutes (depending on thickness). Turn the burgers and cook for another 4 to 6 minutes. If desired, swirl the Worcestershire into the pan 2 minutes before the burgers are finished. (Do this if you have inferior meat or no ketchup.)

  3. With 1 minute left to cook, place a cheese slice on each burger. Cover with a pot lid and cook until melted. Lay onion slices on top of the melting cheese. (If using sauteed onions, place under the cheese before melting.) Remove the burgers to a plate or board to rest for a few seconds before placing them on the buns.

  4. Meanwhile, broil or toast the buns for 1 to 5 minutes, until golden on the cut side and still soft on the outside.

  5. Spread mayonnaise on one side of each bun. Lay a burger on top. (Top with ketchup and mustard, if using.) Garnish with lettuce and top with the other half of the bun. Serve immediately with a side of sliced dill pickles.

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