BURGER “Build a Better Burger”

There are many classic burger recipes in my cookbooks; Fog City Diner Cookbook, Mustards Grill: Napa Valley Cookbook, and Big Small Plates, all available on Amazon.

These are my “burger rules.” Hope you enjoy.

For better flavor, I use ground beef that is not too lean, free of additives and has a ratio of 82% lean to fat. You want a juicy burger.

Plan on 6-7 ounces/burger otherwise there is too much bun to meat ratio. Do not overwork the meat when shaping the patty.

freshly ground beef, 6-7 ounces per bun
fresh hamburger buns or brioche buns, buttered and toasted on the cut side
vine ripe tomatoes, sliced
butter lettuce or iceberg lettuce leaves
applewood smoked bacon cooked separately, optional
slices of cheddar cheese, I like Cabot clothbound cheddar, Fiscalini bandaged cheddar or Caveman blue from the Rogue Creamery
coarse grain mustard
salt and pepper to taste
grilled or caramelized onions, I like grilled onions with the cheddar and caramelized onions with the blue cheese.

Divide the ground beef into 6-7 ounce portions. To shape, I slap the patties back and forth to make sure they are solid but not overly worked. If they are too loose they will fall apart before they are properly cooked; if they are handled too much or kneaded they will become tough and more like meatloaf. Season each patty with salt and pepper.

Cook on a medium-hot griddle or cast iron pan over charcoal or a wood fire for about 5 minutes total for medium-rare. Do not press down on the burgers while cooking or you will squeeze out the juices. Place the cheese slices on the burgers after turning them so the cheese will melt by the time the burgers are done.

On each serving plate place a leaf of lettuce, a slice of tomato and onions. Serve with ketchup, mustard or whatever else you like on your burger.