The perfect hamburger

For years I searched for the perfect hamburger. I tried every filler and spice known to man, but time and time again the results were lackluster at best. Then like so many good things, the answer only came to me after I gave up the search in a screaming curse-laden fit of exasperation. The key it seems is to trust the flavor of the meat. Some things simply don’t need enhancing. So how did I discover what was right there in front of my irate face? Simple. I just wanted a burger and my civility was dropping with my blood sugar. So instead taking the time to mix eggs, breadcrumbs and a host of random fillers, I simply added some salt, pepper and a touch of oil, tossed those puppies on a hot grill and Shazam! There it was. The perfect burger. One bite and my sunny disposition returned. And so will yours. Happy grilling.


  • 2 lbs ground chuck, 80% lean (ask your butcher to grind this for you two times)
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 pinch pepper
  • Small touch of olive oil
  • 6 buns
  • Cambozola, blue, munster or cheddar cheese optional
  • use ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise tomato and lettuce at your discretion


  • Grill
  • Bowl
  • Spatula
  • Tongs
  • Paper towels
  • Vegetable or canola oil


  1. Preheat or light your grill.
  2. Place your meat into the bowl. Add salt, pepper and oil and mix. Gently form the meat into six balls and then flatten them into patties no more than 1-inch thick. With your thumb create a depression in the middle of the patties. This is critical as the center bulges when you cook. So if you want nice heavenly flat burgers make a healthy silver dollar sized depression in the middle of your burgers.
  3. Pour some oil onto a paper towel and using tongs grease the grill rack. This will keep your burgers from sticking to the grill.
  4. Place the patties on the grill and sear on both sides. Whatever you do, this is critical, I mean really really important – Do not press down on your burgers! This will do nothing but drain all that precious flavor out. I don’t know where this instinct comes from, I’m guessing it is something primal packed into our genetic code, but fight it with all your might. I still catch myself doing it and I should know better.
  5. Toast your buns on the grill. They will toast quickly so be vigilant.
  6. Serve without haste. These burgers are best while they’re hot. A slice of Cambozola Cheese on top is the ultimate compliment to this heavenly burger.

What you should know

Approximate Grill Times:

Rare: 3 minutes per side

Medium Rare: 3 ½ minutes per side

Medium: 4 minutes per side

Well Done: Go buy a tofu burger you commie!

You may need to ask you butcher to grind up a chuck roast for you. If so ask him, ask him to grind it twice. You can always use another cut of steak and have your butcher grind that up if you like. Just ask him to grind it twice.

Can I use 10% lean, or turkey or tofu? Not without turning in your GreatGrub Membership card. If you are going to have a burger have one worth splurging on. If you want to eat health food – eat health food. Don’t try and turn the simple burger into something that it is not.

One option for the fat obsessed is grass fed buffalo meat. I not a huge fan as I love good old fashioned corn laden cow, but I am told it is naturally leaner and quite tasty.

Don’t put the lid down while you are grilling. When you do this you are in effect turning on the baking option as the hot air circulates around the burger. For an ideal burger you want to sear the meat not bake it.

Can you add other fillers such as garlic? The answer is yes, but do so with a light touch. The secret to the perfect burger is to let that sumptuous beef speak for its self. Fast-food joints use fillers to keep costs down. Day old bread is a lot cheaper than fresh steak. I’m all for the occasional greasy pig-out but that is a different experience from the home grilled burger.

Don’t try and melt cheese on your burgers. It drips off. Add the cheese with the rest of your toppings at the table.

Re: Hamburger heaven

Well, I have to say that this is heavenly indeed. I placed mine under a grill (broiler) on a rack to let the fat drip away. I kept them nice and thick… half-pounders. They were gorgeous. I have to agree with Andrew’s insistence on keeping the fat level high (at least 15% I would suggest). It makes all the difference.

I bought my meat at a local market at which the butcher told me how the health-conscious (and snob-conscious) shoppers choose the sirloin mince for their burgers… “Dry like dust” he said. “They haven’t a clue…” as he packed my fat-laced mince into paper.

Re: The perfect hamburger