George’s Perfect Burger Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4-7 Minutes
Total Cost: $30-$45
Let’s get the obvious out and over with. You’re damn right I gave this recipe a 5 out of 5 plates of bacon. It’s my recipe and it’s my blog. Just come to terms with it and let’s move on. Seriously though, you’re going to love these burgers as much as I do and so is anyone you’re going to serve them to.
There is one important point to make; this burger is meant to be made at home. You can absolutely get a fancier burger with more expensive ingredients and various accoutrements. Could that fancy burger be better than my burger? Possibly. But it would most assuredly be more expensive to replicate and could potentially require some professional kitchen skill to execute.
The thing about cooking the Perfect Burger is that it’s easy to do but equally easy to mess up. If you use fresh ingredients, organize yourself ahead of cooking, and get the timing right you can cook a Perfect Burger.
What is a Perfect Burger? For me, it’s a burger that offers little resistance for your teeth, when going through a warm bun, then gifts you with a satisfying pop once your teeth break the grilled crust of the meat and warm juices roll down your tongue next to a string of melted cheese. The beef flavor is strong and is elevated by the other elements of the burger, not masked by them. Your taste buds go wild as condiments mix with cheese and meat. Salty and sweet, crunchy and smooth. Flavors and textures combine with each chew. Do you detect the tiniest bit of pork flavor? You bet your burger-loving behind you do! You don’t notice your lips form into a slight smile as your back teeth pulverize what’s left of your first bite. You swallow, as your eyes greedily take in the sight of the warm, pink center of the patty; the curtain of cheese lifted, after your first bite. You track it like a predator who is about to pounce on its prey. Your hands bring it in for round two and this time you purposefully smile because you’re loving everything about this moment.
Are you ready to cook this yet? Good.
Here’s what you’re going to need:
2 lbs of ground lean beef (90/10 or higher)
1 lb of ground pork
Condiments (Optional but not substitutable)
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The Perfect Burger starts with a 2:1 ratio of lean beef and pork. The grocery stores generally sell ground meat around 1 lb, so that’s approximately 2 lbs of lean ground beef (I use 90/10) and 1 lb of ground pork.
The packages I bought for these photos were a little over 1 lb and ended up yielding almost 4 lbs, combined. It doesn’t have to be exact but the closer you are to 2:1, the better they will taste. The beef gives you the flavor and you get the fat content and juiciness from the pork. There are also a few “cheats” that won’t yield the same results but similar ones: you could use a “meatball/meatloaf mix,” which usually contains beef, pork, and veal; however, the beef fat content is typically higher than a 90/10. If you don’t eat pork, that’s fine. I would recommend an 85/15 ground beef packets, or the Schweid and Sons Burgers Signature Series Chuck Brisket Burger as an alternative. Keep in mind though, pre-made patties are smaller and require shorter grill time.
First things first, dump the contents of all three meat packages into a large bowl and mix them. You don’t want to over-handle the meat, as it will toughen, so try to mix the pork into the beef with as few moves as possible. I do this by breaking up the pork first.
Do not add anything to the meat mixture at this point; we’re not making meatloaf. We’re going to season the meat later. Trust me on this.
Next, take a burger press and create 1/2 lb patties. Note that if you make them smaller than a 1/2 lb, give them less time on the grill. Here’s a pro tip: use a cooking spray to lubricate the burger press surfaces and make the patties easier to remove. Place the formed patties on a sheet of wax paper.
Once you’ve formed all of patties, turn your grill on high and clean the grates, once hot. Always use a non-wire abrasive like a Charcoal Companion Safe-Scrape, or balled-up aluminum foil and a set of tongs. If you use tongs, always remember to clap them together at least three times, to test them before use (chances are you already do this).
Pull, rinse, then pat dry the appropriate leaves of lettuce to accompany your servings of burgers. Gather all of the items from your refrigerator and pantry at this point and bring them to the grill along with the patties. It’s really easy to overcook the patties, so you don’t want to run back inside your house to get anything, lest you risk cooking hockey pucks, not burgers.
Lower the grill’s heat to medium and place the patties on the grill. Once all the patties salute you with the song of their people, a satisfying “tsssssss” as meat touches hot metal, sprinkle a large pinch of the coarse salt and freshly-ground pepper on the side that faces up.
Now, feel free to toss salt over your shoulder in order to satisfy any superstitions you are compelled to comply with, then cover the grill. Do not open the grill or touch the patties in any way for 2-3 minutes (depending on your grill).
Cut the 2 tablespoon piece of butter into smaller pieces of butter that equal the exact number of burgers currently sizzling on your grill and open up all of the burger buns and prepare them for their visitation with the patties.
Open the grill. If you see juices coming through the top, it’s time to flip. For the love of all that is good in this world, do not press the burgers into the grill with your spatula.
If you have that urge, resist it.
Seriously. Do not ruin my burger because you want to see your grill flare up.
Flip all of the burgers in rapid succession and adorn each of their cooked sides with a piece of butter. I bet you thought the butter was for the rolls, didn’t you?
Nope! This is your secret weapon to create a moist and flavorful burger. Make sure you put the butter at the highest point on the patty, so the melty, buttery goodness bastes the entire patty.
Quickly put all of the buns directly on the grill and toast the inside. Don’t put it on the top rack, where the buns get dried and over-done. It’s ok if the get a little charred. You’re toasting them fast.
Close the grill again and get your platter near you. Separate your cheese slices. I prefer to use 2 slices of swiss cheese, but American cheese is always a favorite. Arrange the cheese slices so you offset them and have 8 points. This really covers the patty in delicious cheese-meltiness.
Lift the grill cover after a minute has passed and remove the buns, assuming they have achieved the level of toastiness, you prefer your buns to be. Admire the toastiness for a second but no more! Place the cheese on the burgers and close the grill cover again.
Arrange the buns on your platter and prepare them to receive your meat. Pay attention to the arrangement below. This is the proper way to assemble a burger. Any other way is wrong. There is no debate here. As I have mentioned in a previous post, this is burger law.
If you want to use Colman’s English Mustard, apply a thin layer atop the toasty bottom bun. As the ingredient list states, this item is optional but not replaceable. Do not use any other kind of mustard on your burger. This is not yellow mustard; it’s a protein-flavor enhancer. It playfully bites your tongue as it adds a certain umami flavor to the burger. I never put mustard on a burger. This is the only exception. English mustard is not mustard, as we Americans know it. There is a slight mustard flavor but it’s more complex than anything in a big, yellow squeeze bottle. There’s salt, a subtle note of spice and citric acid, and a super-fine grit texture that’s somehow still smooth. The zing isn’t as harsh as a horseradish mustard; however, it should be respected. A little bit of this stuff goes a long way.
Place your lettuce leaves on each respective bun. The lettuce serves as a buffer. Once you pull your patties from the grill, juices will rush forth from them and saturate your warm, toasty bun. No one wants soggy buns, that is why you must place the lettuce in between the bun and the burger.
After the second minute has elapsed, cut off the gas and let the grill burners cut out. Remove the burgers and carefully place them atop the lettuce, after the third and final minute elapses.
Do not cover the burgers with the top bun. serve them “open-faced” with their respective top bun on the plate. The reason for this is, the melted cheese will adhere to the toasted top bun and ruin the whole thing.
Allow your guests to adorn the burger how they prefer. I prefer to apply a liberal-helping of light mayonnaise atop the patty, followed by a good tablespoon of ketchup. That may seem strange, but I implore you to try it. It’s fantastic. Once your condiments have been applied, you may cover your Perfect Burger with the top bun.
Enjoy your first bite and every subsequent bite thereafter. Your burger should be medium, cheating towards medium-well. I wouldn’t recommend anything under medium for store-bought chop meat. If you ground fresh meat up yourself, feel free to adjust the cooking time to adhere to your preferred level of doneness.
There are a few important things to note:
The cooking times are based on my grill, with my knowledge of where the “hot spots” and “cold spots” are. Cooking times may differ and experience, as well as familiarity with your grill, is necessary to get the burgers just right.
Having everything prepped and ready to go cuts the risk of you overcooking the meat. Burgers can get away from you real quick. So have everything ready and know when to put them on and take them off.
If you want to add onions, I recommend grilling up a slice of vidalia and placing it above the lettuce and below the patty.
Bacon can always be added. Add some crispy pieces of pork candy atop the patty.
Tomatoes do not belong on a burger! I don’t care if you like tomatoes. There’s no place for a cold, moist, and seedy slice of tomato on any hot, juicy burger.
Want to make the Perfect Burger like me with the same tools? I have all of my cooking tools compiled at Kit.com. Check out my cooking Kit here.
If you want to read about more great burgers, check out my review of The Rex Burger & Lobster.
Did you try this recipe? Let me know how you liked it in the comment section, below.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this article and this site are affiliate links. If you use them and make a purchase, it doesn’t cost you anything extra but I may receive a commission on the sale. Those commissions help fund my trips to restaurants and buying ingredients so I can keep writing these articles.