Blasphemers, all of you. I'm glad this node hasn't devolved into a condiment war though, for all I know, it did years ago and was quickly pruned.

There are as many ways to make a burger as their are stars in the sky, but my way, frankly, kicks those stars asses and leaves them begging for their mothers.

The primary mistake made in burger preparation is over-seasoning. It's surprisingly easy to do. To properly season a burger you'll need:

  • salt
  • pepper
..and that's it. If you make a burger and think it lacks something, it's not a seasoning problem. It's a meat problem, and it's fast food's fault. We've been lulled into thinking that burgers are made with leftover bits and pieces and are stopgaps to real food or are there to satisfy cravings. Hogwash, all of it.

To make burgers properly, you'll need:

  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 pound ground chuck
  • potato rolls
  • salt
  • pepper
  • american cheese
All the other stuff, veggies and condiments and the like, are optional. If you're using cheese, use american or do without. There's something wonderful about how american cheese melts, probably due to the high plastic content, and cheddar, while tasty, is overpowering on good meat. A single slice of american cheese will do wonders for a burger, but isn't necessary. Some grilled or raw onion never hurt anybody either, but this lesson is all about the beef, so. Here's the plan:

Slowly heat a cast-iron pan. You want it to be hot but not burning, and iron pans (or at least, the imbued juices of a thousand meals that have slowly accumulated on their surfaces) tend to light if heated too quickly. Low-medium heat will do you fine. You need the time to make your burgers anyway.

Ideally, you'd be grinding your meat yourself, but I understand if that seems like too much work for the result. I mean, hell, I don't do it.

Beef fat tastes good and provides most of the heavy flavor of a burger, but using pure ground chuck will taste like nothing but fat. Similarly, using pure sirloin will leave you with a remarkably lean burger that doesn't really taste like anything. To that end, you're going to want to mix them.

Grab a small handful of chuck in one hand and a small handful of sirloin in the other. Mash 'em together, smoosh them around, get 'em nice and friendly and vaguely burger-sized. Don't worry about their shape yet, you should just worry about consistency and weight. Put it in a plastic sandwich bag. Don't bother with the closable ones, you'll be wasting your money. Repeat until you're out of beef. You should have around 4-6 small plastic bags with meat in 'em depending on how big you like them. The great thing about this way of preparing ground beef is that it makes them extremely easy to freeze, so feel free to double up on the quantities and keep some for later.

This is the fun part - using a meat hammer (The smooth side, mind) or your hands, squish the meat in the plastic bags down into the countertop. The plastic will constrain the size of your burgers while making them easier to make patties out of without the edges coming apart, as well as keeping the meat from sticking to your work surface. Once they've all been appropriately flattened, take however many you want to cook out of the bags and throw them in your pan. The rest can go in the freezer for later.

I'm not a fan of undercooked ground red meat, so these cooking directions are for thin burgers cooked mediumish. You want to let them cook until the bottoms are slightly charred - if you lift a corner with a spatula and the burger either crumbles or looks light brown instead of dark brown, you need a few more minutes. Flip them when they reach the right color and repeat, adding cheese if you'd like. The cheese is actually a nice measuring stick - once the cheese has melted to the point where the corners of the slice hit the bottom of the pan, your burgers are as done as they're ever going to be while still being edible.

Put the thing between two pieces of bread, add some salt and pepper and maybe the slightest hint of ketchup and you're done. If you'd like to make them even worse for you, cook up some homemade french fries. Go to it, and good luck.