Cook the Book: Perfect Burger

Independence Day is a day for fireworks and barbecues and, most importantly—in my opinion, at least—burgers. There is no need to tell you that we are big fans of burgers here at Serious Eats; we like them so much that we have an entire blog devoted to them. Burgers are an American staple and it's no coincidence that they are the centerpiece of most Fourth of July get-togethers. Who doesn't love a juicy, perfectly charred burger?

Bobby Flay is a devoted burger lover. Not content with merely eating them, he opened a chain of burger palaces and wrote a book all about burgers and their partners in crime, fries and shakes.

While burger recipes in Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes get pretty crazy, one thing remains the same, and that is the quality and preparation of the burger itself. Flay is a purist, nothing more than ground chuck, preferably Certified Angus, and some salt and pepper. No additional spices, binders, or fillers are added to Flay's perfect burger. When you start adding onions, garlic, eggs, or breadcrumbs, you end up with a miniature meatloaf, not a burger. There are two important steps in making the perfect burger: The first is not over-thinking it, and the second is not overcooking it.

Win 'Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Bobby Flay's Burgers, Fries & Shakes to give away this week.

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Cook the Book: Perfect Burger

About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (80 percent lean)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 slices cheese (optional)
  • 4 hamburger buns, split; toasted, if desired

Procedures

  1. 1

    Divide the meat into 4 equal portions (about 6 ounces each). Form each portion loosely into a 3/4-inch-thick burger and make a deep impression in the center with your thumb. Season both sides of each burger with salt and pepper.

  2. 2

    Heat a gas grill to high or heat coals in a charcoal grill until they glow bright orange and ash over. Brush the burgers with oil. Grill the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side, about 3 minutes. Flip over the burgers. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese; see step 3) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness.

  3. 3

    If using a grill pan: Heat a grill pan over high heat on top of the stove. Cook the burgers as for a grill, above.

  4. 4

    If using a saute pan or griddle (preferably cast iron): Heat the oil in the pan or griddle until the oil begins to shimmer. Cook the burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the first side. Flip over the burgers. Cook burgers until golden brown and slightly charred on the second side, 4 minutes for medium rare (3 minutes if topping with cheese; see step 3) or until cooked to desired degree of doneness.

  5. 5

    Add the cheese, if using, to the tops of the burgers during the last minute of cooking and top with a basting cover, close the grill cover, or tent the burgers with aluminum foil to melt the cheese.

  6. 6

    Sandwich the hot burgers between the buns and serve immediately.

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