The world is a complicated place and in it, not all foods are created equal. In the multitudes of burgers, there are many types, some good, some bad.
This burger is a good burger. A classed-up version of the classic American cheese burger, you will find similar flavors and new flavors working together.
Resist the urge to add on to this with any of your normal burger fixings that are not already listed. This is a Zen burger, a burger of balance. Follow the instructions and you will be one step closer on the path to burger enlightenment…
4 buns - We like Philly Bakery's Sweet Potato Buns
1lb of ground beef made into 4 patties or turkey burger patties or ground turkey.
4 slices american or cheddar cheese
12 slices of bread and butter pickles (3 per burger, optional)
1 tomato or cherry tomato sliced
1/4 lb Boston bibb lettuce or other lettuce of choice
1 onion, sliced (optional)
1 avocado (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil or a knob of butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Ketchup, dijon, mayo
Make the caramelized onions
In a large skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add onions, salt and pepper. Sauté about 25-30 minutes or until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally.
Optional additions: fresh thyme, teaspoon balsamic vinegar or Worchestershire sauce.
Prep your accoutrements:
Slice tomato (optional); rinse and dry your lettuce. Set out mayo, mustard, ketchup and pickles.
Optional potato wedges:
If you want a side to go with your burger, follow our Potato Wedge recipe. Now would be the time to get the oven started.
Form the burgers:
Nothing fancy here. Put the burger meat in a bowl, lightly mix the meat and form into 4 patties. That’s it. No garlic, no onion, no spices. This is a zen burger. Be like water, formless, shapeless. You are the grill and the grill is you.
1. We don’t believe in salting burger meat before forming the patty. It pulls moisture from the beef. Instead, salt and pepper the OUTSIDE of the burger liberally right before it hits the grill or pan. When we say liberally, we mean it. Salt the heck out of it. It needs it in order to penetrate the unsalted interior. Note: If using a pan vs a grill salt the burger meat a bit less as less salt will fall off in a pan.
2. Don’t over mix your burger meat. Get it compacted well enough and form into patties.
3. If using pre-formed patties, skip step 4, but make sure to season like step 1.
4. If using ground meat do the following: when forming the patties, you should press on the middle of the burger, leaving an indent. The outside rim of the burger should be noticeably thicker than the middle of the burger. Why? When the burger cooks and the meat tightens up, the burger will expand in the middle. If you don’t press it down before cooking, you end up with burgers that look more like meatballs.
Cook the burgers:
Get the grill or cast iron pan or any sauté pan nice and hot. Salt and pepper the burger heavily and drop it on the cooking surface. We recommend medium to medium-rare, which will take about 4 minutes on one side and 2-3 on the other.
Tip: Don’t flip the burger prematurely. A good way to know when to flip is when you see dimples of juices making their way up to the top of the burger.
During the last minute of cooking, apply a thick layer of cheese and cover the grill or pan with a lid so the cheese can melt evenly.
Assemble the plate:
This is our idea of the perfect assembly for this burger but you can add or omit to your taste. Trust us, it’s good.
Layering from bottom to top:
1. Mayo (or vegan mayo) bottom layer;
2. 3-4 pickle slices;
3. Burger and cheese
4. Top with Caramelized onions and tomato
5. Inside the top bun, apply some ketchup. We also add a good Dijon mustard.
Power move: If you feel like taking this thing to a whole other level, add a pan-fried egg on before placing the top bun on. Warning, this is not for the faint of heart.
Serve with Baked Potato Wedges