Classic Cheeseburger

When I lived in New York, there was a restaurant that I went to every Friday night for dinner that served the best cheeseburgers in the whole wide world—cheeseburgers so good that the line out the door would not deter me. The wait was so worth it. Even now, whenever I travel to New York, the first stop I make, right from the airport, is to get a cheeseburger fix, no matter what time it is. I finally cracked the code as to why these juicy, beefy burgers were so good; all I had to do was ask. The answer was very simple. The cook told me they grind chuck roast fresh every day, fire up the grill really hot, and use kosher salt for flavoring. Sometimes the less you fuss with something, the better. Once you’ve tried these, you will never go back! They’re the tastiest, juiciest hamburgers ever. So simple. No fuss. Just pure beef.–Cristina Ferrare

LC And the Cheese Stands Alone Note

What kind of cheese goes on a burger is quite the personal matter. We understand that. You needn’t feel compelled to use Cheddar just because this recipe calls for it. Any cheese that turns melty, stringy, or gooey when heated will do just swell. Although actually, you needn’t use any cheese at all, seeing as a bare burger can be a thing of beauty, too. Hey, maybe that’s how the little ditty about how the cheese stands alone came to be? Someone scraped it off their cheeseburger and then felt sorry for it!

Classic Cheeseburger Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds chuck roast (ask your butcher to grind it for hamburger)
  • Healthy pinch kosher salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 6 slices sharp Cheddar cheese
  • 6 hamburger buns
  • Condiments of your choice
  • Bread-and-Butter Pickles, homemade or store-bought
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  • 1. Shape the ground chuck into 6 patties, each about 1/2-inch thick. Be careful not to pack the meat too tightly or you’ll end up with dry burgers. Sprinkle a healthy pinch of kosher salt over the top of each burger. Crack some pepper over the top as well.
  • 2. Prepare a grill or place a grill pan or cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Place the burger over the heat, seasoned side down. Toss some salt and pepper over the top of the burgers and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the burgers and cook for 2 minutes more. Flip the burgers again and grill for 1 minute more. Flip the burgers again, place a slice of cheese on each burger, and cook for 1 minute more. The burgers will be medium-rare. If you prefer your burgers cooked medium to well-done, transfer them to a cooler part of the grill or reduce the heat under the pan to medium-low and leave the burgers on the heat a little longer.
  • 3. Transfer the burgers to a warm plate but do not cover them. Place the hamburger buns, cut-side down, on the heat and toast to the desired toastiness.
  • 4. Assemble the burgers and buns on a clean plate, using any condiments you like. (I can tell you, these are so tasty that you don’t need anything. I add bread-and-butter pickles and red onion for the added salt and crunch, though.) You’re now ready to bite into the tastiest, juiciest burger ever.
Hungry for more? Chow down on these:

Testers Choice

Testers Choice
Testers Choice
Susan Bingaman

Jan 28, 2013

This is a good burger. A very good burger. I like how simple it is. Grind a chuck roast, form it into patties, and grill it. I grilled these burgers in a skillet over medium–high heat using the suggested timing and I got a medium–well burger. I like mine a bit pinker, so I flipped each minute. Absolutely perfect.

Testers Choice
Linda B.

Jan 28, 2013

Even though this set off the smoke alarm in my house, the result was a delicious, juicy hamburger. This is similar to the way I do steaks indoors (which also sets off the smoke alarm!), and it works equally well with hamburgers. My cast-iron pan was extremely hot after 3 minutes on high, so I think next time I’ll turn down the heat a little after putting the hamburgers in the pan.

Testers Choice
Lori Widmeyer

Jan 28, 2013

The technique used in this recipe is perfect. Not packing the meat combined with the high temperature is key. We did our burgers on the grill, topping the ones with cheese for people who wanted cheese and leaving the others plain. Both were a hit. We didn’t top our burgers with the red onion or pickles, but that’s just our personal preference.

Testers Choice
Linda Pacchiano

Jan 28, 2013

This is a great hamburger recipe. The meat was full of flavor and extremely moist. I don’t think I’ll ever go back to store-bought preground meat. It was very easy to grind the chuck using my KitchenAid meat grinder attachment. I bought the meat cubed for stewing, which cut down on prep time. In my cast-iron skillet, the burgers took less than a total of 4 minutes to cook to medium–rare. If I had left them on for the full 5 minutes, they would’ve been well beyond well-done.

Testers Choice
Natalie Reebel

Jan 28, 2013

I was surprised how good these simple cheeseburgers tasted. The butcher was more than willing to grind up a chuck roast for me. From the very beginning of preparation, I could tell these burgers were going to be different. The beef had a better feel as I shaped the patties. It held together better, a little tighter than traditional ground beef. Our barbeque soared past 700° during the preheating stage. That was a bit too hot. A couple of the burgers were a smidge beyond medium–rare, so I would pay more attention to the temp next time. The flavor of the burger itself was outstanding! It was beefy and had a lighter texture. All in all, a fantastic cheeseburger.

Testers Choice
Joel Jenkins

Jan 28, 2013

This seems simple—and it is. The key is the freshly ground chuck roast. The sear seals in the juices and after that it’s a matter of just leaving it alone and letting it cook. It merits a Testers’ Choice designation, only because it defines a good cooking technique, not for any particular flavor enhancement.

Testers Choice
Alexander Cowan

Jan 28, 2013

What can I say? I love a good burger and this one didn’t disappoint. The author, Cristina Ferrare, did an excellent job of explaining how to make these wonderful burgers. I went a little further by purchasing my own chuck roast and grinding it myself though that’s me (I prefer to grind my own meat for food safety reasons). There are three keys to this great burger: 1) make sure your pan is super hot, 2) DON’T pack your meat too tightly, and 3) season the meat generously. Salt really brings out the beef’s natural flavors and, well, beefiness. Next time I make these burgers I’m going to make them larger—4-ounce burgers are a little on the small side, 8 ounces would be much better. If you do that be sure to adjust your cooking time.

Testers Choice
Caroline Chang

Jan 28, 2013

Yup, this is a foolproof burger recipe. It really is as easy as it sounds and the timing worked perfectly for my medium–rare burger (a little more time for the husband’s medium doneness). I skipped the grill pan and cast-iron skillet and did this right over hot, hot charcoals on the grill.

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