The secret to a great burger? Less is more!

May 29, 2013 10:17:07 AM



When the weather turns warm, I find myself craving the smell and taste of a great homemade burger off the grill. 


So what makes a great burger? There are a few simple rules. But if you remember just one of them, it should be that less really is more. Which is to say, the less you add to your ground beef, the less you handle the meat when mixing it, and the less you flip it while grilling, the better burger you get in the end. 


The foundation of my backyard burger is a 50-50 combination of sirloin and chuck. I love mixing the leaner and cleaner ground sirloin with the rich beefiness of ground chuck. A patty that is 100 percent sirloin is too lean, and 100 percent chuck is too fatty. 


If I am close to a good butcher, I also love to make a custom grind. You can ask the butcher to grind the odd pieces of brisket, short rib, skirt and hanger steak, and add it to a lean and clean base of sirloin for a top notch burger. The key is a mix of lean and fatty meat, freshly ground. 


A hot grill also is important to getting a great burger. Be sure to heat it with all burners on high (or wait until the charcoal is covered with a gray ash), then clean the heated cooking grates with a brass-bristle brush. Reduce the heat to a medium just before placing the burgers on the grill. You should hear a satisfying sizzle when the meat hits the grates! Cover the grill and flip the burgers just once halfway through the cooking time. 






Start to finish: 30 minutes 


Makes 6 servings 




1 pound ground sirloin 


1 pound ground chuck 


1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 


1 teaspoon Coleman's dry mustard 


1 teaspoon kosher salt 


1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 


2 tablespoons extra-virgin Olive oil 


1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter 


6 kaiser rolls, sliced 


6 crisp butter or Boston lettuce leaves 


6 slices purple or sweet onion, such as Vidalia 


2 large tomatoes, cut into 6 slices 


6 slices cooked bacon (optional) 


Ketchup (optional) 


Mustard (optional) 


Mayonnaise (optional) 




  • Heat a grill to high. 


  • In a large bowl, combine the ground sirloin and ground chuck. Mix it together, being careful not to overwork the meat. Add the Worcestershire sauce, dry mustard, salt and pepper. Mix until just combined, then divide the mixture into 6 pieces. Gently shape each piece into a burger about 3/4 inch thick. Press your thumb gently into the center of each to form a depression. 


  • Brush the patties lightly on both sides with the olive oil. Reduce the heat to medium, then add the burgers and grill until the meat no longer is pink, 8 to 10 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. 


  • Meanwhile, brush butter over both sides of the rolls and grill until lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. 


  • Serve the burgers immediately on the buttered rolls with a lettuce leaf, a slice of raw onion, tomato and a slice of bacon, if desired. Serve with traditional condiments on the side.