The Perfect Burger {Recipe}

If a picture is worth a thousand words, need I say  more than this?

After watching an episode of Good Eats, I was convinced that I needed to buy a cast iron griddle and grind my own hamburger. And, boy, am I glad I did.

This, my friends, is the best hamburger you’ve ever tasted. Made right in your own kitchen. No pink slime; no mystery meat; and no seasonings other than Kosher salt.

The Perfect Burger (based on recipe by Alton Brown)


  • 12 ounces chuck
  • 12 ounces sirloin
  • 3/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • mayonnaise
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Lightly oil cast iron griddle. Preheat griddle over medium-high heat.
  2. Trim chuck of excess fat and cut into 1- to 2-inch cubes. Place chuck in food processor and pulse 10 times in 1-second intervals. Scrape meat into large bowl.
  3. Repeat with sirloin, adding to bowl with chuck after grinding.
  4. Add salt to meat and mix well with clean hands by lifting the meat from underneath and turning it over, being careful not to squish or compress meat.
  5. Shape meat into 5- to 5 1/2-ounce patties by forming into balls, tossing gently back and forth from hand to hand, then shaping each patty gently, again without pressing meat very much.
  6. Place patties on preheated griddle pan and cook for 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare or 5 minutes per side for medium, turning only once during cooking and resisting the urge to press down on the patties while they cook. (This is not a diner, and your name’s not Mel. Pressing the patties while they cook only serves to squish out all the delicious juiciness. Also, because the meat is freshly ground and not full of who-knows-what, the patties do not need to be cooked beyond medium.)
  7. While the patties are cooking, prepare hamburger buns by spreading the bottom bun with mayonnaise and topping with a bit of freshly cracked black pepper. The juices from the burger will mix with the mayo and pepper to make the most delicious “sauce” you can imagine.
  8. When the burgers are done cooking, place on buns, adorn with desired toppings, and enjoy.

Makes 4 burgers

The first time I made these, I didn’t add any toppings, as I wanted to taste them unadorned with just the mayo, pepper, and burger “sauce”. I can’t describe how good it was this way. Juicy, tender, and oh-so-meaty tasting.

I think what sets this recipe apart from any other burger I’ve tried is the “meatiness” of it. The freshly ground beef, the lack of overpowering seasonings, and the minimal toppings all let the meat flavor shine through.

Give it a try. It’s easier than you think to create the most flavorful, meaty burger you’ve ever had. But be warned: you may never be able to go back to store-bought ground beef again.


  1. Kayte said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    I have my grandmother’s griddle pan which looks a lot like yours…it’s always a pleasure using it because I remember her making things on it…hamburgers being one of those things. I have yet to make a hamburger on it, however…I use it for pancakes and grilled cheese. Better change that soon…especially if it is the perfect burger!

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:31 pm

      Burgers are a must for a griddle pan, just as a griddle pan is a must for burgers.

  2. March 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    There’s nothing better than a great burger!


  3. Conor Bofin said,

    March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm

    I make mine in avery similar way. One thing I like to do is to add dried chili flakes to the meat. IT gives a lovely warmth without killing the beefiness.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Chili flakes sound good. Or just a pinch of cayenne.

  4. Cher said,

    March 29, 2012 at 9:08 am

    Glad to see you’ve finally made the leap! It opens a whole new world of opportunities.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      The meatloaf was out of this world, too!

  5. Karen said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:37 am

    I think a lot of people will be grinding and making the own burgers now that they have heard about pink slime.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      It’s funny — the whole “pink slime” thing happened right after I first made my own hamburger. Must have been fate.

  6. Abby said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:35 am

    Wow, you really sell this one…think I’ll have to try it in the next couple of days.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

      Definitely give it a try!

  7. Melanie said,

    March 29, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I really should try this one. I love AB and usually have very good results w/ his recipes. I’m afraid though that my old food processor might die in the process of grinding meat. These do look and sound awesome! I like the fact that I wouldn’t have to come up w/ some fancy sauce to use. Hubby would probably insist on just ketchup though.

    • gaaarp said,

      March 29, 2012 at 10:27 pm

      It’s worth the strain on your food pro. These burgers are so good!

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