You only need one ingredient for a great, juicy hamburger – BEEF. For anyone who’s been adding breadrumbs, egg and flavourings into their patties, this hamburger recipe is going to be a revelation!
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.
FAT = FLAVOUR
The secret to a truly great hamburger recipe is to use beef that’s nice and fatty (hello supermarket mince!!). 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??).
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.
Tip: DENT THE PATTIE
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.
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 If it weren’t for the ominous looking clouds approaching, I would have filmed cooking this on the BBQ. I’m a sucker for hamburgers on the grill, but ironically, I usually make them on the stove because it’s easier midweek.
All you need for great beef hamburgers is decent beef and lots of salt and pepper. This is the way it's done by all the grilling masters like Bobby Flay, and your favourite diners! Recipe video below.
- 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.
1. Fat is where the flavour is, so use a 20%+ fat beef mince (ground beef, preferably chuck). In Australia, even supermarket 20% fat beef mince is terrific, though quality beef from butchers (especially wagyu) will make exceptional hamburgers.
To make this using lean mince, use this recipe which has flavourings added to compensate for less fat which provides flavour in this recipe. This is the original recipe I shared on the basis of making hamburgers using lower fat beef.
2. In the video, I use a store bought tomato relish.
3. Nutrition including: 200g/7oz hamburger patties, 1 slice cheese, 2 tbsp tomato relish, lettuce, tomato, hamburger buns. It is about 40 calories higher than actual as it does not take into account fat discarded from pan.
Originally published 2016 with this recipe. Recipe updated and improved in May 2018.
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
This inflatable cone – he loves it. It’s like an inbuilt pillow. He’s been like this for hours! (Yeah, he ain’t cute when he sleeps!)