I've always been a burger fan, but I must admit that my infatuation with this all-American classic has reached new heights in recent years. While it might have something to do with the fact that I now live in the US, I think it has more to do with me watching TV shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Man vs Food , and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. From my "research" I have come to the conclusion that there are only a few ways to make a really great burger, and many ways to screw it up. While I have my favorites, what I wanted to share today is my version of a simple classic, the All-American Burger. It has just a couple of rules. Quality, freshly ground 80/20 chuck, fresh, crisp toppings, a good roll, and reputable condiments.The last secret to deliver ultimate flavor and texture is to cook the burger on a flat top, and cook it pink, not well done. I use my trusty cast iron griddle (flat on one side and grill slots on the reverse) but you could use a cast iron skillet just as well. The key is to get a great sear on the burger as this will seal in the juices and give outstanding flavor. What makes this an All-American is that this is the type of burger you'll find all over the place at Mom & Pop drive-ins that are local institutions. All you need to go with a burger like this are some good hand-cut french fries and a cool, creamy milkshake!
The All American Burger (makes 4 half pound burgers)
-2 lbs of fresh ground Angus chuck (80/20)
- 4 fresh, soft hamburger buns, toasted
- Fresh lettuce, tomato slices, and thinly sliced sweet onion
- pickle slices
- 4 slices of American cheese
- Heinz ketchup, good mustard, and other condiment of choice such as BBQ Sauce, steak sauce, etc.
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Over a medium-high flame, heat up you cast iron griddle or fry pan. Brush with a little vegetable oil.
Divide you ground beef into 4 equal portions and form into patties. Season each side liberally with salt and pepper. Lay the hamburger patties onto the hot griddle and let them get a good sear on for about 4-5 minutes. Gently turn the burgers and sear on the other side for about 4 minutes. Do not press on the burger with a spatula. This is a no-no. Once the burger is well seared on each side, top with a slice of cheese and place in a preheated oven until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and let rest for 3-4 minutes. This should give you a pink, but not bloody burger, which will give you the best beefy flavor. You may have to adjust the cooking time in the oven to suit your taste, or depending o how thick you form the burger. If you need to go longer, hold off on the cheese for a couple of minutes.
While the burgers are resting, toast your buns in the oven and arrange your toppings. The way I arrange mine are bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, burger, cheese and bun. Where are the condiments you may ask. Since I met my wife, I have copied her burger eating methods, and I think you should give it a try.
To eat your perfect burger, cut it in half and place your condiments of choice on your plate. With half a burger in one hand and a butter knife in the other. Before each bite, put a slather of condiment(s) in the area of the burger you are about to inhale. Eat some fries, take a slurp of milkshake, and repeat! There you have it, the ultimate burger!