Hamburgers can be a controversial subject. Everyone has their favorite burger, and everyone thinks that theirs is the best.
This is our favorite burger, and it is the best.
A good burger starts with good, high fat beef. Recently, we've been making ours with the ground chuck Brandt Beef sells at our local farmers market. If you can't get high quality ground beef, grind your own.
We keep the meat mostly unadulterated - although we do add salt and some onion, chopped small enough that the pieces mostly disappear during cooking.
You can see a pint of beer in the background. Now, I'm not saying that this is an essential part of the process, but then again I'm not saying it isn't...
What is certainly an essential part of the process is the cooking technique. While I love all sorts of things cooked on a barbecue, please keep my burger away from the flame. Burgers should be cooked in a large frying pan or on a griddle, where the fat they release lovingly caresses them during cooking rather than dripping uselessly away into the belly of a barbecue.
Now for the toppings. We like to grill some onions along with the burgers (another way to make use of that nice fat in the pan). Cheese? Yes, please. I'm not ashamed to admit that I usually get American Cheese on a burger when eating out, but we can't quite bring ourselves to buy it for use at home.
These guys were topped with some home-smoked cheddar, which worked just fine indeed...
I can take or leave lettuce on a burger, but I absolutely need tomato and pickle - as much of both as I can stack on and still keep things semi-manageable.
A great burger (cook mine medium rare, please), starts as a thing of beauty but is like a ticking time bomb - as its juices ooze out it begins to self destruct. Your challenge is to eat it before it completely falls apart - a challenge that I, for one, am always happy to accept.