The best hamburger recipes are made with nothing more than beef, salt and pepper. I’m talking the ones you get from good steakhouses and diners. A great crust on the outside, juicy, beef and tender on the inside.
Homemade hamburgers are made for piling on toppings of choice. So don’t let anyone tell you what should and shouldn’t go on your burger!
In my youth, I learned how to make hamburgers from a celebrity chef who insisted that you needed breadcrumbs, egg and seasonings for a truly great burger. And that’s how I made it for years, thinking that was the right way.
After multiple trips to the States (sorry Australia, but no one does burgers like America!), too many burgers, and watching countless cooking shows, meeting chefs, caterers and restauranteurs, I’ve been converted to the right way.
A great beef hamburger patty requires nothing more than beef.
No flavourings other than salt and pepper. Just a nice fatty beef mince – even from the supermarket.
Best Hamburger Patties
The secret to a truly great homemade hamburger recipe is to use beef that’s nice and fatty. Ideally, a good quality ground beef / mince from a butcher, but nowadays, supermarkets sell very good quality beef too.
When it comes to cooking with meat, here’s a big takeaway from this hamburger recipe: fat = flavour. If you mix pork fat into lean beef then cook it up, you’d swear you’re eating pork.
Thus, the big secret is revealed. The very best burgers you’ve had are made with nothing more than fatty beef, salt and pepper. That’s the way it’s done at all your favourite burger joints and diners (McDonald’s aside, because who knows the secret spices in those burgers??).
Tip: Dent the Hamburger Patty
If you’ve ever had your burgers shrink into little domes, you’ll love this little tip.
Dent the surface of the patty using your fingers. You’ll still get some shrinkage, but substantially less. Great tip I picked up from Bobby Flay!
What to put on Hamburgers
As a food blogger, it’s sometimes hard to resist making food look crazy irresistible. I confess to being a sucker for this, and such is the case with the first hamburger recipe I published, pictured below, with that mouth watering runny yolk and golden crispy bacon.
Truth be told, I never order burgers fully loaded. Because classic hamburgers done right are crazy delicious as they are, and also for practical reasons – whose mouth is big enough to shove THIS in????
For me, if you’ve got a big, juicy hamburger patty topped with melted cheese, all you need is a big dollop of a condiment of choice (relish, ketchup, mustard, mayo), lettuce, tomato and pickles.
Everything else is optional.
Though as an Aussie, excluding beetroot from the list of “must haves” may be considered a blasphemy!!! – Nagi x
PS I’m a sucker for hamburgers on the BBQ, but ironically, I usually make them on the stove because it’s easier midweek.
More Burgers, Sliders and Sandwiches
Chicken Burger – juicy seasoned chicken breast steak with the lot!
Nando’s Peri Peri Chicken Burger – chicken marinated in a homemade flavour bomb Peri Peri sauce
Cubanos – The famous Cuban roast pork sandwich from The Chef movie
Pastrami Sandwiches – Rye bread piled high with homemade pastrami. EPIC!
Veggie Burger – Meatless made amazing. Puts those doughy bricks at the shops to shame!
How to make hamburgers
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
- 800g - 1kg / 1.6 - 2 lb ground beef (mince), 20%+ fat (Note 1)
- Salt and pepper
- 3 onions, peeled and sliced into rings
- 2 tbsp oil
- 4 - 8 slices cheese of choice, I use Swiss (optional)
- 4 soft hamburger buns, lightly toasted
- Lettuce, tomato slices
- Ketchup, mustard, relish, sliced pickles
- Separate beef into 4 equal portions. Use hands to lightly form into patties the size of your buns (mine are about 10 cm / 4") - don't press hard, light fingers = soft juicy patties (see video for how I do this).
- Season generously with salt and pepper on both sides. Make a dent on one side (stop burger from become dome shape and shrinking when cooking).
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a heavy based skillet or BBQ over high heat. Add onion and cook until wilted and caramelised. Season with salt and pepper, then remove.
- Heat 1 tbsp oil until smoking. Add patties and cook for 2 minutes until deep golden with a great crust. Do not press! Flip carefully, cook for 1 minute then top with cheese (if using). Cover with lid and cook for further 1 minute until cheese is melted.
- Meanwhile, toast the cut side of the buns lightly.
- To serve: Spread base of buns with sauce / condiment of choice. Top with lettuce then tomato, then hamburger patty. Pile over onions, sliced pickles, then more sauce/condiments. Top with lid of bun. Serve immediately.
Originally published 2016 with this recipe. Recipe updated and improved in May 2018.
LIFE OF DOZER
This inflatable cone (the alternative to the plastic Cone of Shame) – he loves it. It’s like an inbuilt pillow. He’s been like this for hours! (Yeah, he ain’t cute when he sleeps!)