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Summer Eats: How to Make a Great Hamburger

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Week 3 in my summer series..

Who doesn't love a great hamburger? We probably all eat one at least every other week. But if it's fast food it's just not the same. A good restaurant burger is always awesome but sometimes you just need to create a your own at home. Here are some do's and don'ts from a guy who really loves a great burger.

DO NOT:

  • Use a frozen patty
  • Use ketchup

That's basically it. I'd also add in don't use a gas grill but that's not too big of a deal. Just don't use a frozen patty unless you just want food to eat. If you actually want a good meal - buy some ground chuck.


My key to a great burger, like a great steak, is salt and pepper. It's so simple - don't be fooled into putting a bunch of Dale's or Worcestershire or anything else in when making your patties. Just put your beef in a bowl, and liberally put in salt and pepper. I mean, don't take the cap off, but probably put more in there than you think you should. I would say to use approximately one and a half teaspoons of salt and pepper per pound of beef. Then form your patties.

Once you've cooked your burger, now for the toppings. The great thing about a burger is how versatile it is with regards to toppings. Here are a few of my favorite non-traditional items...
  • blue cheese crumbles and sauteed onion
  • bacon and more bacon
  • avocado
  • jalapenos
Placement of toppings can be crucial. With your traditional trimings: lettuce, tomato, pickle, mayo, mustard, onion, cheese, you should always place the onion and pickle below the meat. This is because those items need to hit the pallet first so you will get the full flavor of the beef and other condiments.

For the ketchup rule - where do you go to get a burger with ketchup on it? McDonald's. What is McDonalds? A bunch of crap. Ketchup is the worst condiment in the history of man and no one should ever use it on a burger. Keep it to the side with your fries.

I like to grill some burgers at least once a month at my house. And I always like to try something different. I don't see any point in going for the same old tried and true toppings - experiment! Some of the best meals I've had have been when I enhanced my meals with different flavors to create a taste explosion in my mouth. The least you can do is put a different type of cheese on the thing. Happy burger eating.