Classic Hamburger

  • Serves

    makes 4


The higher the meat's fat content, the juicier the burger will be but the more it will shrink; we prefer 80 percent lean beef. This hamburger may be grilled instead of panfried.


  • Vegetable oil
  • 1 lb. ground beef or chuck
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 soft white hamburger bun, split
  • 4 (1/4"-thick) slices of a large ripe tomato
  • 12-16 slices pickles (options)
  • 4 small leaves iceberg lattuce
  • 4 (1/4"-thick) slices peeled onion


Step 1

Lightly grease a small nonstick skillet with oil, then heat over medium-high heat.

Step 2

Gently shape meat into a four 3 1⁄2" patties (don't overhandle meat, or it will toughen) and season generously with salt and pepper.

Step 3

Sear patties until well browned on both sides, turning once, about 1 minute per side. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking 1 minute more per side for medium rare.

Step 4

To assemble, put patty on bottom bun, then top with (in this order) slice of tomato, 3-4 pickles (if using), lettuce leaf, and slice of onion. Spread ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise , and/or other condiments, alone or in combination, on top half of bun, if you like, and place bun on onion. Serve with Onion Rings, French Fries, or Potato Chips, if you like.

Variation: This recipe can be prepared on an outdoor grill. Prepare grill for direct heat and preheat. Follow step 2 above. Sear patties on grill until well browned on both sides, turning once. Continue to grill until preferred doneness. To assemble, follow step 4 above.

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