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The Ultimate Burger

Hudi Greenberger

A burger is a blank canvas waiting to be doctored up

Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Text and photography by Hudi Greenberger, Food and prop styling by Janine Kalesis

There’s something about that irresistible barbecue flavor that triggers happy nostalgia for just about every single human on earth. It’s as simple as a protein and an open flame, yet the flavors coaxed out of that straightforward combo can become so complex when executed properly that they will rival those of any steakhouse you’ve ever eaten in.


  • lean ground beef
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • toppings and condiments (see below)


Preheat grill to very hot. Make patties about 1–1½ inches (3–4 cm) thick and about 4 inches (10 cm) wide, or about ⅓ (150 g) pound, and pack tightly. Just solid beef, no additives. Don’t add your grandmother’s bread crumbs (they’ll burn) or any eggs. Season with salt and pepper.

Sear for 2 minutes, cook with low heat for 5 minutes. Flip, sear 2 minutes (you left one side of the grill hot, right?), and cook for 2–4 more minutes, depending on desired doneness.


To prepare three of my favorite toppings, you can use this technique: Fresh whole heads of garlic, top trimmed off, sliced purple onions, and portobello mushroom caps (sliced regular mushrooms are also a viable option). Wrap them in a tight ball of foil with some olive oil and a little kosher salt and fresh herbs, then just leave them on the top rack of the grill. Mushrooms need about 15 minutes and garlic and onions about 35 minutes. Make sure to make more than you think you need because this stuff goes FAST! People will eat it on everything you serve.
The non-grilled toppings are: pickles, lettuce, tomato, coleslaw, guacamole, and more.

Note The bun choice is essential. You want soft, sweet, and large buns. Not those buns that get a drop of sauce on them and get so soggy in two seconds that they fall apart. Toast that bun. Added flavor and crunch! And naturally, do it on the grill.

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