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There are about a million ways to top a hamburger, and we're not here to tell you what goes into yours. But it's our duty to make sure that you're cooking your burgers as deliciously as possible. With a few super-simple techniques and shopping tips, you'll be a burger master in no time.
What kind of ground beef should I buy?
We like cooking with 80 percent lean, 20 percent fat. It makes for a juicy, but not greasy burger. (With less fat, you're at high risk for dry meat.) While the pre-made patties are tempting and convenient, they can be over-packed, which can lead to dense burgers. It's easier and better to form your own.
How big should I form the patty?
To fit nicely inside of a standard bun, we aim for 3 1/2- to 4" wide, or about 1" wider than the bun. Know that the burger will shrink a bit when it cooks.
Does the thumbprint trick really work? And what does it do?
Yes! Pressing your thumb into the center of each patty helps with the burger's shape. As the burger is cooking, it tends to puff in the center. This indentation combats this problem.
My burgers always come out bland. What's up with that?
Although Gordon Ramsay likes to season his burger meat a day before, we don't add the salt until right before it hits the grill. We find that results are generally more tender, not as tough. Our biggest piece of advice is to SEASON GENEROUSLY—on both sides. Salt brings out flavor.
Another heads up: You'll want to get your meat to room temperature, or close to it, to ensure that it cooks evenly.
What temperature should I cook my burger?
- Well done: 165°
- Medium well: 150–155°
- Medium: 145–150°
- Medium rare: 140–145°
- Rare: 135°
What kind of lettuce should I use?
For top-notch crunch, skip fancy varieties like Bibb or romaine—it's gotta be iceberg.
Should I grill the onions?
You could, but we actually prefer minced, not sliced, white onion. It has a milder flavor than red.
What's the best kind of cheese?
The creaminess and superior melt factor of American cheese can't be beat.
The best type of bun?
Martin's or bust. The pillowy potato rolls never get soggy—even without getting toasted.
Freshly ground black pepper
slices cheese, such as American
large tomato, thinly sliced
Minced white onion
- Shape beef into 3 equal-sized patties, about 1" wider than the bun. Season both sides of each patty liberally with salt and pepper. Press a wide, shallow indent into the center of each burger.
- If grilling: Heat grill or grill pan to high. Grill patties until crust develops and they're no longer pink, 6 minutes. Flip and immediately brush with melted butter on top of each patty. Cook 3 minutes more then add cheese. Continue cooking to desired doneness, 3 minutes more for medium.
- If cooking in skillet: Heat skillet to medium-high heat and cook patties until crust develops and they're no longer pink, 6 minutes. Flip and immediately brush with melted butter on top of each patty. Cook 3 minutes more then add cheese. Continue cooking to desired doneness, 3 minutes more for medium.
- Sandwich burgers between buns with desired fixings.
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