Burger Recipe

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Our favorite Burger Recipe, complete with toasted and buttered buns, offers a perfect cheese-stuffed burger, all the veggies and the best burger sauce!

Alongside this Burger Recipe, I’m sharing a corn salsa that makes the perfect pairing. Other great sides: a bag of chips, this fruit salad, or this Mexican street corn pasta salad.

Image of the burger with all the toppings and buns from this Burger Recipe.

BBQ Bootcamp with Steven Raichlen

I had the opportunity of a lifetime to attend BUSH’S BBQ Bootcamp led by the master griller, Steven Raichlen. For those who aren’t familiar with Steven, he’s written 28 books on grilling, has been involved in many cooking shows and currently teaches a course about grilling at Harvard University. 

I was so excited to learn from the best and now I can’t wait to share the experience I had and everything I learned about crafting the perfect burger.  This burger recipe is our absolute favorite and best of all, it’s easy to make. I’m also sharing a simple corn salsa recipe alongside the burger and the best sauce recipe. Let’s get started! 

Process shot-- Image of the ground beef with the diced seasonings for this Burger Recipe.

Burger Recipe

Steven Raichlen is famous for his inside-out cheeseburgers. The idea is to stuff cheese, bacon, and scallions INSIDE the burger, which gives an incredible burst of flavor and makes it much easier to assemble your final cheeseburger. While he mixes the shredded cheese evenly throughout the patty, I’ve found these turn out best by stuffing cheese inside and covering with the meat. 

While you can season meat and add all kinds of mix-ins, a burger all comes down to the actual meat. For an ultra-flavorful and juicy burger, use ground beef with higher fat content. Ground beef with an 80/20 mix is always the best for grilled burgers. 

Raichlen showed us how he grinds and mixes ground chuck and ground sirloin to create his own mix of 80 percent beef to about 20 percent fat. Don’t be afraid to ask your butcher to grind a higher fat-to-beef ratio.

Process shot--Image of the ground burger with cheese in the middle.

Burger recipe tips

  • Always start with a clean grill and oiled grill grates. Use a grill brush to remove any built-up residue and then oil the grill. I do this by drenching a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and holding it with tongs, rubbing it over the grill grates. 
  • Keep the meat as cold as possible. Any heat (your hands/warm environment) can melt the fat in the meat which prevents it from binding. If it doesn’t bind, it will render as it cooks. (Which, as you might guess, will cause a dry burger.) Keep the meat as cold as possible and in the fridge as much as you can. Make sure to handle the meat as little as possible.
  • Don’t overmix the beef: The less you handle the meat as you mix and form patties, the better your burger will turn out. Overworking beef will cause the fat and protein binding to break which will result in a crumbly burger.
  • Flip burgers, but never press them: Once the patties are on the grill, don’t press them down with a spatula. Pressing forces the fat (and flavor) out of the burgers. You’ll end up with dry, flavorless burgers.
  • Use a large, wide metal spatula: This spatula has changed my burger grilling. It’s much easier to flip and remove burgers with a wide metal spatula.
  • Rest your burgers: Let the burgers rest for 1-2 minutes after they come off the grill. This allows the juices to redistribute evenly throughout the burger (better flavor throughout).

Process shot-- Image of the beef patty on the grill.

How to shape the burgers

The biggest thing to note about shaping burgers is that they shrink A LOT during cooking. I usually shape my burgers about one inch wider than the bun and about 1 inch thick at the edges.

One of Raichlen’s biggest tips for shaping burgers is to indent the center (see picture above). I form a bottom half with higher edges, fill it with cheese, and then place another patty half on top. Press the two together and then make a wide indent in the center.

When you grill, place the indented side down on the grates.

I also like to shape the burgers on a sheet pan (double-lined with parchment paper) to allow as little handling as possible, while also helping shape the firm patty. You can easily put the pan in the fridge to chill while the grill heats and bring the pan out when you’re ready to grill. Once the patties are on the grill, throw out that parchment paper and you can put the cooked patties on the pan (as long as the pan was double lined with parchment and no juices got through).

How long should I grill burgers?

This will depend on how hot your grill is and how thick the patty is. I set the grill to around 400-450 degrees F and with a 4 to 4.5-inch wide patty (1 inch thick), below are the general times required:

  • Rare burgers: 125 degrees F (about 4 minutes total)
  • Medium-rare burgers: 135 degrees F (about 5 minutes total) 
  • Medium burgers: 145 degrees F (about 6-7 minutes total)
  • Well-done burgers: 160-165 degrees F (about 8 minutes total) 

QUICK TIP

The USDA recommends cooking ground meat to at least 160 degrees F, so use your personal discretion. We prefer this burger recipe done at about 5 minutes (2 and 1/2 minutes per side, around medium-rare doneness) Be sure to check the internal temperature with a food thermometer. Insert through the side, not the top, for the most accurate readings.

Image of the buns that go with these burgers.

When should I toast the buns?

In my opinion, there is nothing better than a burger on a brioche bun and you’ve got to toast them with some melted butter — trust me, they’re the best! Brush melted butter generously on the inside and outside of the bun. Place them on the back of the grill (out of the direct heat) until they’re golden and very lightly charred. This takes anywhere from 30 seconds to 1 minute.

Overhead image of the corn salsa that goes on the side of this Burger Recipe.

Burger Recipe sides

While not exactly a side dish, I’ve included a burger sauce that is a must-have! It’s the perfect complement to these burgers and brioche buns and takes mere minutes to whip together. You can double or triple it, make it ahead of time, and store it in the fridge for up to a week.

I’m also sharing a corn salsa, adapted from Steven’s boot camp. We love that salsa as a side to these burgers and it’s easy to whip together for the side. It includes grilled corn and pepper, which I start before grilling the patties. Then you can work on finishing up the salsa as you grill the burgers and allow them to rest.

Below are a few other side dish ideas:

 

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Burger Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Our favorite burger recipe complete with toasted and buttered buns, a perfect cheese-stuffed burger, all the veggies, and the best burger sauce! Adapted from Steven Raichlen and BUSH'S .
Print Recipe

Burger Recipe

5 from 11 votes
Our favorite burger recipe complete with toasted and buttered buns, a perfect cheese-stuffed burger, all the veggies, and the best burger sauce! Adapted from Steven Raichlen and BUSH'S .
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword burger recipe
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 3 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 6 large burgers
Calories 959kcal

Ingredients

Burgers

  • 2 pounds 80/20 ground beef very cold
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced (about 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup extra-sharp Cheddar cheese freshly grated
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper (about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons total for all the burgers)
  • 6 brioche buns
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • Burger sauce (Note 1)
  • Burger toppings such as: lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, pickles, etc.

OPTIONAL Corn Salsa

  • 4 ears sweet corn shucked
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus some for corn and pepper)
  • 1 cup canned baked beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes diced
  • 2 green onions (scallions) thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and finely diced
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Instructions

Burgers

  • PREHEAT THE GRILL: Heat the grill 450 to 500 degrees F.
  • BURGERS: In a large mixing bowl, add the beef straight from the fridge, the minced garlic, green onions, and Worcestershire sauce. Fold the meat just a few times (no longer than for 30-40 seconds) until ingredients are incorporated. Be careful to not overwork or overhandle the meat.
  • SHAPE: Line a large sheet pan with two layers of parchment paper. Shape the burger patties on the tray instead of with your hands (this helps keep them from being over handled while also providing leverage to get the patties firm). Divide all the meat into six equal parts and then separate each part into two parts (with 1 part larger than the other). Gently form each large portion into a patty that is about 4 to 4 and 1/2 inches across and with 1-inch sides. Make a shallow depression in the middle. Add 2 tablespoons grated cheese into each depression. Cover the cheese with the smaller patty, connecting the beef together and forming into a patty with 1 inch thick sides. Again, depress the center of the patty (see pictures in the post). The depression keeps the patty from shrinking too much and puffing up too much. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until the grill is completely heated.
  • BUNS: Melt the butter and then brush (with a pastry brush) over both sides of all the buns. Set aside.
  • GRILL BURGERS: Prepare the fully preheated grill by cleaning with a grill brush. Generously oil the grill (I drench a rolled-up paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with tongs, rubbing it over the grill grates). Remove burgers from the fridge and generously salt and pepper both sides of the patties. Hold your hand 6-7 inches above the meat and sprinkle the seasoning liberally or to taste. In total, I use about 1 and 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper to all the patties.
    Place patties INDENT SIDE DOWN on the grill. Cook to desired doneness:
    Rare burgers: 125 degrees F (about 4 minutes total) Medium-rare burgers: 135 degrees F (about 5 minutes total) Medium burgers: 145 degrees F (about 6-7 minutes total) Well-done burgers: 160 degrees F (about 8 minutes total)  (We like medium rare best) Flip the burgers once during cooking, at the halfway mark. Never press down on the patties (this will make fat and flavor escape). Use a wide metal spatula for best results in flipping and removing patties.
  • GRILL BUNS: When you have about 1 minute left of the cooking time for the patties, add the buttered buns to the grill (over indirect heat, alongside the edges of the grill). Watch carefully; they are toasted in about 30 seconds to a 1 minute.
  • SERVE: Remove burgers and buns from grill and transfer to a clean platter. Let the burgers rest for 1-2 minute before serving. Assemble by adding burger sauce (See Note 1) and your favorite veggies such as lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, red onion, etc.

Corn Salsa

  • GRILL: Brush corn and green pepper with olive oil and season (to taste) with salt and pepper. Grill corn (400-450 degrees F) until browned on all sides, 8-12 minutes, (flipping every 2-3 minutes) and transfer to cutting board to cool. Grill green pepper until browned on all sides, 2-3 minutes per side and transfer to cutting board.
  • While veggies are grilling prepare the rest of the salad: chop the cherry tomatoes, thinly slice green onions, dice jalapeno and cilantro, and juice a lime. Add to a large mixing bowl with baked beans and olive oil. Toss. Once veggies have been grilled and cooled, slice kernels off the cob and dice the pepper. Toss all the ingredients to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy alongside the burgers!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: For the sauce, combine: 1/2 cup good quality full-fat mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1 tablespoon finely grated onion, 1 tablespoon sweet pickle relish, 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from canned chipotle chiles in adobo (increase for spicier), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir until combined and smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings to personal preference. Feel free to add a teaspoon or more of the sauce from the chipotles to increase the heat.
Nutrition facts do not include the burger sauce, but do include the corn salsa.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 959kcal | Carbohydrates: 62g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 61g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 270mg | Sodium: 794mg | Potassium: 847mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1226IU | Vitamin C: 30mg | Calcium: 211mg | Iron: 5mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

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18 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Looks like you had a great time and that burger looks fabulous! Definitely adding them to my list for summer BBQs.

  2. 5 stars
    I had to save this recipe as soon as I saw a photo of that juicy burger. I can’t wait to use your helpful tips next time we are grilling burgers! Love all the side suggestions too!

  3. 5 stars
    Chicken Ramen became a new favorite tonight! Sauce has just the right amount of zing. The chicken is tender because of the small pieces and baking soda trick. Be sure to try this one!

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