July 15, 2024


Making the ultimate burger sounds fun — if a little daunting. Everybody loves a good, hearty hamburger, and building the ultimate burger can kick your enjoyment up a notch.

Here’s the challenge: How do you build a better burger? Don’t most people have personal preferences? How can there be an ultimate burger when some people like portobello mushrooms and others want American cheese?

Here’s the good news: Individual preferences aside, there are some classic ingredients that come to mind for a great burger. If you’re after the kind of juicy, delicious, mouthwatering version that beats any burger you’ve made before, you can’t go wrong sticking to tried-and-true favorites with mass appeal. Once you’ve mastered building the classic burger, you can always tweak it to make it your own.

So, what components make a burger truly exceptional? Is it mostly about the ingredients, mostly about the method or both? Here’s a look.

The Best Burger, Deconstructed

If you were to break down the world’s best burgers into individual components, you’d see some constants. From the pillowy bun to the ooey-gooey cheese, here are some MVPs in the burger world:

  • A soft, sturdy brioche bun: You want a bun that’s soft enough to enjoy, yet strong enough to hold all your fixings.
  • High-fat beef: To get that juicy burger of legend, you need a beef with at least 20% (or up to 40%) fat. Source the freshest you can.
  • Melty cheese: You can take your pick of cheese, but make sure it’s one with a good melt factor. Cheddar, young Gouda and American are all reliable picks.
  • Sliced tomatoes: When it comes to tomatoes, the riper, the better. Go for the thick and sliceable varieties, such as beefsteak.
  • Pickles: Balancing out the heavier parts of the burger, sliced pickles are a must-have.
  • Sliced red onions: The bite of a raw onion dramatically enhances the best burgers.
  • Lettuce: The best lettuce for a burger is the kind that’s crunchy, adding a little texture to each bite. Iceberg and Romaine are ideal.
  • Mustard: While ketchup is a common burger topping, it’s mustard that can truly bring out the full flavors of beef.

Tips for Building

Obviously, the meat of the burger (pun intended!) is the beef, so it’s a good place to focus your attention: Form patties no thicker than three-quarters of an inch, keeping in mind they’ll shrink in circumference, season them well and cook for three to five minutes on each side. Add cheese just before the burgers are done. Then, to assemble, start by toasting the brioche bun, so it will be sturdier to support your juicy burger and its toppings. Next comes the burger and its melted cheese. From there, layer on tomatoes first, to protect crispier layers from the heat, and then pickles, onions and lettuce. Add a slather of mustard last, so it can evenly distribute into the lettuce, giving flavor in every bite.

Want more information on building the ultimate burger? Take a look at the attached resource, which highlights burger-making tips in a visually friendly, easy-to-follow format. Courtesy of Big Deal Burger.